Archive for November, 2012

Skills Don’t Pay the Bills | The New York Times

by Adam Davidson

Earlier this month, hoping to understand the future of the moribund manufacturing job market, I visited the engineering technology program at Queensborough Community College in New York City. I knew that advanced manufacturing had become reliant on computers, yet the classroom I visited had nothing but computers. As the instructor Joseph Goldenberg explained, today’s skilled factory worker is really a hybrid of an old-school machinist and a computer programmer. Goldenberg’s intro class starts with the basics of how to use cutting tools to shape a raw piece of metal. Then the real work begins: students learn to write the computer code that tells a machine how to do it much faster.

Nearly six million factory jobs, almost a third of the entire manufacturing industry, have disappeared since 2000. And while many of these jobs were lost to competition with low-wage countries, even more vanished because of computer-driven machinery that can do the work of 10, or in some cases, 100 workers. Those jobs are not coming back, but many believe that the industry’s future (and, to some extent, the future of the American economy) lies in training a new generation for highly skilled manufacturing jobs — the ones that require people who know how to run the computer that runs the machine.

Read Adam Davidson’s “It’s the Economy” article from The New York Times.

Building the New American Ownership Society from the Middle…Out

Now that the elections are over and before the nation’s fiscal cliff becomes a roadrunner cartoon without a happy ending, how can “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men” with more elected women reformat, reinvent and re-glue Humpty Dumpty America back together again? In fact, today’s transformational issue transfixing our immediate attention is twofold – whether the chicken or the egg comes first in the sense that as a political economy America benefits most from catering and kowtowing to the one percent or reconfiguring to expand out to the ninety-nine percent, and whether the “forty-seven percent” chicken and egg takers mooch from the fifty-three percent chicken and egg makers. One way to read recent electoral entrails is that a voting majority of Americans believe no chicken and no egg “hatched it by themselves.”

Everyone needs a fix in an economy that practices the most extreme forms of ubiquitous absentee ownership. Contemporary voters in urban and rural fly-over country clamor for an America unchained from disappearing weakened linkages between a rising middle class and those left behind no matter where, no matter who. (more…)

Running In The Deep – A Tale of Two Cities

Two of the hardest lessons to assimilate leading up to America’s 2012 national elections include the unchallenged devastation from extreme weather fall-out and credible domestic job creation economics by fully globalized industries such as automotive production. The first lesson is being re-learned in excruciating real-time (160 lives lost, $60 billion in damages, and counting) by the country’s powered-out, Northeast coastal populations. Today’s “Weather Security” imperatives are rechanneling yesterday’s “climate change” impasse like an action verb overshadows a noun.

In New York, the city that truly has it all with increasing frequency between reoccurring extreme weather and financial sector meltdown tsunamis, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s prophetic quip that “we have a 100-year flood every two years now” can apply both to Mother Nature and to Wall Street. Mayor Bloomberg’s recent presidential campaign endorsement represents the first and foremost “weather security” candidate pick of the 2012 election cycle.

Forget about the partisan politics, ideological polarization and vested interests distorting America’s climate change debate; hard, cold and wet reality has a way of realigning the national conversation, transforming ranting monologues into chastened dialogues. (more…)

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