From the desk of Hoodathunk: Just Add Water

Story Time

Many years ago one had to put water in a pan, wait for it to boil and then add rolled oats.  After stirring for a bit (I’m not quite old enough to remember how long it took) you would get oatmeal.  Then Quaker came along with Quick Quaker Oats.  Essentially the same preliminaries, they just cooked in a couple of minutes.  Then, thanks to NASA, the microwave was born and

making oatmeal could be done in a single bowl in about two minutes.  And oatmeal is only the tip of the iceberg.  Since the 60’s the US has been hell bent on bringing K rations to the American table in the name of saving time.  It certainly can’t be because veterans so loved the things that they missed them.

Seriously, it was the birth of the movement to make Americans slaves to time.  They have slowly but surely sold the idea that we need to pack as much as we can into every waking moment, efficiently using every second to maximize our return on our time investment.  Work, where this greedy monster was born, obviously led the way.  We can thank ole Henry Ford for that one.  While this concept has some very valid and useful points, the problem came when it became the sole reason, the dictator of business operation — maximized throughout with the enhanced bottom line.  Yeah, baby, that will make your business thrive, providing management also takes into consideration the fact that the people who do the work are not just another piece of machinery.

That is the part that has been taken out of the equation over the past 30 years:  People are not machines.  Nor do machines totally run themselves.  Nor can machines do everything.  The respect for the efforts of labor has been degraded to the point where it is treated like a commodity.  If you don’t like working here, you can and will be replaced.  And with the population rising and the number of jobs falling it is true.  Someone can always be found who is so desperate for a job that they are willing to do just about anything to put food on the table.

This worship of saved time is an aspect of the recovery of America has to be revisited.  Instant gratification is killing us.  Our corporations have to return to balancing short-term profits against long term sustainability.  This doesn’t just apply to things like safety and environmental impact but also to building a working partnership between labor and management that is mutually beneficial and respects both.  The obscene disparity between top management compensation and labor wages has to end.  The idea that labor is disposable has to end.  The really bad part is that it has taken 30 years for this high profit, right now school of management to become ingrained in our business society and there appears to be no reason that management would willingly revise their attitude.

It will probably take a major economic collapse and it will happen.  The present system is unsustainable.  History has proven it many times.  A civilized intelligent society monitors itself and works to keep the pendulum from shifting too far in either direction.  Our pendulum has been forced so far right that when it cuts loose it will be more of a wrecking ball, and with the Republicans back in control of the House, I foresee the pendulum being forced even further right, accelerating the impending crash timeline.

It is real difficult to fix major problems fast enough to satisfy the instant society we have become.  But the bad things?  Yup, those can happen overnight.  Just take a shaky economy, add Republicans and you won’t even need a microwave.

Visit Hoodathunk’s blog, Story Time, to read more of his musings, rants, fiction, and maybe pick up a recipe or two.

4 thoughts on “From the desk of Hoodathunk: Just Add Water

  1. If this continues with people are out of work, hungry, no place to live and no government safety net, America will be a third world country. And Americans have guns, lots of guns. We have already seen people go into a business and kill their supervisors and managers.

    I believe that countries become communistic when people are too hungry for too long.

  2. Hooda, odd how the mind works.

    Yesterday’s reading brought to mind the ‘grow sponge’ capsules.

    Today’s reading brought to mind the 160th anniversary of RL Stevenson’s birth and my having passed a city street called Lamplighter Alley…

    R.L. Stevenson penned “The Lamplighter” in 1885. Many scholars accept he was writing about childhood reminiscences at the same time lamenting the lamplighter’s job being made redundant – with the introduction of electricity- there was no longer the need for Leerie to light the street lamps.

    The Lamplighter

    My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky.
    It’s time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
    For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
    With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

    Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
    And my papa’s a banker and as rich as he can be;
    But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I’m to do,
    O Leerie, I’ll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

    For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
    And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
    And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;
    O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!

    Robert Louis Stevenson

  3. One story I’ve heard, but never bothered to track down, is that the straw that started the Russian Revolution was a(nother) rise in the price of cucumbers.

    Debout, les damnés de la terre
    Debout, les forçats de la faim
    La raison tonne en son cratère
    C’est l’éruption de la fin
    Du passé faisons table rase
    Foule esclave, debout, debout
    Le monde va changer de base
    Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout
    |: C’est la lutte finale
    Groupons-nous, et demain
    Sera le genre humain 😐

  4. Very interesting Gary!

    I went to ‘translate’ and it went from the French to Russian – then directed to English (strict translation, I think).

    This spoke to me:

    Verse 3:
    Compressed state and the law cheats
    The tax Bleed unhappy;
    No duty is imposed on the rich,
    The right of the poor is a hollow word.
    It’s pretty languishing in custody,
    Equality means other laws:
    “No rights without duties,” she said,
    Equal, no duties without rights! ”

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