So, the problem is a serious problem. Not for most of those with college degrees, and not for those, with or without a degree, who are creative, innovative, serious self-starters.
But our society will not thrive if those are the only people with work to do and money to spend.
The problem was not simply the loss of good jobs to workers in foreign nations but also automation… Remember bank tellers? Telephone operators? The fleets of airline workers behind counters who issued tickets? Service station attendants? These and millions of other jobs weren’t lost to globalization; they were lost to automation. America has lost at least as many jobs to automated technology as it has to trade.
Do you remember the old days, when you paid a toll to drive on a highway? I mean, you paid it in cash, and if you did not have the exact change, you paid it to a human being. She (frequently, a she) would make your change. It may not have always been a challenging, fun job. But it was a job! And the people who worked at such jobs left work and participated in the great bargain. Reich again:
Henry Ford understood the basic economic bargain that lay at the heart of a modern, highly productive economy. Workers are also consumers. Their earnings are continuously recycled to buy the goods and services other workers produce. But if earnings are inadequate and this basic bargain is broken, an economy produces more goods and services than its people are capable of purchasing. (Global trade complicates this bargain but doesn’t negate it).
When there is not work for the “common people,” (and by the way – there are a whole lot of those “common people” out there – as I said, we’ve got serious trouble), the bargain is broken, and the economy is in deep, serious trouble.
The title of this commentary has been quoted from an article written by Neil Genzingler for The New York Times (“Old-Time Stuff Is Not Forgotten,” Sunday, May 29, 2001) in which Genzingler discusses the media attention that the Civil War continues to receive, most notably by the award-winning documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns.
With regard to the American Civil War, Genzlinger observes, “The nation had to shed a part of itself that was indefensible on moral grounds, and doing so was going to be traumatic. ‘I’m always concerned with the way we cloak the war in bloodless, gallant myth,’ Mr. Burns said. There is a tendency, he said, to shrug off the overriding, glaring fact of 1861: ‘Four million Americans were owned by other Americans.’”
“When he was researching his series years ago, Mr. Burns said, he would be driving through the South and see signs outside, say, a barn advertising Civil War memorabilia, which in that part of the country meant Confederate memorabilia. ‘I was always struck that in practically every other place we’d go in, there was a side room where they were selling Nazi stuff,’ he said — evidence of ‘the fascination with the lost cause.’”
This coming week, there will be several special programs programs on television that offer additional opportunities to learn more about a war that technically ended at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, 146 years ago and yet, in some respects, may never end. For me, that is another “overriding, glaring fact” ”…and a very sad one as well.
“They carry them in their memory…”
Lara Logan, speaking to/of Staff Sgt. Salvatore Augustine Giunta’s Medal of Honor; 60 Minutes Presents Honoring Our Soldiers, 5/29/11
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. Service Members who died while in the military service. (Wikipedia).
Memorial Day. A day to “carry them in our memories.” Some died long ago. Others more recently.
And those who survived remember their fallen friends. Some who remember are now old, and feeble — like my wife’s father, who served as a Signalman on a Navy Ship – a ship that was hit by a kamikaze pilot, just feet away from him, near the end of World War II.
The places are many, and varied. From Gettysburg to the Battle of Midway (I wrote about this battle last year on Memorial Day) to the battle in Korengal Valley, near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Staff. Sgt. Giunta earned his medal. Men died in that “classic L-shaped ambush.” But Giunta did something remarkable, and then… (from Wikipedia):
Giunta learned two days later from Captain Kearney that the captain was going to recommend him for the Medal of Honor. He was uncomfortable about being singled out and labeled a hero. “If I’m a hero, every man that stands around me, every woman in the military, everyone who goes into the unknown is a hero,” he says. “So if you think that’s a hero—as long as you include everyone with me.” Giunta insists that his actions were those of any man in his unit. “In this job, I am only mediocre. I’m average.”
Lara Logan and 60 Minutes presented a thorough and moving report of his work on that fateful day – take a look at the video here.
As always, in the United States, we fought and we fight to keep people free. I think of much that I have seen and read and heard. I especially thought of these:
From The West Wing, President Jed Bartlett, about a few who made it to the United States on a flimsy boat, from Cuba (from the Pilot episode: script here):
With the clothes on their backs,
they came through a storm.
And the ones that didn’t die want a better life.
And they want it here.
Talk about impressive.
From the movie Gettysburg (text of movie speech, based on/taken from historical accounts, here):
Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Addresses Maine Soldiers on What We’re Fighting For
This regiment was formed last summer in Maine. There were a thousand of us then. There are less than three hundred of us now. All of us volunteered to fight for the union, just as you did.
Some came mainly because were were bored at home – thought this looked like fun. Some came because we were ashamed not to. Many of us came because it was the right thing to do. And all of us have seen men die.
This is a different kind of army. If you look at history you’ll see men fighting for pay, for women, or for some other kind of loot. They fight for land, power, because a king makes them, or just because they like killing. But we are here for something new. This has not happened much in the history of the world. We are an army out to set other men free.
America should be free ground, all of it. Not divided by a line between slave and free – all the way, from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow, no man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was. Here you can be something. Here is the place to build a home.
But it’s not the land. There’s always more land.
It’s the idea that we all have value, you and me.
What we’re fighting for, in the end… we’re fighting for each other.
Sorry. Didn’t mean to preach.
