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FUTURE_OF_GM

Once Upon A Time...

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Once upon a time the United States made things.

We harnessed the energy of coal and the power of mighty rivers to run factories. Steam engines spun and generators hummed and we used the electricity to smelt iron and aluminum, to light homes and shops, and to power chemical plants and mills. Cities sprang up. Cities with names like Cleveland and Chicago, Detroit and Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Newark. In these cities the iron was made into I-beams and thumbtacks and Buicks, and the chemical plants turned out dyes and plastics and penicillin. The wheels of industry turned. Cities grew. AMERICA PROSPERED. We made everything from a pocket watch to a battleship, and we were proud of it.

But things changed. Industry, which had never worried about it's byproducts, faced new laws limiting pollution. Foreign competitors, not hobbled by such laws or the need to pay their employees the high wages that American workers enjoyed, began to garner a greater share of the market. Eventually money-hungry capitalists began to move their factories overseas to take advantage of this same laxness, thus profiting at the expense of their workers and the cities that they had called home.

Now the steel mills of Pittsburgh and Cleveland are dark; their blast furnaces and coke ovens gone cold. Massive steam engines and dynamos stand still and silent, when they stand at all.

Now we live virtual lives in an "information age." We've convinced ourselves that we are somehow above the mere manufacture of goods and that only backward countries still "make" things. Gazing down from our Olympian perch, we forget that cars are still made of steel, that somewhere mills must weave the fabric for our clothes, and that even computers have to be built by someone, somewhere. It's just not us -- and it isn't here.

So let's follow the old railroad siding and the fallen power lines to the base of a lonely brick chimney that used to darken the sky.

From the book: Ghostly Ruins - America's Forgotten Architecture by Harry Skrdla.

My GF (Architecture major) and I are both into history and preservation, especially old industry and industrial sites (After all, we DO live in a refurbished 1902 textile mill :)) She picked up this book on a whim and neither of us could believe what an excellent read it was. A majority of the sites in the book are in and around Detroit.

But I thought it held significance for our cause here at Cheers & Geers as well.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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Sounds interesting.
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Sounds like an interesting book....a while back I bought the book 'Images of the Rust Belt' by James Jefferey Higgins..pretty interesting, with a focus on the Youngstown and Cleveland, Oh area steel industry ruins..

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Wow ... that does sound like a very interesting book....

May have to go check it out sometime....

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Looks like a great read, but today it's not just manufacturing jobs that are vanishing but white collar jobs too. A friend of mine who works in the IT department of a larger pharmaceutical company in Philadelphia, were told back in October that all 721 IT jobs would be moved at the end of the year to Bangalore, India. Merry Christmas!

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Sometimes I feel like the last of a breed. I believe in the nobility of creating things. Whether it be steel, cars, semiconductors, airplanes or great skyscrapers the engineers, workers and companies that produce such things are still the real engines of the world’s economy.

And yet, today we are taught that the development and manufacturing of “things”, especially American things, is bad. Many Americans have been conditioned to believe that thier fellow countrymen who still “make things” are the incompetent, lazy, underproductive legacy of a manufacturing base this country no longer needs. A never ending war is waged by many Americans, against the manufacturing base of this country, in some bizarre belief that if we could just make it so nothing was made here, or by American companies, then the whole country could be become a bright happy, clean services economy.

I am not saying people should blindly buy American, or that we should have protectionist policies or any of that nonsense. However, I am sick to death of people who think we should just be a nation of Starbucks, Jacoby & Myers and CitiGroup.

Edited by makfu
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Sometimes I feel like the last of a breed. I believe in the nobility of creating things. Whether it be steel, cars, semiconductors, airplanes or great skyscrapers the engineers, workers and companies that produce such things are still the real engines of the world’s economy.

And yet, today we are taught that the development and manufacturing of “things”, especially American things, is bad. Many Americans have been conditioned to believe that thier fellow countrymen who still “make things” are the incompetent, lazy, underproductive legacy of a manufacturing base this country no longer needs. A never ending war is waged by many Americans, against the manufacturing base of this country, in some bizarre belief that if we could just make it so nothing was made here, or by American companies, then the whole country could be become a bright happy, clean services economy.

I am not saying people should blindly buy American, or that we should have protectionist policies or any of that nonsense. However, I am sick to death of people who think we should just be a nation of Starbucks, Jacoby & Myers and CitiGroup.

:yes:

I feel the same way.

