2:00PM Water Cooler 12/11/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, I am now on the road, where wifi is unreliable, and so I couldn’t put up any links (and as I write, I must return to packing).

So I thought I’d put up a couple of videos for you to comment on. These are newsreel-length industrial films made by the London, Midland, and Scottish railway, one of four private railroad networks that resulted after “Grouping” in 1921, which consolidated over 120 separate railways. The LMS ran through Britain’s gritty industrial heartland, and as a company its scale and ambition might remind one of the Pennsylvania Railroad in this country: the “Standard Railroad of the World,” as their slogan had it.

These films fascinate me, partly because I’m a railroad fan (“foamer,” in the argot of United States railroaders), and especially a fan of British railroads; I don’t know why.

Here’s the first: “Steam Trains – Men Of The Footplate.” It shows how the LMS is “a career open to talents.”

And here’s the second: “Steam Trains – Study In Steel.” It shows how a steam locomotive (“Princess Arthur of Connaught”) is constructed, from the drafting shop all the way to its exit under power from the shops.

(If you don’t play any other parts of these videos, play from 2:58 in this one, if you want to get an idea of what working conditions were like.)

Here are some of the thoughts that occurred to me (besides the beauty of the machines and the possibility of interest in the work. Whatever else the work may be, it’s not shelving at Walmart, and it doesn’t require flair (or does it?)).

1) I think the announcer heavily influenced Monty Python.

2) The movie was made in 1938. So this is the industrial base with which Britain went to war with Germany, in 1939.

3) Safety doesn’t seem to be a primary concern; see especially the workers pouring molten steel at 2:58 in the second movie.

4) The class distinctions between workers and managers are evident in many, many ways. Like bowler hats versus caps.

And some questions:

1) Do the movies depict a vanished world? The machines are gone. The LMS is gone. Have the social relations depicted changed? Or are they in their essence the same?

2) Does “white male working class” — considered as a neutral phrase — adequately characterize the non-bowler hat wearing people in these movies? If so, does that “white male working class” equate to “white male working class” in current American political discourse? Why or why not?

3) What would have to be true for “working class” to adequately characterize the non-bowler hat wearing people in these movies? (Alternative histories may be introduced.)


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Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (RS).


More from RS’s food forest!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Daryl

    Here is an interesting riddle for NC readers familiar with pensions.

    Houston is, like everywhere else, suffering from a severe shortfall in pension funding. I heard an ad today from this group: http://www.texansforlocalcontrol.org/ which appears to be associated with right-wingers and advocates giving local municipalities control over pensions, which is apparently currently vested in the state legislature.

    Here’s the relevant text of one bill that appears to be associated with this movement: “a municipality … may adopt by ordinance or resolution, as applicable, provisions that supplement or supersede the operative provisions of the public retirement system’s statute, including any provision relating to the benefits, participation and eligibility requirements, funding source or amount, and administration of the system.”

    I find myself wondering: what’s the end game of this? Does local control make it easier to plunder pensions? (The Texas state legislature is not exactly the brain trust, but I imagine that buying a local council seat is a bit cheaper than buying a state congressperson, and so on).

    In any case, the ad made it clear that if I voted for the Democratic candidate, there would be more potholes and less police officers, which is apparently the worst possible fate that might befall the city of Houston.

    1. financial matters

      The best way to guarantee pensions is with extended social security. The best way to support social security is with a job guarantee that leads to full employment. Both take an understanding of political motivations on how the money system works.

      full employment

      “Kalecki says: Indeed, under a regime of permanent full employment, ‘the sack’ would cease to play its role as a disciplinary measure. The social position of the boss would be undermined and the self assurance and class consciousness of the working class would grow”.

    2. Watt4Bob

      I believe the situation is this; the pension provisions agreed to during collective bargaining have not been honored by the government in that pension funds have not been funded at a level sufficient to deliver the promised level of benefits.

      This was a deliberate choice on the part of the responsible parties because of reluctance to raise taxes to provide the monies, and over-optimistic projections of returns on investments. (pie in the sky, by and by)

      It’s a crime that pension funds were not funded as promised, and that government leadership instead handed the funds to the rich and powerful in the form of tax breaks.

