Letter: Decline of the empire
Fred Malo, you are so right — unions did do great damage to themselves through corruption and being less attentive to the rank and file than is functionally necessary, but they weren’t alone in this. The whole corporate world and the rank and file lost this connection to what got them to the summit of our successes.
During the ‘80s, the functional parameters of the American Dream changed from hoping to make it a little easier for our children to let’s all get rich and retire early because leisure and not a job well done became the goal of employment, across the board.
This happens in all empires as they reach the pinnacle of their reign. They embrace wholeheartedly the kernel of their own destruction and thus decline in influence and actual strength — because there is and never has been any real tangible value in capital without labor because capital is a parasite beneficial until it eats its host.
You point out that lack of respect for unions has caused a very real void in people skilled in vocational fields. That was what unions supported until they themselves caught the paper-pusher disease, causing only a college education to be valued — and further, only a business administration-oriented education. Even in primary school, these days.
Vacuums created shall be filled, and this one was filled with (like always) immigrants still operating on the premise of making life just a little easier for their children.
The game of life doesn’t change because the pieces suddenly become the players, but if we do want to stop our downward trajectory toward a has-been empire, we need to understand being a player has its own set of ethics and compassion, necessary to functioning without destroying everything that makes this transition possible.
America’s affluent elite function as not pieces but broken pieces, because trust funds and other means have enabled them to bypass the “job well done” (being the pieces life is played through), falsely believing wealth qualifies them as players.