22.11.08

Then, Now, & Forever - Part 1

THEN
“Henry Ford is belching forth like a volcanic eruption telling the world that in 1950 the industrial slaves will be paid at the rate of $35 per day. Well, half of that would go mighty nice right now and it would help a lot in solving the economic situation that the world is going through. When you accounted your $1.00 per day increase, Henry Ford, the higher-priced men were laid off and replaced with cheaper help, so if you are sincere and intend to give the works a little of the sunlight and this scheme is not another of your tricks to hog the front pages of the newspapers throughout the world, why send some of your expert investigators over to The Murray Cor’p of America and see for yourself the slavery conditions that exist there, where humans are building the bodies for your cars, where polishers work all day Sunday, eight hours, to be exact, and receive the glorious sum of sixty-two cents for a Sabbath of slavery.” (Fred Vogel, quoted in “The American Jitters” by Edmund Wilson, 1930).

NOW
“I spent a month in Detroit adjusting the settings on the automated systems. With the new software, some of the mechanical arms weren’t hitting right. My job was to train the chief guy what to watch for. He sat in a windowed room high above the production floor, in a leather chair—he’d curse you out for sitting in it—eating donuts and drinking coffee. The other day, we had to shut down the line. I ran the diagnostics and found the problem, readjusted the settlings, and reset the system. Everything was ready to go—everything, except that the one guy with permission to push the red “restart button” was on break. He was on break, eating a donut, or taking a dump, or smoking outside. No one else is supposed to push the button. I’d already made that mistake—pushed it the other day. Management had to come down and talk to the Union leaders who were threatening to call for a walkout. Management gave it to me for that, but what do I know. I’m not Union or Management. I’m on consultant pay. So the line was shut down while head-Union button-pushing guy was on break. A hundred people just standing there. They can’t sit down or that counts against their break. But they can’t take a break either, because that violates their labor agreements. So they just stand there, all 100 and more, making $50 and hour to stare at the dead production line. I’ve beat the h--l out of my rental car driving on the potholed roads of this industrial town—roads that are as run down as this antiquated system of self-promotion, manipulation by labor against management. I’m ready to get back home.” (A_____ T_____, in an email dated March, 17, 1999, after spending a month on consultation of an automated system in a car-parts plant in Detroit).

FOREVER
“It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.” Ayn Rand

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