The End of Manufacturing, Or: Who REALLY killed JFK

by hulk

I was driving through (deleted) today, exploring the suburbs, especially the west side since I’m more familiar with the east. I didn’t find much. But on my way back, I drove through the skeletal remains of (deleted). Humongous buildings, now partially rented out to little manufacturing companies and mostly empty. And these buildings are cool. I drove by a theater at (deleted), whether for displaying moving film or for the entertainment of the employees, I don’t know. Then I drove south through a depressed neighborhood full of beautiful mansions that are now subdivided into apartments and falling apart. And I thought of the age of manufacturing, and how it’s dead now.

Manufacturing drove this country and its wants and needs for three centuries. And now we’re left with abandoned industrial parks and products stamped with “Made in China”. You can’t blame the Chinese, they’re people who want to work and feed their kids too. You can’t blame the companies; contrary to popular belief among drugged-out long-haired white twenty-somethings, most companies are not run by soulless bastards. It’s just simply cheaper to produce things in China. Granted, it hurts the community here, and sometimes (though increasingly less so) quality suffers. But if they don’t find cheaper labor, a competitor will go to China and you’ll start buying the competitor’s products and then *everyone* at the first company is out of a job.try and its wants and needs for three centuries. And now we’re left with abandoned industrial parks and products stamped with “Made in China”. You can’t blame the Chinese, they’re people who want to work and feed their kids too. You can’t blame the companies; contrary to popular belief among drugged-out long-haired white twenty-somethings, most companies are not run by soulless bastards. It’s just simply cheaper to produce things in China. Granted, it hurts the community here, and sometimes (though increasingly less so) quality suffers. But if they don’t find cheaper labor, a competitor will go to China and you’ll start buying the competitor’s products and then EVERYONE at the first company is out of a job.

Now, Kerry wants to crack down on tax evasion by large companies. Bush wants to have huge tax cuts for these companies that already don’t pay much. Both are attempts to slap a bandaid on someone’s amputated leg (via great white shark). Manufacturing is gone and it’s not coming back. If it’s not China or Mexico, it’s robots (in the literal sense, not in the “I can’t let you do that, Dave” sense). So what should we be doing? What should all the black children attending school in Rochester’s depressed areas be doing? Why go through to high school and study, when you don’t have job opportunities and you don’t have money for college? Why not just start working at Walmart now, or be a janitor, or work at Burger King? And now the richer white kids are feeling that pain. Jobs are scarcer. Why? We’re all getting pushed towards consumer goods. We all need to iron each other’s pants. Now, part of this is due to the success of the stock market. The success of the stock market was bad for America. Companies started concentrating on delivering value to the shareholders. It was all about the shareholders. So let’s trim up, reduce overhead, increase our profits. All of a sudden that office area full of 1,000 now has 50, doing the exact same job. Each employee is, at the least, expected to work like two people. Put in unpaid overtime. And be thankful you have a job. And this is somehow better for our economy.

Finally, we’re getting wrapped up in service jobs because we lack a mission. I think JFK was one of our greatest presidents, because he said let’s just do something. Let’s do something we couldn’t do before. I could allocate more money to health care, or welfare, or schools, or whatever else, and we could all live a little bit better and die someday. Or we could really do something fantastic. He gave this country a mission, something to believe in and hope for. What do we have now? We have candidates debating about our prescription drug benefits. We’re not electing leaders anymore, we’re electing bureaucrats. Why do we need to work as a manager at Target and then die after reproducing? That’s barely better than being an animal. We need a leader to LEAD us again. We need a mission. We have all these unemployed people who want work? Let’s have a massive federal program to go to Mars. Let’s put all those people to work building the next colony. Or let’s “concentrate more on home” like so many people say in election years and just have a few less assault weapons on the streets and be happy about that and die anyway.

I want a spaceship.