Steel towns face challenges as G20 vows to cut overcapacity

G20 Summit

Steel towns face challenges as G20 vows to cut overcapacity

For many G20 nations globalization has brought good things with it like economic expansion, job growth and higher standards of living. But not for everyone.

The world is at the brink of a new industrial revolution-one with fewer steel mills and coal-fired power plants. 

CCTV’s Nathan King went to a small U.S. town that thrived during the last industrial revolution and wants to be part of the next one. The question is how?

Monessen, Pennsylvania was once a thriving steel town of over 20,000 people. No more. Now, less than half that number live here and there is one coking plant employing less than 200.

“Whenever I come out of school, 1955, I went directly into the coke plant,” Louis Mavrakis, Mayor of Monessen said.

At 79, Lou Mavrakis is now the city’s mayor. When he was a young man it was all so different.

“I went in there I was making two dollars and 17 cents an hour. Back then that was big money.”

But like so many other Pennsylvania towns the jobs left when the steel industry did-priced out by foreign competition. And then, technology replaced jobs, too. Now the city’s downtown is in a terrible state.

“That was the decline of the family when all this happened. What do we have We have drug problems now. They are paramount. You know, this is terrible.”

For Lou there’s only one solution to Monessen’s problems: investment from abroad.

For G20 leaders charting a course for sustainable global development, re-tooling towns like Monessen will be difficult. The challenge is preparing towns like this one for the future when they’re stuck in the past.