Regardless of the happy-talk about how COVID-19 will (do this, or that, or some other thing), there’s a lessor in here about Lawyers, Lefties, Greedsters, and Cowards that warrants in-depth study. This being Social Studies Sunday….
Ure hit one of his favorite online suppliers this week, looking for a refill of some shop consumables. 1/16th inch bronze brazing rod. Sure enough, a 20 piece container appeared, but seeing a 50-piece box was listed, I tried to buy that.
Out of stock. Earliest arrival date here? Mid April – if that is to be trusted. And trust me, I know untrustable when I see it.
The suggests to me that as soon as the remaining stock of industrial items is done, there will likely be a rush to get the last of anything that can be Made into something useful. So, while I was at it, I selected a series of other parts from you-know-where.
One 500 gram roll of rosin-core solder for electronics bench work. And another roll of 1.75 mm 3D printer filament. (It’s ABS plastic that makes very durable printed goods. Like that small engine starter gear on my Briggs and Stratton powered lawn tractor I’ve complained about for 6-years.)
All of these things, are in my judgment, in danger of going into the “shortfall column” depending on whether production lines in Asia reopen – THEN STAY OPEN – and keep sending us….stuff.
This off-shoring of America’s long-lost industrial might is the result of multiple players in the Global Hyper-Complexity Model. In the old days, we just called it The House of Cards. We will admit that Global Supply Chain does sound a little more credible.
Why I Blame Lawyers
The lawyers (and insurance companies named here as unindicted co-conspirators) were busy during the 1970’s “tuning up their business models.”
Lots of lawyers found work as captive (or hourly rental) counsel for school districts. In these positions, they advised school districts to “lower their risk exposures.” We trace today’s problems back there: Because the means of reducing risk, was to take Industrial Arts out of school and put a bullet in retirement funding of Industrial Arts teachers.
I also blame insurance companies. Because many did NOT lower rates proportionate to the reduction of risks, when DimwitJohnny and Silly Sally stopped ramming-up green sand molds to pour Mustang car logos from molten aluminum.
No sir, the insurance people re-tooled their scare stories and kept their rates high.
Following the path, are you? The way this part of the business model worked was? a) Lawyers made more money, b) Insurance companies made more money, c) School Administrators cut staff (laying off how many shop teachers?) This virtually forced fast-growing American business to pack-up and leave..
Blame the Greedsters, Too
This would be Big Talk Politicians on the Rotary and rubber chicken circuit in the 1970’s. I saw the promises from the podium at one such a breakfast confab myself in 1970, In a ballroom of the old Seattle Olympic Hotel (now the Four Seasons).
I forget who the political hack was (well, I remember, but he’s dead so let him rest in peace, eh?) and he promised to Build a High Tech Workforce.
Sounded great! Except it was mostly bullshit. It was just a way to feed more people into community colleges. Where – for a lot more dough and higher ed empire-building – the Student Loan Games could be player. God, what a serial scam it all was.
Instead of learning useful stuff in high school, this was a plan to sell our own children into student loan slavery. Even if they just wanted to pull wires as an electrician and buy a bass boat.
I couldn’t get my hands on high voltage in High School to save my soul.
Problem was Insurance companies kept everyone from getting our hands on soldering gear and learning how to cobble-up electronics. “Can’t have Dimwit Johnny and Silly Sally melting solder, for crying out loud. Why, if Dimwit put a soldering iron in Silly’s eyes, we all be sued…and we’d have to raise taxes even more!!!”
Oh the Joys of fear-based management decisions – now crafted to a fine art.
Result? The metal shop, that would have made a dandy electronics lab was also shut down. The gas-engines shop Stan Jones used to teach? Gone and now it’s a voc-tech school costing $25-grand.
Here we are – 40-years later – convincing the kids to pull their pants down and think about sex changes. Instead of learning to bend metal or cut wood. Are we f*cking mad? (Hint: starts with a “Y”)
The Greedsters didn’t care, though. They were reaping the benefits of trans-Pacific air travel. Why, soon, we would be making lots of thing in Japan. As Pappy Ure once advised me: “If you want to make a country great, go to war with the USA and come back in 20-years.”
Usually, it doesn’t take that long. 10-years did it for Volkswagen. Uncle Joe drove over to show off his new VW Bug in 1956. It had the flip-out semaphore turn signals. He brushed off the “Hitler-mobile” jeering.
The Think Small ad campaign in the mid 1960’s made VW Bugs and Beetles cool. I bought my first brand new ’68 Bug at age 19 after working for a defense contractor up north of Fairbanks…
Nothing lasts forever, though, especially if you’re a Greedster.
Japan not only raised wages, but they started to make kick-ass cars. The N360 made its way into the US in 1967. A couple of years later (with my krautmobile still moving me around) I wondered at the wisdom of another uncle who bought a what? How do you spell that? “T-o-y-o-t-a?”
The problem with supply chains is they result in massive economic peaks. The Japan N225 index hit a lifetime high of near 39,000 in early 1990. It’s a little over half that, now. Side bet on where we head?
Japan had its Greedsters, too. So THEY started to offshore and since Asia was closer…everyone went to China. U.S. business dribbled in after Nixon opened the door beginning in 1974. From there, China has been on a roll.
And our schools, save a few in Texas in their Agriculture programs, still don’t teach Dimwit Johnny or Silly Sally to hog-out a part on a metal lathe…
Can you imagine what would happen if Dimwit Johnny busted a finger on a turning metal part? Or, God forbid, he leaves the chuck key in and spins up power and it hits him in the face. Explain that to the school board, insurance company, ambulance-chasing lawyers, and the screaming homeowners who don’t understand how much of their “taxes” are just supporting a leach-class…
Meanwhile, Silly Sally ain’t so stupid after all. She’s trying to ask a smart question after looking at this ungainly machine:
“Mommy, what’s and R-8 Spindle Taper? And why is this machine made in China instead of Lima, Ohio or Bridgeport, Connecticut?”
“Oh, my precious darling. The R-8 spindle taper is just one up from an R-7 Spindle taper. Now be a good little Princess and tell me what kind of Man you want to be after your operation…”
That isn’t “parenting.” That’s war-crimes.
You know the country you love is in deep shit when plumbing changes are more important than global ass-kicking.
Thanks to? The lawyers, Greedsters, and monetizers of fear. You’ve made pandemics and global collapse possible.
All that remains is shutting down the ‘net. Or, licensing…Hey, how about that annual fee, idea, huh?
Write when you know what shim-stock is,