Friday, January 21, 2011

America's #1 Export is What???

Bob Dylan once sang:

Come gather 'round people wherever you roam
Admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'

Yep, times are definitely a-changin'.

America was once a place that made things. Pride in craftsmanship reigned. The factories that stood were engaged in actual manufacturing, as opposed to assembling and distributing cheap subcomponents brought in from elsewhere.

Check out the following photo. Do you notice anything amiss?

This is a Furniture Factory Cart that has been transformed into a coffee table. A company called Restoration Hardware sells these by the thousands. These carts are industrial originals that were once used in factories across America to transport furniture, fabrics and supplies across the factory floor. Now that the factories are closed these carts are little more than discarded corpses - relics of bygone times.

What I find especially interesting is the PR-BS that Restoration uses to sell these tables. They say that "this item is artisan crafted with meticulous care" and has a "hand-made and hand-finished nature". How quaint. If there was such an appreciation for artisan craftsmanship why did these factories close down in the first place?

Historians tell us that by the very end of the Roman Empire goods were pouring into Rome from all over the known world, but about the only thing being sent out of Rome was human waste and garbage. We have not yet reached that point but things seem to be well on their way, especially in terms of the garbage.

In 2010 the number one U.S. export to China was scrap paper and scrap metal.

Scrap Paper? Number ONE ???

When you think about it this actually makes complete sense.

After all, it takes a great deal of paper to prepackage the future landfill that's now stuffed into these containers.

(...coming soon to a Walmart near you.)

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