- Here are some passages that jump out from Eammon Fingleton's
new, and mostly buried, new book "In Praise of Hard Industries."
It lays out in graphic detail the consequences of the Reagan-Bush-Clinton
program that has gutted the US's industrial capacity over the last twenty
- * "As estimated by the postindustrial economic commentator
Michael Rothschild, up to 20 percent of the American workforce will be
marginalized by the move to an information-based economy. That amounts
to a shocking 25 million people - or roughly four times the total number
of jobless workers in the US as of 1998! Yet Rothschild and his cohorts
see the sacrifice as acceptable."
- * "As recorded in the 1998 edition of "Japan:
An International Comparison," the average hourly wage was $21.01 in
Japan, $14.79 in Germany, and $12.37 in the United States."
- * "Gilbert Williamson, president of NCR: 'I was
asked the other day about the United States' competitiveness and I replied
that I don't think about it at all. We at NCR think of ourselves as a globally
competitive company that happens to be incorporated in the United States.'"
- * "The manufacturing-based economies of Germany,
Switzerland, Singapore, and Japan not only do better than America's postindustrial
economy in terms of export prowess but at the same time provide the widest
possible range of top-paying jobs for all workers at ALL LEVELS of capability."
- Fingleton does the best job I've seen so far of demolishing
the following loony postindustrial, "free market" myths which
dominate the business press from Wired to the Wall Street Journal: manufacturing
doesn't matter, balance of trade payments don't matter, exports don't matter,
the Internet is going to transform the rules of the world economy, software
is a worthy industry for the US to stake its future on, laissez-faire trade
policies automatically will lead us - godlike - to divine results, and
- As the Japanese and others have correctly perceived,
like it or not, business is war and if you want your people to eat, you
better have a plan that is somewhat more sophisticated than "we'll
let the god of war take us where he will."
- I sent this to Fingleton who in his book took NAM to
task for its recent highly inaccurate reporting of the state of American
- Your comments on NAM struck a chord. I wonder if you
are aware that they are one of the single most influential forces in the
US news media and have been for many decades. This is according to both
Edward Bernays, the father of modern corporate public relations AND George
Seldes, the grandfather of US press critics. Talk about a spread!
- You might find this book interesting: "Taking the
Risk Out of Democracy" by the late Alex Carey who was a lecturer on
industrial relations at the University of New South Wales.
- It documents the obsessive, decades long media war against
American workers waged by NAM and other industrial associations.
- Here's one indication of how far back it goes: "In
1913, a committee of the US Congress was established to investigate the
mass dissemination of propaganda by the the National Association of Manufacturers...to
(influence) legislation by influencing public opinion."
- Reading your book, I can't help but conclude that the
anti-labor forces in this country have finally won the ultimate victory
by gutting our industrial base and sending our manufacturing jobs overseas.
As the Romans were accused of doing by one of the chieftains who resisted
them, their idea of peace is to turn the world into a desert.
- In this case the "desert" is the devastated
condition of American manufacturing and an economy held up, for the time
being at least, by little more than smoke, mirrors, and quote screens
(which by the way, we are no longer capable of manufacturing ourselves.)
The US is, as you document in your book, woefully unprepared for the 21st
century. Sadly, it is the workers of this country and their children who
are going to pay the price for this while our "captains of industry"
insulated by obscene CEO-to-worker wage discrepancies continue to laugh
all the way to the bank.