Are you a connector or a cog?
I was a cog in the industrial complex.
During my last year of high school I got a job on the automotive assembly line in Detroit Michigan. This was back in the 1960’s and the Motor City was the place where people migrated from all over the country. All you needed was a strong back and a good work attitude. I had not though about college at this time but I was determined to finish high school. I even though that was one of the requirements to get a factory job.
I was so happy when I finally got the call to report to work. I choose the second shift because I was still in my last year of high school, and high school graduate was important. I would take public transportation to a high school on the other side of town because my dad didn’t want to sent me to the local high school. Then I would come home, do a little homework then catch public transportation in the other direction to work a 8 hour shift at the Jefferson Assembly Plant. I’m surprised that I didn’t fail because I was so always so tried.
To keep a job in the plant required a person to always show up on time, don’t call out sick time and do their assigned task and not cause any trouble. I was living with my dad at the time and he had served in the military and he taught me some valuable lessons. Do things right the first time and you won’t have to do them over and always treat people right. I quickly noticed that the guys with more seniority on the job had all the easy jobs and all the new hires had all the back breaking jobs.
I started at the beginning of the model year and the line was not full. But when the plant geared up to full production, I felt like a human clog on the line. Full production meant 60 cars every hour. We here producing about 450 cars per each 8 hour shift.
The line was only shut down for lunch which was half a hour. As a line worker we were given two 15 minute breaks (by a relief worker) and a 30 minute lunch break. Automation by way of hydraulic tools helped some, but it was mostly manual labor. I had one minute to finish my task before I had to do it over again. I learned to complete my task in less than 60 seconds so I would have a little break. The only other time the line stopped was when there was some kind of production problem which I looked forward to from time to time.
When I got my lunch break I would find a place to lay down; usually a empty rack near my work area. It was during these breaks that I dreamed of another way to escape where I was and what I was doing. If I went to school (college) I wouldn’t have to work on the factory floor, and I could get an office position. But no one in my family had ever gone to college. I decided that I would join the military and use the G.I. Bill to go to school. Friends and classmates were being drafted and sent to the War in Vietnam. I joined the Air Force and ended up in Germany after a quick stop in Libya North Africa.
America had the most prosperous working class from World War ll and 1980. Then the Better Business Climate Model* became the norm. This became the way to think about doing business for the people at the top.
1. Cut taxes, especially on the wealthy and large corporations.
2. Cut government regulations, especially on high finance.
3. Reduce government social spending.
* Runaway Inequality – An activist guide to economic justice by Les Leopold. With a foreword by Chris Shelton, President Communication Workers of America.
Anybody remember “Occupy Wall Street?” That was a clog in someone’s plan. Funny how the Tea Party emerged during that time. Their thinking – big government was the problem, too much regulations. Other people were taking advantage of too many government programs. No body wants to pay extra taxes but the wealthy were getting away with paying no taxes.
As a results Wall Street went on a gambling spree until the crash of 2008. Eight million blameless workers lost their jobs and long term unemployment reached the levels near the great depression. The government spent Trillions of dollars to bail out the casino banks and no one went to jail.
Times have changed but the people who caused the problems are still in position. Millions are being spent to keep things the way they are. Now is the time to have a plan B. Find a way to leverage the internet to start something now before the next crash. If you are reading this, it’s the Katatu Blog from the Empower Network. If you have some health challenges then maybe [Total Life Change] is a good mix for you. And if you have money maybe now is the time to convert it, to real gold [http://therealmoney.online/earlhackett323/]. If you do nothing you will remain a cog in the system.