Forging America – The Story of Bethlehem Steel

After the end of the second world war, America strode triumphant, unmatched the world over in surviving capital stock, industrial capacity, and economic and military power. No other industry epitomized this power more than steel, with the saying “where steel goes, the nation goes” capturing the alignment between the incentives of the business, working, and political classes at the time. All the more tragic, then, did the decline of the industry, and the second largest company, Bethlehem Steel, falling into bankruptcy in 2001, reflect the post-industrial weakness of America. Once employing 167,000 in 1957, by the 1980s, Bethlehem was employing only 35,000 and supporting 70,000 pensioners. Eventually these pension and other union restrictions, in addition to moribund management, led to the company’s closure. When business legend Jack Welch was once asked if he could have rescued the company, he quipped “I don’t think Christ himself could have saved it.”

— Brought to you by —

Myles Poland –

Myth of the 20th Century – Episode 185 – Forging America – The Story of Bethlehem Steel

— References —

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Tim says:

    What’s the title and artist of the outro song?


    1. Adam Smith says:

      Eno & Moebius Roedelius – The Belldog


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