Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Look for the Union Label

On a whim, I decided to drop everything and do a casual inventory of the origin of the stuff around me--

Fuzzy pink slippers: "Made in China"
DirecTV remote control : "Made in China" stamped on the casing. I doubt any of the innards were made in America, either.
Panasonic cordless landline handset: "Made in..." I can't really...see it..." Vietnam? VENEZUELA?!"
Non-prescription reader glasses (so I could read the origin of the handset):  "Made in China"
Panasonic cordless landline handset: "Made in Malaysia".

Remember when we used to make stuff in America?  There are still some factories around, or "plants" as they were called down my way.  Gerber and Magnavox were outside Asheville when I was a kid, and thank God there are still some manufacturers there now, like Wilsonart, I hear.

Blue collar jobs in whole industries have been outsourced from America for at least a generation; white collar jobs at an increasing rate since the advent of globalization, (i.e., the evolution, then ever-increasing accessibility, of the internet-- the great leveler).   White collar jobs have been zooming from here to India down the information superhighway faster, faster.for over ten years now, waving at the blue collar ones that left the decade before.  It used to be you could learn some new skill, get a new job using it, and stay ahead of the latest round of layoffs the curve.   Now, sadly; not so much and less and less.   Seriously,  I wonder what our kids are gonna do for a living? 

I'm feeling nostalgic.

1 comment:

Peter said...

When I was an undergraduate an economist gave a talk at my dorm called, "The managerial class and surplus labor." We are living in the future he was talking about.

A college degree is the new GED, a Ph.d(in the hard sciences) is the new college degree.


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