Monday, December 07, 2009

634 Things That Go Clunk on the Floor

634 Things That Go Clunk on the Floor

These are the times to remember Chet Currier, a friend from 1972 until his ridiculously early death in 2007. He's been a featured attraction in this space for years, primarily, though for his Obituary. Chet was the Ultimate Financial Guru, conservative but thoughtful, a guy who looked at mutual funds and said "Marx was right. This is how the workers gained control of the means of production."

How would he have looked at the present economy? We had a running disagreement for 35 years: Chet believed the ultimate answer to economic success was a movement of upwardly mobile stocks, hedged with other solid investments. But he disagreed when he heard "invest in companies which manufacture things that are generally too heavy to lift and which make a terrific noise when dropped."

Maybe now, he would agree, but maybe not.

Impossible to tell.

But here are the facts: The United States manufacturing base has grown markedly since Currier's death in '07, but it's making little crap. Where is the recession for countries that DO make things that go clunk on the floor? Japan, China, the Czech Republic, Taiwan, Malaysia, Viet Nam, India and half a dozen countries you never heard of on the African continent.

We have to make heavy stuff. It's the only path to an economic recovery.


--Al D'Amato's first wife is or was a professor at Nassau Community College and his present wife has a job with the Town of Hempstead and both are well qualified for the positions, but likely wouldn't have landed them without that last name. So why all the fuss about Sen. Baucus and Melonee Hanes' name in the hat for a federal prosecutor's job -- which she never got? If you want to slam Maxie, there's plenty worse than that in his resume, most of all the Senate Finance Committee's ridiculous health insurance "reform" bill.

--I won't dump on CEO Jeff Zucker like everyone else is. And I won't count him out when Comcast takes the majority interest in NBC Universal. Things may be bad in the ratings and revenues department at the moment. But anyone who underestimates Jeff does so at his peril.

--Obama is starting to show Nixonian features. No one knows what the hell he's talking about when he talks, though the words are nearly poetry. And the Broom Squad always seems to be following the elephant with shovels and clarifications.

Book Look: Amusing Ourselves to Death -- Viking Press 1985

NYU Professor Postman speculates here that Aldous Huxley was right in Brave New World, compared with George Orwell's 1984.

He postulates that we are so focused on entertainment that we allow ourselves to become serfs and distracted while the biggies of Wall Street and Washington screw us over. In 1985, Postman did not see the tech revolution coming, and he was wrong. We not only have an Entertainment Culture, but we have a Techo-dictatorship to go along with it.

Postman was amusing in describing a culture of amusement. But he was dead serious when he warned against it. It was a warning we should have heeded and so far have not.

Richards Redometer Rating: 1

Readometer Key:
1 - Buy it.
2 - Wait for the paperback.
3 - Take it out of the Library.
2. Flip through it at the book store.
1. Forget it.
Note to Readers and Listeners: Hereafter, thee Book Look feature will appear only sporadically in this space, rather than weekly.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2009

1 comment:

Johnny Rocket (<: said...

How would we heed Postmans warning? What would we each do on a periodic basis? What would the 'work' look like that would grow us away from this 'collective mind plugged into the distraction-numbing buzz' -J

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