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Deindustrialization & the 1970 s Socio-economic Contexts of Song of Solomon Deindustrialization & the 1970 s Socio-economic Contexts of Song of Solomon

Deindustrialization and Magic • 1970 s: massive upheaval of urban black communities (econ. globalization) Deindustrialization and Magic • 1970 s: massive upheaval of urban black communities (econ. globalization) • Song of Solomon (1977) as an antitechnology re-vision of history: – Supernatural forces – Mythic and folk narrative traditions – Reconstruction-era black dispossession from their land • Today: Deindustrialization and post. Reconstruction economics.

Deindustrialization: A Brief Introduction Free Trade: Theory and history Economic globalization Consequences in the Deindustrialization: A Brief Introduction Free Trade: Theory and history Economic globalization Consequences in the U. S. Employment rates in urban areas

Free Trade • Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations, 1776): – Governments should not Free Trade • Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations, 1776): – Governments should not limit national or international trade, capital’s flow should be free • Industrial Revolution: – Social relations and practices were reshaped by government and industries to conform to the free market model

Cracks in the Free Market • The Great Depression! – Led to some government Cracks in the Free Market • The Great Depression! – Led to some government regulation during and after WWII • John Maynard Keynes advocated some government intervention into the market to keep it running smoothly: Keynesian economics – In the US: The New Deal (social services) – In Europe & its former colonies: The Marshall Plan, Bretton Woods Agreement

Bretton Woods Agreements • Allied nations gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, July 1944 Bretton Woods Agreements • Allied nations gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, July 1944 • Negotiated how to rebuild war-ravaged nations – International Monetary Fund (IMF) – World Bank – Currency tied to U. S. dollar (1$ = 1/35 th ounce of gold) (other currencies can’t float past 2% up or down) • Free trade needs convertible currencies

Global and Domestic Effects • US companies can go global – Cheaper labor in Global and Domestic Effects • US companies can go global – Cheaper labor in developing nations without labor protections, cheap land, weak governments – B-W enabled international agreements to support US corporations building plants in such nations – US can buy more than it sells because everyone wants US dollars • Urban centers in US lose manufacturing facilities

Effects in U. S. Cities • Massive closures of manufacturing plants • Unemployment in Effects in U. S. Cities • Massive closures of manufacturing plants • Unemployment in non-college educated populations • Proportional increase in service industry jobs (retail, janitorial, etc) and information industry jobs (managing massive information necessary for multinational corporation to function) • Real estate: working class housing replaced by office buildings in urban centers – Department of Housing and Urban Development, established in 1937 & active after late 1960 s • Deflating economic support for Black Power discourse and organizations

End to Bretton Woods System • In 1971, Nixon ended the direct connection between End to Bretton Woods System • In 1971, Nixon ended the direct connection between the US dollar and gold – massive inflation and trade deficit destabilized fixed exchange rates – shift from postwar US prosperity and Marshall Plan funding (40 s-early 60 s) to trade deficit during Vietnam War (late 60 s) • International currencies have variable exchange rates based on currency market rather than on gold-backed dollar.

Connections to Themes in Class & Novel • Deindustrialization/economic globalization depends on – Rational Connections to Themes in Class & Novel • Deindustrialization/economic globalization depends on – Rational Enlightenment thinking (Smith, Keynes), hierarchical histories – Technologies deployed to maintain multinational corporate capitalism – US national power in an international system (meaning of “nation”)

Disembodiment as a Theme • Information economy replaces manufacturing • Dollars are relationships, not Disembodiment as a Theme • Information economy replaces manufacturing • Dollars are relationships, not lumps of gold • Dispossession, disenfranchisement: African Americans deprived of property ownership, lost histories, lost land & lost life stories

Morrison’s Critique • Magic & supernatural forces creating truth, reality, power • Regionalism • Morrison’s Critique • Magic & supernatural forces creating truth, reality, power • Regionalism • “Geography” (Guitar, Pilate) • Technologies irrelevant • “Re-membering” (Beloved): reembodiment, re-placing, re-historicizing • Using 1930 s to critique 1970 s dispossession

Reconstruction and its Failures: Land Ownership • Southern Homestead Act of 1866 made 46 Reconstruction and its Failures: Land Ownership • Southern Homestead Act of 1866 made 46 million acres available to freed slaves and sharecroppers at low prices – Bad land--hard to make money off it – Not all of it distributed before repeal in 1876 – Whites were allowed to apply and up to 77% of applicants were white

Some Ways to Think about So. S • History as Myth 1 (Odyssey, Bible, Some Ways to Think about So. S • History as Myth 1 (Odyssey, Bible, African oral traditions, ancient stories) • History as Myth 2 (Reconstruction, Black Power, 20 th C black experience) • Rereading of Crying of Lot 49 (communication technologies, quest for truth among competing narratives, Dead Letter Office & Not Doctor Street) • Race & Gender: breastfeeding, navel, male and female oral traditions at odds • Symbolism: flying, green sack, names, etc.