From Isabel Wilkerson (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration:
In the end, it could be said that the common denominator for leaving was the desire to be free, like the Declaration of Independence said, free to try out for most any job they pleased, play checkers with whomever they chose, sit where they wished on the streetcar, watch their children walk across a stage for the degree most of them didn’t have the chance to get. They left to pursue some version of happiness, whether they achieved it or not. It was a seemingly simple thing that the majority of Americans could take for granted but that the migrants and their forebears never had a right to in the world they had fled.
For those who died to protect such freedom, “we carry them in our memories.”
Here is the latest post by Joseph A. Maciariello featured in the Joe’s Journal series at the Drucker Exchange (Dx) sponsored by the Drucker Institute. The Drucker Exchange (the Dx) is a platform for bettering society through effective management and responsible leadership. It is produced by the Drucker Institute, a think tank and action tank based at Claremont Graduate University that was established to advance the ideas and ideals of Peter F. Drucker, the father of modern management.
To check out a wealth of resources and subscribe to its online newsletter, please click here.
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“Futurists always measure their batting average by counting how many things they have predicted that have come true. They never count how many important things come true that they did not predict. Everything a forecaster predicts may come to pass. Yet, he may not have seen the most meaningful of the emergent realities or, worse still, may not have paid attention to them. There is no way to avoid this irrelevancy in forecasting, for the important and distinctive are always the result of changes in values, perception, and goals, that is, in things that one can divine but not forecast.” – Peter F. Drucker
Peter Drucker always lived in the moment. He said it was very hard to predict the future as there is much too much to take into account in order to make a prediction. One can extrapolate or extract useful meanings out of patterns and trends that you see, but I think, as Drucker did, that predicting developments in the future is not practical.
Rather than expending energy on trying to predict the future, Drucker is well known for his advice that we ought to try to create what comes next and we ought to advance the future through innovation and change. When you do an Internet search on this quote of Drucker’s – “the best way to predict the future is to create it” – you’ll see that a man named Alan Kay is credited with saying a similar thing. The difference is that Kay said, “invent it.” Kay was an inventor and a computer scientist. He invented the “mouse” for Apple. I once heard an interesting thing about him; he said that wherever he went to work he needed a shower next to his office because he did his best thinking while in the shower. (He must have taken a lot of showers!) Anyway, Kay was also known for discussing how we go about creating or inventing the future. And he focused on observation and thought.
The important thing, in terms of discerning future trends, is to realize that they’re unlikely to be discerned by techniques, and more likely to be discerned through perceptive observation and analysis. I often think of the phrase “born to see; meant to look,” Drucker’s motto. We have to get into the habit of actively looking, actively trying to see new trends. Drucker used to say that to understand what was coming, he looked out the window for things that were unexpected but happening. He would note what was happening and then ask whether this was a trend or a fad — and if it was a trend, was it possible to imagine an extension of the trend? To extrapolate the implications of unanticipated events requires a lot of thought, and it’s a lot more thought than I and many other people are able to provide given the tyranny of the urgent. Drucker did spend a lot of time alone and a lot of time reading, and when he saw something that he didn’t expect he would note it. He’d think about where the unexpected event was likely to go.
When I think about this passage and the implications for management institutions, it occurs to me that you do hear often about those who “predicted” accurately, but you really don’t hear as much or anything about those who made the greater number of failed predictions. How many times has it been predicted that the end of the world was coming on or about a specific date?
It’s important for managers to look across their business or organization, and if they’re able to spot a new trend, and the trend turns out to be real, to try to project some implications of this trend. From there they then have responsibility to plan and prepare and to create the future of the organization.
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Joseph A. Maciariello is the Horton Professor of Management & Director of Research and Education, The Drucker Institute. You can contact him directly at email@example.com.
Here is an article written by Douglas Goetsch and now featured online by The American Scholar, the venerable but lively quarterly magazine of public affairs, literature, science, history, and culture published by the Phi Beta Kappa Society since 1932. In recent years the magazine has won four National Magazine Awards, the industry’s highest honor, and many of its essays and articles have been selected for the yearly Best American anthologies.
To read the complete article, check out other resources, and obtain subscription information, please click here.
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At the height of his fame in the 1920s, humorist and short-story writer Ring Lardner was listed among the 10 best-known people in America. He wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column, short stories for mass-circulation magazines, skits and songs for the Ziegfeld Follies, and the text of a daily comic strip. To the bulk of his readers, Lardner was the regular guy who had made it, the man who golfed with the president but was still friends with the train conductors. The only writer in the country who could get away with the salutation, “Well, friends,” he addressed the average American, the man he repeatedly called “Joe,” and he did this in a natural, unassuming style—a veritable idiom nicknamed “Lardner Ringlish”—removed from the formal conventions of correct prose.
But earlier in his career, Lardner was best known as a baseball writer, and much of his enduring reputation is tied to the national pastime. He covered baseball in what’s been called the Silver Age of the game—from 1900 to 1919—an era that ended with the infamous Black Sox scandal, ushering in, as irony would have it, the Golden Age of baseball. Lardner’s infatuation and eventual disillusionment with baseball offer a number of lessons about how we should think about the scandals in today’s game, and his writing illuminates our own love-hate relationship with baseball.
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To read the complete article, check out other resources, and obtain subscription information, please click here.
Douglas Goetsch is the author of six collections of poems, the most recent of which is Your Whole Life. He is on the faculty of Oklahoma City University’s low residency MFA program.