words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Posts tagged “Recession

Urban Contemplation: 14 – The Industrial Revolution and its Deconstruction

The city series….

The forming of an industrial moment in time

The cities where the industrial revolution was founded….

I remember the period in our American history, when the industrial revolution was coming to an end. I was in my mid-twenties and working as a Process Engineer at the DuPont Company. If you were a young person in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s trying to believe in the American dream, a job with the DuPont Company was a great place to start.

Or so I thought. Little to my knowledge, things were about to get very difficult. Life was going to become very hard. The way in which our society ran and governed its social, civil, economic and political spheres were about to change.

The social agenda of the New Deal that sustained the dreams of many families and individuals would slowly be deconstructed until it (with the hopes of some) would be gone forever.

In the mid-seventies, early 1980’s and in 1991 we had economic recessions of various lengths. They were short, but a tell-tale sign of things to come. In 2001 we had another recession. These four recessions were not as severe as the present recession; however, the factors that led to these five occurrences over time are similar; deregulation, the creation of a “false paper economy” and an insidious construct to shift the wealth from the middle class to the wealthy.

And unfortunately it is working.

I was laid off from my job at DuPont after having worked there for four years. Still emerging from the perception that all you had to do was start at an entry level position with a good company; move up the ladder and retire 30 years later. Remember how your parents or grandparents followed this rule and uplifted themselves into the middle-class? It appears that in 2011, that route to the middle-class is long since gone and not returning any time soon. It is a global world now. It is now a have and have not world that is shattering the dreams of many. It is 146 million Americans in the United States living in poverty or near the poverty line. It is a health care system that is dysfunctional and over-wrought with cost. It is an education system that is mostly for profit (remember when the California State Schools were free). It is a manufacturing sector that barely exists.  And it is a corrupt body of government that wants to protect the rich, sustained the rich and become rich, at the expense of the poor.

And the attack is calculated and vicious to the core.

But I love America. With all its faults, it still has the potential to be a great nation. But we must learn from our past, and if possible turn back the hand of time just for a moment. And perhaps in that moment we can have a true political and social conversation, wherein we remember what we fought so hard for—a fair and equal society for all.

This post is in support of all those who participate in the Occupy Wall Street protests in America and around the world.

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