Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

2011 Doesn’t Look Much Better than 2010

October 18, 2010

The U.S. Economy Is In a Flatline Mode.
Consider the Situation When You Vote Next Month

Last January, I attended a dealer 20-Group meeting and offered my outlook for the year. In a nutshell, I told the dealers not to expect a flood of excited customers in the spring; it just wasn’t in the cards. And, in my view, they would be better off planning for a slow season rather than hoping for a heavy increase in floor traffic. I was roundly criticized by one successful dealer for being too negative.

Unfortunately, traffic did not pick up in the second and third quarters and this quarter doesn’t look too hot, either. Now, looking ahead, I don’t think there is much hope for a big improvement in 2011. I’m basing my initial forecast in part on what I’m hearing from a number of sources, and in part on an excellent analysis that appeared Oct. 12, 2010, in the  New York Times. The lengthy report carries the gloomy headline, “Across the U.S., Long Recovery Looks Like Recession.” I suppose I could stop right here; you get the point.

The bottom line is that it’s going to take years to recover from this recession, the downturn that’s been the worst for this country since the Great Depression. Consider the situation as you build your 2011 business plan and as you stand in the voting booth next month.

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The Value of Manual Labor

May 28, 2009

The New York Times magazine has a great essay from Matthew B. Crawford, an author who also happens to own a small motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, Va. In “The Case for Working With Your Hands,” Crawford examines the value of manual (as in hands-on) work versus the abstract nature of most white-collar work. It’s well worth a read as Crawford chose his path after aiming for a gig as a college-educated knowledge worker (he has a Ph.D. in political philosophy.)

From the story:

After finishing a Ph.D. in political philosophy at the University of Chicago in 2000, I managed to stay on with a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the university’s Committee on Social Thought. The academic job market was utterly bleak. In a state of professional panic, I retreated to a makeshift workshop I set up in the basement of a Hyde Park apartment building, where I spent the winter tearing down an old Honda motorcycle and rebuilding it. The physicality of it, and the clear specificity of what the project required of me, was a balm.

Crawford drills into a subject close to my heart and formerly calloused hands. As a professional keyboard pecker, I’m often at odds with my former career path and childhood aspirations to solid blue-collarism. It was in high school that I decided to opt out of college and work for a living. After a stint helping out my Brother, the Plumber, I became a roto-rooter guy. From there I worked as a technician for an aerospace (more…)