Our country will learn this lesson the hard way, I fear. At least, I certainly hope it falls hard. LOL, funny you should mention Starbucks because I think coffee shops and the coffee shop culture is the embodiment of what america has become. In short; paying WAY too much for a product that the people working there "service" because coffee is coffee, no matter how you top, filter, boil or spit in it. Or, worst case scenario; paying way too much money for a cup and then servicing yourself all the while taking in the technological, trendy, FAKE environment that everyone seems to love to hang out in, eventhough I can think of at least 1000 better things to do with my time. It even smells like the bull$h! it's peddling.

All the while, the fat cat coffee shop corporations IMPORT the goods and profit off of something you can buy at a gas station or Burger joint 1 mile from your house for $.99 (Instead of the 5-6 miles you drove to SBUX & Co.) It's a scam, just like most things americans buy into this day and age.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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It can be lonely at the top. A lot of my acquaintances are from South America and other places and many of them despise America. A former roommate of mine (now since moved back to Chile) remarked that many of his friends and family (not him personally, though!) cheered when the WTC thing happened 6 years ago.

I guess when you are #1 (whether it is General Motors, or the good 'ol USA), it is bound to make a lot of people (and countries) jealous. I watched a show on the Airbus 380, hosted by none other than John (Saturday Night Fever!) Travolta. It was an entire 1 hour propoganda piece for Airbus. They kept hitting home the fact that the 747 is 'obsolete' and 'outdated.' :blink: I kept thinking that it takes a full frontal assault (and support of) 6 or 7 major European countries to 'topple' the supremacy of Boeing. Although it is to Boeing's credit that they are still, arguably, #1 - the entire tone of the show dismayed me. The 747 is hardly 'obsolete' and who says bigger is better? (Not my BF, that's for sure!)

IMO, the United States (or Excited States, as some people call them) has an awful lot to be proud of, but unfortunately (like Canada) there is a terrible character flaw: certain groups of people amongst us like to feel ashamed for things that were done in the past and all they want us to do is keep apologizing or tear ourselves down to atone.

So when MITI in Japan, or Airbus or any other organization attacks the very foundations of what makes America great, many Americans sit in the side lines, tsk tsking and feel that those people, companies or whatever are just getting what they deserve because 50, 70, 200 years ago some group or individual was victimized.

It is the cultural of entitlement and victimhood run amok. It is tearing down the very balwarks of the Western world, but hitting your country and mine very hard.

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The A380 needs all the propoganda it can get to compete with Boeing.

The 747 has something going for it that the A380 doesn't. It doesn't need special airports.

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It can be lonely at the top. A lot of my acquaintances are from South America and other places and many of them despise America. A former roommate of mine (now since moved back to Chile) remarked that many of his friends and family (not him personally, though!) cheered when the WTC thing happened 6 years ago.

I guess when you are #1 (whether it is General Motors, or the good 'ol USA), it is bound to make a lot of people (and countries) jealous. I watched a show on the Airbus 380, hosted by none other than John (Saturday Night Fever!) Travolta. It was an entire 1 hour propoganda piece for Airbus. They kept hitting home the fact that the 747 is 'obsolete' and 'outdated.' :blink: I kept thinking that it takes a full frontal assault (and support of) 6 or 7 major European countries to 'topple' the supremacy of Boeing. Although it is to Boeing's credit that they are still, arguably, #1 - the entire tone of the show dismayed me. The 747 is hardly 'obsolete' and who says bigger is better? (Not my BF, that's for sure!)

IMO, the United States (or Excited States, as some people call them) has an awful lot to be proud of, but unfortunately (like Canada) there is a terrible character flaw: certain groups of people amongst us like to feel ashamed for things that were done in the past and all they want us to do is keep apologizing or tear ourselves down to atone.

So when MITI in Japan, or Airbus or any other organization attacks the very foundations of what makes America great, many Americans sit in the side lines, tsk tsking and feel that those people, companies or whatever are just getting what they deserve because 50, 70, 200 years ago some group or individual was victimized.

It is the cultural of entitlement and victimhood run amok. It is tearing down the very balwarks of the Western world, but hitting your country and mine very hard.

Yet again you are spot on...

I just don't understand how anyone could cheer about the WTC... Innocent people are innocent people regardless of their origin. I really hate to see war torn countries and overseas violence but sometimes I just want to say to hell with everyone else and blow it all off the face of the planet.

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Hmmmm, planning a trip to Borders now. That sounds very interesting. Thanks for the heads up FOG

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FOG: sounds like a good book. As someone who is interested in historical preservation, it seems right up my alley.

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