      That leadership is now trying to say it’s a crime for retirees to expect the deferred income benefits agreed upon in their contract negotiations, and the ignorant, low-information voters have been so well trained to hate unions, both public and private, that they consistently agree with their leaders that it’s unions that have caused the problem, and should be made to accept less than what was negotiated.

      Those same folks will easily be convinced that passing laws to allow local governments to abrogate labor contracts is a step in the right direction.

      The same folks would scream to high heaven if we asked for laws overturning the provisions of student loan contracts?

      1. tegnost

        I agree with your comment but would like to go off on a bit of a tangent to it. Americans pay huge amounts of tax, and that’s before the ACA tax. The problem is sold as no money for what the PTB (Third Way, Heritage Foundation etc…) don’t want to do, such as funding pensions. The reality is (IMO) gov’t spends money into the economy, taxes put some of it back and are “skin in the game” i.e. a requirement to participate at one’s peril, the latter probably the more important half. Non dischargeable student loans fall into this category as well. Currently our gov’t spends money into the military and in assisting biz expansion into new markets because they resent you for your pension, think you get too much and don’t deserve it, just as with S.S. Not paying you is the basis of Globalisation . It’s purpose is not to increase the fortunes of a poverty stricken indigenous farmer in latin america. They don’t spend it here because they don’t want to spend it here, not because they can’t. The P.E. posts are an excellent window into the institutional rip off’s of pensions by the great baron’s of finance, they see another fat public purse and they are plundering it.

    3. inode_buddha

      Just speaking from experience up here in NY: You are going to have more potholes and less police officers regardless. Corruption (re: pension funding) is bipartisan.

  2. Alexei McDonald

    The men in bowler hats are the foremen. They are still working class, but have higher status.

  3. James Levy

    Lambert, watched the Study in Steel and loved it–thank you!

    As this is my period, I can give some informed commentary. The man you saw in the Bowler was not middle class–he was a member of Lenin’s famous aristocracy of labor. He probably left school at 14 like the rest of the men you see (other than the draftsman). In fact, the lack of non-working class oversight was evident. The take-aways I should think would be the way every part was fabricated for that particular train and in the vast locomotive works (probably in Doncaster). The amount of skilled labour necessary would have baffled a contemporary American manufacturer. And the lack of “off the shelf” and interchangeable parts was also emblematic (and endemic) of British industry in those years. And where Americans would have used standardized parts and welding, the British still used specialized parts and riveting. My brother in law is a trained Harley mechanic and had, almost as a lark, a set of specialized wrenches and tools just for Triumph motorcycles. All the nuts, bolts, and screws that went into a Triumph were uniquely sized for the bikes and so you needed an entirely different set of tools to work on them!

    I would say that that working class was radically different from our working class. They had much more autonomy and even the middle class people who wrote and produced that film respected their craftsmanship. The deal was that industry would not de-skill the workplace and British workers would not demand the kinds of wages they could get in America, Canada, or Australia. What it meant for war mobilization was a reluctance of workers to allow any change in the work process. What the British largely did was to increase the number and hours of workers, rather than change the way work was done. Unions fought any attempt to water down the process. It took enormous pressure from Bevin and Atlee who were serving in the War Cabinet on the unions to get any mass production techniques introduced to the British wartime economy. The British got by largely by mobilizing a higher percentage of their population and industry than any other country save perhaps the Soviet Union. The US war economy was eating up about 45% of GDP in 43-44, but the British mobilized about 70% of their GDP to fight the war. Everyone was liable for drafting into the military or war work (or women into farming), industry was de facto nationalized, and even private capital in the form of foreign stocks, bonds, and currency were confiscated to pay for the war.

    1. bob

      “set of specialized wrenches and tools just for Triumph motorcycles”

      Why don’t the brits make computer chips? They couldn’t figure out a way to make them leak oil.

      Terrible machines, all of them, generally with a giant price tag attached too.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘a set of specialized wrenches and tools just for Triumph motorcycles’

      We called those ‘f****** Whitworth’ spanners. They seemed to work on BSAs and Nortons too.

      A clue as to why Whitworth fasteners failed to dominate the world:

      “It is today uncommon to encounter a Whitworth hexagon which takes the nominally correct spanner.”


