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HIST 109 Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College American Economic Changes Discussion

Geography Exercise 4 (25 points)

Dr. Utgaard/Modern American History

Due Sunday 30 May

American Economic Change Since 1973

This geography and research exercise covers changes to the American economy and American life since the end of the great postwar boom beginning around 1973. This exercise is not difficult, but it does require an investment of time to complete the research, watch the assigned films, and write out your answers. I strongly recommend that you type out your answers so you can cut and paste them into Canvas. You will be submitting this work as a Canvas quiz. You can find all of the films in the Films for US History Module.

Deindustrialization and “Roger and Me” (10 points)

One of the great challenges of the 21st century is income and wealth inequality. The inequality gap was closing in the 1960s during the Great Society, but since the 1980s it has been increasing. In short, the middle class has been shrinking, the underclass has been growing, and wealth has been concentrated in the hands of the 1%. In some ways, we have returned to the 1890s. The reasons for this are many and complex, but include: mechanization (robots), free trade and foreign competition, globalization of capital, decline of trade unions, tax policy, and many more.

Michael Moore is a provocative film maker. He has been criticized for making himself a star of his films, which is unusual in documentaries. His first big success was the 1989 film “Roger and Me.” Watch the first 30 minutes of “Roger and Me” and answer the following questions.

  • Why was Flint, Michigan historically important going back to the 1930s?
  • What did GM do in Flint in the 1980s?
  • What advice did President Reagan give to the newly unemployed in Flint? What kinds of jobs were available in Flint after the plant closures?

Demographics and Old Industry (2.5 points)

California is a growth story. It is one of the most prosperous states and new houses, new buildings, and new everything is “normal” in California. Things are different in other parts of the United States. Using census data look up and compare the populations of the following cities between 1970 and 2010.

Detroit, Michigan

San Jose, California

New Industry (2.5 points)

The 21st century has seen the spectacular growth of technology companies that are American-based global corporations. Name the home cities for the following:





Deindustrialization and the Great Recession (10 points)

Watch the Frontline/ProPublica Documentary: “Left Behind America” and answer the following questions:

What were the key industries in Dayton Ohio during the great postwar boom?

What is “redlining” and what role did redline play in housing segregation in Dayton? What is a “food desert”?

How did trade policy (NAFTA and China joining the WTO) disproportionately impact manufacturing communities?

How did the Great Recession of 2008-2009 impact Dayton?

The nation-wide epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths is particularly bad in Dayton. What factors made Dayton so vulnerable to the opioid epidemic?


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