The United States runs by a supply and demand structure and is very much a profit-driven nation. As a whole, we all aspire to earn a living wage to take care of ourselves and our families. A few leading industries that drive our success are the oil industry, healthcare industry, meatpacking industry and technology industry. We are living in a time that is different from all the other economic systems that have been apart of the story of our world. We now have advanced technology, finely tuned logistics and an extremely large consumer base. The people we would have called “peasants” during the feudal economy days are now considered to be apart of the working class as described in the “Economic Systems” article. “The peasant was the dominant figure of human existence from the stone age up until only about 100 years ago. Most people have been peasants. Peasants fed humanity and the biggest concern of most humans has been to get enough to eat. Peasants are the heroes of the economic story.” (McDonald16) People in the working class have responsibilies that keep our encomony flowing and while they have many luxuries, it is still an advanced form of slavery because people are working very long hours for small wages. People are now slaves to the clock and are owned by corporations rather than temples.
There are major changes that could possibly take place in the oil, health care, meatpacking and technology industries that could alter our current economy.
An article written by Kimberly Amadeo titled “US Economic Outlook for 2019 and Beyond” states that “the oil market is still responding to the impact of U.S. shale oil production. That reduced oil prices by 25% in 2014 and 2015. The good news for the economy is that it also lowered the cost of transportation, food, and raw materials for business. That raised profit margins. It also gave consumers more disposable income to spend. The slight slowdown (from previous years) is because both companies and families are saving instead of spending” (Amadeo). While this is very good to hear, it can also take a drastic turn at any minute. If there was a spike in oil prices, this could shift the current trend and alter the oil industry. We have reached a time in history where people are speaking out to say that what we have been doing in our economy all these years has been working for big business but has also destroyed the planet in the process. More and more people are standing up to fight climate change and part of these efforts focuses on less use of fossil fuels. By eliminating and replacing the need for fossil fuels, we will lessen our carbon footprint and direct the future to a more “clean, green” pathway. Part of the change would require less cars that require gas, eliminating fuel-driven cars from crowded cities all together and manufacturing electric cars. The oil industry is being put under the microscope by politicians and climate change advocates for a number of reasons and I forsee major changes coming in the future.
There could be a potential change in the healthcare industry upon passing a bill that would require health care for all. A candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Bernie Sanders has created an uproar by encouraging free healthcare in his election campaign. This has caused many people to respond in both negative and positive ways as it has it benefits and consequences, both of which could care a change in our current economy. “While 88% of all occupations will experience growth, the fastest growth will occur in healthcare, personal care and social work assistance, and construction.” (Amadeo) Being that healthcare is a major part of the United States economy, caution needs to be taken upon altering current trends. The healthcare industry employees hundreds and thousands of employees each year and yet, many still complain of long wait times, rushed or poor care and high hospital bills. This means that even though care is available to everyone at some cost, there still isn’t enough people to work and not enough doctors offices for people to go to. Imagine a world where everyone receives health care for free? The demand would skyrocket. More people would need a college education to practice healthcare, more health practitioner offices would need to open, and these things would have to happen rather quickly considering it is now offered as a free commodity to the public. The health insurance industry would also take a nosedive.
Our text states that “equal shares for all makes little sense when goods cannot easily be divided into equal shares or when shares cut up into equal parts would be too small to be of much value to any user” (Heyne, Boettke, Prychitko 62) This could apply to the healthcare industry. The good is free healthcare which cannot be easily divided among everyone equally. Upon cutting up the shares, people could receive poor service because doctors will now have hundreds of more patients and there just isn’t enough hours in a day to take care of everyone. In contrast, more offices would open which would mean more jobs and more people would get the help that they needed.
People are now taking a deeper look into the meat industry as widespread veganism is growing increasingly popular. New documentaries are starting to spread knowledge on the poor agribusiness practices and the dangers of consuming meat. Climate change is also known to be affected by the meat industry as well. The meat industry has generated billions in profit over the last 100 years. We have all been fed, the industry has flourished and business went on as usual until the internet gave people more access to information. There was a point in time where no one questioned the quality of their food and they were more interested in convivence and taste but there has been a shift and consciousness has expanded and people have more speculation and questions for the meat industry than ever before. People now are demanding no antibiotics in the meat. People now want local, grass fed meat and cage free or free range eggs. People now want to know how the animals are treated before they are slaughtered. People now want to know how the workers are being treated. With all the new information available, I think there will be a major shift in the meat industry. I foresee more local farms flourishing when they were once bought and overpowered by big business. I see more local farmers markets flourishing over monopoly super stores. I see more lawsuits for the major players in the meat industry meaning more news coverage, even more speciation and less profit. These industries will be forced to remove antibiotics all together, which will change the structure of their profit margins and will change the structure of the workers pay. The meat industry will make major changes that will alter how they do their business or else they will go out of business all together.
Technology has made major advancements in the last decade alone and because of that, millions of jobs have opened up to the public. The stocks markets have introduced huge tech companies to their investments lists and because of this, people are putting their money into tech business stocks. The technology business triumphs in logistics, healthcare, social media, and retail companies. I am unsure where technology will take up but I am certain it will pave the way to our bigger and brighter future.
For these major changes to take place, the general public must continue to learn and grow in order to make better decisions can change the way we economize. “They won’t, for the most part, have to suffer greatly in order to “do their part” because they will naturally choose those ways to economize that entail the smallest sacrifice; and since they know their own circumstances far better than anyone else does, they will be in the best position to pick and choose among all alternative ways of economizing.” (Heyne, Boettke, Prychitko 63)