Love your magazine, and generally enjoy the articles. As someone who grew up in Hammond, and lived in Gary at varying points in the 1990′s, I take issue with the author’s statement that “steel production migrated overseas.”

Competition from foreign steel-producers did in fact cause tremendous damage to the communities in the US and Canada that depended on the steel industry for their livelihoods in the 1980′s, though this was not due to a shift in production overseas. In fact, Germany and Japan had invested heavily in more modern production and an expansion of their their steel industries as part of the recovery from WWII, and by the 1970s had vastly improved productivity to go with more advanced production technologies. The American steel industry caught back up in the 1990s, but with increased automation and massive productivity gains, those jobs were long gone for good. While Gary’s fortunes are tied to steel, the reality is that the city was doomed not long after the expressway was built and the schools were integrated (a common story around the Midwest).

I just needed to point that out because the story that we tell ourselves in America of jobs going overseas is easy but often incorrect. At this point in time, the steel industry is global, and so production happens where it makes the most sense, usually due to access to markets and global steel prices. Steel jobs do not simply disappear, and surely they don’t simply vanish overseas, the costs are too high.

Keep up the good work.

Kevin Robinson