Monthly Archives: November 2013

The $5 Wage and Henry Ford’s Secret Police

“Then — after he’d rocketed up his profitability, and because he needed to attract many more workers — he famously increased his daily wage rate from $2.34 to $5. That was a 114% raise in the wage he paid … after an 800% increase in worker productivity. (How generous!) Then he used the $5 wage as a viscous competitive weapon, to steal the best workers from competitors and other busineses everywhere while firing masses of his own workers. Then he subjected his own new work force to Ford Inc.’s infamous “Sociological Department”, an internal secret police force that he created to scrutinize and spy on every aspect their lives. Not just their work records — efficiency, attendance, attitude towards unions, etc. — but everything, religion, family, personal behavior, the works. Anyone who didn’t pass muster was summarily fired. The $5 wage is what let him keep that iron grip on every aspect of his workers lives. They couldn’t get that pay anywhere else so they endured. For a while, until GM and others matched the assembly line. Then Ford near destroyed his own company with his viscous union-busting and attempts to keep his workers down (see: Battle of the Overpass ), blew his huge market share, and handed the industry to GM. And … from this we now get the story of the $5 wage as “Fordism”, Henry generously doubling his workers’ wages so they could afford to buy the cars they made for him. And others following his precedent being the key to American economic success back in those good old days. LOL! 🙂 My gosh, people will believe anything. But this doesn’t even pass the Urban Legend test of at least seeming plausible. Look at the arthmetic: When workers spend maybe 10% of their pay on car-buying how the heck could Henry have made money by increasing their pay so they could buy his cars??? That 10% of what he paid would have had to cover more than 100% of what he paid! And people believe this nonsense??? Henry Ford was the worst union-busting, labor-exploiting SOB of his generation in the entire auto industry, by far. Maybe the worst in all industry. He nearly destroyed his own company with his obsessive, brutal attempts to keep labor down. But now he’s a hero to the left! “Fordism” made America great. If only labor could get Henry back! 🙂 Anybody who cites this tripe of “Fordism” as generosity to labor, “named after Henry Ford”, that was the key to, well, anything good, disqualifies himself from being taken seriously. Period. So much for this being a “definitive piece” on anything. The real lesson about workers wages from Henry Ford: You want higher wages for workers? Increase their productivity. Then even if their boss is a labor-exploiting SOB like Henry Ford, they’ll get higher wages.”

How Parents Tell Their Children About Poverty (or Don’t)

Or try to at least: “We lived with friends and family, moving along as we strained our welcome until we were finally able to move into a house of our own. It was the worst house yet. Barely livable. It was a house that had been moved from a neighborhood that was being torn down and my dad worked to renovate it when he wasn’t at work in exchange for very discounted rent. This whole time food was a struggle and I guess that was never a secret, but it wasn’t exactly discussed either. In the same way you don’t talk about the fact that your mom called you from work to tell you to fill the bathtub up because they’re going to turn the water off. Or the way you don’t mention that you picked up the phone and there’s no dial tone again. The same way you don’t ask your mom for money for that field trip because you know we don’t have it. You just tell your teacher you forgot the permission slip and stay behind. The same way you wear shoes even after you’ve outgrown them because you know your Dad is going to skip lunch to pay for new ones. Believe me. You know. It breaks your heart. It breaks your heart because it breaks your parents a little everyday. I remember walking into the kitchen as they sat at the table with a pile of bills we couldn’t pay. My mom had been crying and my Dad had his head in his hands. This was over 20 years ago and there is a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach remembering the look on my father’s face.”

Image from this HuffPo story.

A Hospital Janitor on Meaningful Work

“When I clean a room after one patient is discharged or transferred and prepare it for the next patient, I treat it as if my own mom or brother is going to stay there. Odds are if you happen to find yourself in one of the areas I’m responsible for, you are already having a bad day. I will not be the reason you notice a stain on your pillow case, an odd hair on your TV remote, or evidence that someone used this shower before you. That’s the last fucking thing someone needs to deal with after hearing the word ‘inoperable’. … Granted, I don’t make it a point to bring up my job’s details or brag about anything when I’m around my friends who have gone on to more respected professions such as accountants or even doctors themselves. Yet, I find pride in my work and I view myself as a person who can hopefully provide a little bit of normalcy and comfort to someone who desperately needs it. Nothing feels better than when everything is clean and organized at home, right? So if I’m the guy that has to do some undesirable task that allows you to have that feeling when you are anywhere but home, so be it. Anything to make someone feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation is worth it to me. Basically, what I’m getting at is… Do what you do, rock it, don’t look down on yourself or your position compared to others. If you end up cleaning toilets, be the best damn toilet cleaner there is. Same thing for any other job that’s not highly regarded. You put yourself in that position based on your many choices in life, so you might as well own it and be great at it. What would be worse than being told you are bad at doing a “bad” job? I see so many people in my department develop a poor attitude and allow it to effect their work and their life as a whole and it bothers me. When I was a young kid I was drawing myself as a firefighter, astronaut, and professional football player like every other boy in class when the teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up….but I ended up a janitor. Fuck it, I save lives by cleaning things. No one needs to go to school for twelve years to understand how great a properly made bed feels, especially when you are sick. Have perspective in life and be proud of what you do. Even if you end up at a job that might not require hard work to obtain, doesn’t mean you can’t work hard once you are there. It is what it is and you are who you are.”

Why So Many American TV Shows Collapse in a Death Spiral

“All American TV shows have this issue with very few exceptions, and it’s because of the way TV syndication and funding works: Nobody knows how the goddamn things are going to end. The goal of these shows, near as I can tell, is to establish a viewer base and then exist. That’s it. Survive as long as possible and do nothing more than keep those viewers. It’s not about providing an audience with a brilliant story, well-told. It’s about keeping the people who work on the show employed. It results in a serious lack of direction and a shit ton of filler episodes. The episodes nobody likes. Sometimes these shows get off the ground with little more than a concept (Terra Nova). If you’re airing the pilot before you have finished penning the script for the season finale, you’re screwed. If you’re airing the pilot without a rough outline of how the entire show is going to finish, it’s going to be a miasmic mess of ideas and half-finished plots. … If it were up to me, no TV show would make it to greenlight without a complete outline of the entire season at least, episode by episode, and a loose outline of exactly how long the show will run and where it ends up. Anything else is just marking time to a great big apathetic whimper of a conclusion that has to eke out what it can from the corner it’s been written in to.”

Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Arkham Asylum

“JOKER: You know doc. You had me going for a second there. But let me tell you. I’ve seen some doctors who claimed they could “cure” me. The most that got me was an annoying girlfriend, and let me tell you she was a handfull. This one time she and-

HANNIBAL: You had a wife once, didn’t you?

Silence. The Joker’s smile breaks.

JOKER: Don’t interrupt, doc. Anyway-

HANNIBAL: She died. Yes? Through no fault of your own? I can see it in your eyes. As black as they come. Yet so full of a lost history. How can you wipe such a woman out of your mind like that?

JOKER: You’re really starting to get on my nerves doc. Now let me-

HANNIBAL: Your constant ignorance towards your past makes me wonder. Was she pregnant?
Joker stands up furious. His yellow teeth vanished within his lips. His face hidden in the dark.

HANNIBAL (CONT’D): Oh my. She was. How sad. That’s a lot to bear for a young father. They tell me you once went by another name. The Red Hood was it? Such theatrics, you liked being center stage. Judging by your makeup I would suggest you to a circus.”

Full scene from a writing prompt on Reddit