Union Sundown: The Decline of the American Economy And The Rise of the Bureaucratic Nightmare
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Thirty years ago, Bob Dylan wrote a song called “Union Sundown” that now seems as if it was nothing less than prophecy set to music. The song, which attracted a great deal of hatred from establishment critics at the time, spoke out against the neo-liberal/free trade ideology that was beginning to take hold in the United States. It also took aim at the obsession of turning everything into a commodity the practice of seeking profits above all else.
In 1983, the true effects of globalism and free trade were only beginning to manifest themselves to the general public in ways that could no longer be denied. Already, in the 1980s, American jobs were beginning to move offshore and American workers left to pick through the growing piles of rubble that was once the economic envy of the world. Union busting, the low-wage economy, and growing unemployment was only then beginning to become the order of the day in the general purview of the American people.
Thus, when Dylan wrote the lines “Well, it’s sundown on the union/And what’s made in the U.S.A./Sure was a good idea/’Til greed got in the way,” it may have seemed like pessimism of the highest order to many of his listeners. After all, the United States had weathered the oil and energy crises of the 1970s and they were being told that they had survived the severe recession of the early 1980s. Listening to the U.S. government and the media, one might be tempted to believe that the worst was behind them. Besides, after being three years into the term of Ronald Reagan, many Americans were themselves deluded into believing that Reagan’s policies would bring them a recovery.