      1. Optimader

        Witworth indeed, I have a set. No more or less specialized than metric or saw. What I find interesting is how alien a fabrication shop appears to most Americans. The dirty secret is, Generation Whatever was steered away from working in shop environments with the advent of being “stovepipe do into “white collar” jobs rolling the metaphorical orange on keyboards. Sure MUCH of this sort of work migrated away w/ globalization and legislated tax incentives, but the fact is a young person can go into a manufacturing/fabrication career and make a good living. Conceptually not on the radar for most young people.

          1. JerseyJeffersonian


            Thanks for this. My stepson is a very talented professional auto/truck mechanic. He has done some fabrication work for classic cars, but has recently returned to a position at a GM/Isuzu truck shop. Hard work on the body, he has begun to realize, and he is certainly intelligent and insightful enough to harbor thoughts of life beyond the shop floor. But where to begin? Perhaps this item (liked the large print CD/ROM combo), along with the companion handbook might spark off some ideas. Quite the resource, no matter which way things break for him.

        1. craazyman

          i read on a news website a few years ago — not long, just 2 years or so — that a Baltimore-based speciality machinist shop was having a very hard time findiing skilled workers. The story said a guy in his 20s with a few years of good technical machine tool training and no need for college could make over $100K.

          I’d almost think of making a career change. I work in the world of beta leveraging, ass kissing, butt sucking, mathematical molestation and overall stupidity called ‘”the investment business”. It’s even worse than that, in fact. I’m restraining myself

          Learning how to work precision machines and make stuff could be cool. I may actually do that, if I wasn’t so lazy. Laziness is the main problem. that and lack of a 10 bagger — to take the pressure off. I think making things helps keep people mentally and spiritually balanced. Making money does not, although there are good people who are able to, even in the investment business. haha

          The trains, they remind of the Ledbelly song Where did you sleep last night

          Her husband was a railroad man
          Killed a mile and a half from here
          His head was found in a drivers wheel
          and his body hasn’t never been found

          it’s not like Im being morbid, it’s just I thought of that lyric when I saw the ppictures of the trains, that and The Band

          Virgil Caine is the name
          and i rode on the Danville train
          till Stoneman’s cavalry came
          and tore up the tracks again

          it”s just the way the mind works

        2. OIFVet

          What I find interesting is how alien a fabrication shop appears to most Americans. Are there shop classes in public schools? Growing up in BG we had to take shop classes, be it metalworking or woodworking, and then by the 7th grade some could choose to enroll in trade schools. To these days there are a lot of very capable DIYourselvers, even though most of the industries were destroyed and the machines exported following the fall of the wall. I don’t see the same amount trade and machine skills in the newer generations there, just a lot of useless college degrees (BG might possibly be one of the leading countries in economics degrees per capita, which explains a lot IMO). My dad taught me cabinetmaking and I have a small but very well stocked shop at home, a sanctuary where I can just enjoy building things for us and for friends. Frankly it is much more pleasant and useful way to live life than my day job…

          1. Dan

            I graduated from HS in 2002, so awhile back, but I took welding and carpentry in HS, and there were many other ‘trade’ classes available.

            Of course I, like most, went on to get a useless undergrad degree (philosophy), and a semi-useful graduate degree (computer science)

          2. optimader


            I am going to ask a couple vendors which programs they pull from and post it.
            getting a welding certification is probably the entry level meal ticket then honestly these guys learn on the job. There are all manner of weld certs structural, aerospace nuclear for people that are interested in just welding, but someone that ascends through learning fabricating skills, -a valuable niche, ultimately nearl guaranteed employment most anywhere. Machine step up men, very valuable if you going to put a tool on some $50,000 forging with a 4 month lead time that’s going into a planned shutdown at a steel mill or a refinery.

            In the Chicago area, Eastern Europeans I know are very successful in the the framing and trim carpentry, Mexicans are very successful in the drywalling and mudding, ALOT of eastern Europeans in the machine shop skill force, the absolute best stainless steel fabricator I know is a ~45 yo polish guy at a fabrication shop im Lombard, they don’t even bother with having a webpage.

            Washburne used to be a juggernaught in all the trades, I think they are now know for their culinary arts program. knew the Chef that ran this ~20 years ago, not sure of the quality now

            fantastic JC,
            http://www.cod.edu/programs/culinary/culinary_arts/ eat here when ever I can, great

        3. RMO

          How? I’ve tried. There’s been an unbridgeable gap between formal school training in the trades I’ve attempted and actually working in them. And I have gone to the extreme of working free in an attempt to get the experience needed a number of times.

          1. Optimader

            As an example, I know this company
            regularly is hiring people direct out of a local j college that have welding certification, can read a blueprint do basic math and can use basic measuring tools. Progressive OJT based on aptitude. A fantastic shop.
            http://www.jkmfg.com is another one right off hand, in the Chicago area.
            If you are trying to enter a union controlled trade environment im geussing you’d need a sponsor, but otherwise the jobs exist, at least around here might be different in other geographies

      2. ambrit

        Look up the Whitworth cannons. Used extensively in the American War Between the States. A similar ethos informed its’ construction.

      3. YY

        As well as Royal Enfields and Velocettes. I’ve long ago parted with the Velo but still have my BSW sockets and spanners. Not that they are of any use, and neither are my American sockets since
        everything now use metrics. Oil leaks aside, what killed the original Trumpets and Beezas are probably more a function of Lucas and Amal. “Specilized” tools of any stripe (like one for a sump plug on a Peugeot 505) while pain in the ass, are not what kills products.

        1. participant-observer-observed

          Royal Enfields are still the Harley Davidson elite machines (with similar sounds) in south Asia, mostly Nepal and India, and hold their value similarly, and even price similarly.

          As a former HD owner, my head always turns when I hear the Enfields coming and going in south Asia.

          But, it should be noted, that machine shops and their innovative mechanics with apprentices can be still be found on nearly every street, like 7-Eleven convenience stores!

          Thus, when the bottom shadow economy hits, the ‘necessity is the mother of invention” should bring machining back to the USA, if only to avoid throwing out machines that can be repaired.

          To see the best of that in the USA, visit the motorcycle and car shows. There plenty of home machining (and chroming) is seen to be alive and well.

        2. optimader

          Specilized” tools of any stripe (like one for a sump plug on a Peugeot 505) while pain in the ass, are not what kills products.

          HAHA.. I had a 504 then a 505 wagon after that! Those were two of my favorite cars wow memory flashback, They could and did go anywhere. De Dion rear suspension, all beautiful alloy castings. Made my own sump pug remover by grinding the flat sides down on a (Sears) center punch, then put a wench on it!
          Those were hemi engines, so I made the sparkplug remover as well. Brazed a socket on a piece of pipe.
          The 505wagon swallowed up I think it was 6 bales of hay once!

          1. ambrit

            Dads’ last project car was an old Citroen. Bloody awesome design. The body height off of the road was hydraulically adjustable! I remember well fiddling with the Mikuni triple carberatours on my Kawasaki H1 motorcycle. I wish I had never sold that scoot. Pirsig was on to something with his book, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”

            1. optimader

              I am on a patient search for a Citroen SM and love to replace the Peugeot 505 wagon as my utility vehicle. Pininfarina body Fuel efficient, incredible haulage capability, incredibly sublime suspension that would be happy driving on a dry riverbed in Africa and some of the most comfortable seats ever in a vehicle

              1. ambrit

                Oh, yes. Aim high. Dad bought his DS from a man in Hialeah for $300, got it running in the mans’ driveway and drove it home. (Yes, the hydraulic compensating suspension equipped models will drive on three wheels. I watched Dad do it one day.) That big knob in the centre of the dashboard. Raise and lower the chassis with it. Magic.

    3. EmilianoZ

      The US war economy was eating up about 45% of GDP in 43-44, but the British mobilized about 70% of their GDP to fight the war.

      Interesting. What about Germany? What’s the figure for Germany in the same period?

      1. LifelongLib

        I don’t know the GDP percentage, but I have heard the (incredible) story that Germany didn’t go on a full war footing until well into WW 2. There’s an on-line transcript of an interview with a German general who wanted some car factories re-purposed for tank manufacture, and was unable to get it done because the factory owners insisted they needed the capacity to produce the cars that would be needed after Germany won the war. See the (PDF) link, esp. page 30 – 32:


    4. Plenue

      “And where Americans would have used standardized parts and welding, the British still used specialized parts and riveting.”

      An interesting tidbit: because the actual building of armored vehicles was done by the same places that did ship construction, British tanks in the interwar and early WW2 periods were usually riveted, even when the blueprints clearly called for welding. The builders didn’t have much experience with welding so they just…didn’t. As late as 1943 Crusaders were coming off the assembly lines with riveting, and Cromwell tanks a year later had giant bolts on the turrets holding additional armor in place.

      1. Jim Haygood

        To this day, US manufacturers still offer cast railway bogies (‘trucks’ in US parlance; the frame that carries the springs, wheels and axles), made by pouring steel as in the 1930s British videos. Note the list of loyal customers who still buy them:


        Rolling stock manufacturers in Japan and France shifted to welded bogies as early as the 1950s, to better avoid fatigue cracking and reduce weight. A half century on, China uses Austrian robots to weld bogies for its high speed trains.

        As long as we’re living in a technological museum, it would be historically appropriate to use vacuum tube electronics to go with our antiquated cast bogies — not to mention steam propulsion. Toot toot!

    5. ambrit

      “..liable for drafting…”
      Too true. Besides his Dad being at sea as First Mate on a minesweeper, the poor sod did the Murmansk Run multiple times, my Fathers’ Mother was drafted to work at a factory in the Midlands sewing the silk bags that held the propellant powder for the big naval guns. Dad did not see his mother for three years during the war.

      1. Optimader

        The link was bounced several times so search YouTube Rolls Royce Merlin engine and you’ll see a fantastic vintage vid that captures an overview of the manufacturing processing. Briefly touch on management and shop Stewart’s negotiating. Some real beauties.
        This was a Brilliant design with cottage industry execution. The design was transferred to Packard which engineered with closer tolerances and scaled up production. Emblematic of enlightened British engineering of the day that lacked manufacturability follow through. Whittle jet engine is another classic case study.

  4. Synoia

    “set of specialized wrenches and tools just for Triumph motorcycles”

    Bollocks. The US has it’s standard the British had their, different, standards, Whitworth, BSF and BA.

  5. Synoia


    1) Do the movies depict a vanished world? The machines are gone. The LMS is gone. Have the social relations depicted changed? Or are they in their essence the same?

    Yes and No. The Class distinctions still exist, as do the class resentments. There is more upward mobility now than the 1930s, thank to Labor Governments, and free (up to Blair) higher education.

    2) Does “white male working class” — considered as a neutral phrase — adequately characterize the non-bowler hat wearing people in these movies? If so, does that “white male working class” equate to “white male working class” in current American political discourse? Why or why not?

    No. The characterization is “Working Class”. Women did not work and there were very few non British people. British people in general were not mobile, and did not relocate.

    Working Class = Lower class, skilled tradesmen or not. Middle class consists of professionals, Doctors, Lawyers and Accountants. Upper class are families with money – old money.

    As a child/teenager in Briian was very aware of agricultural laborers who had not and would never own a car, and probably has not traveled outside of their county, ever.

    3) What would have to be true for “working class” to adequately characterize the non-bowler hat wearing people in these movies? (Alternative histories may be introduced.)

    Peasants in Europe.

    1. Jagger

      3) What would have to be true for “working class” to adequately characterize the non-bowler hat wearing people in these movies? (Alternative histories may be introduced.)

      Peasants in Europe.

      I don’t believe peasants would be a good comparison. Peasants were the poor living off the land in some manner. Fairly unique set of social circumstances. Orlando Figes is an excellent source on peasants of Russia before, during and after the downfall of the Tsar and rise of bolshevism in early 20th century. I suspect the Russian peasants had a more medieval, regressive, reactionary social structure than western european peasants during that timeframe.

      Again using early 20th century Russia as an example, workers were often ex-peasants but with most ties cut from the peasant social structure. So ex-peasant workers were exposed to a very different social structure and became more sophisticated, gained education and with organization became extremely militant. In Britain, I would even wonder if the workers were ex-peasants. I suspect surplus city labor might have been the source for most industrial workers.

      To me, the specialized skills of the factory suggests a comparison with craftsmen or guildsmen more than anything else.

  6. guest

    “Do the movies depict a vanished world? […] Have the social relations depicted changed?”

    That world has vanished. Some major points:

    a) It was a railway company that manufactured its own rolling stock from scratch. It was thus a mixed service-industrial concern. I cannot think of anything equivalent today. Service corporations like Google or Facebook do build their own computing servers for instance, but they actually assemble them from standard parts procured from actual hardware manufacturers — they do not themselves run production plants as such.

    b) Those films emphasize the craft and know-how of the employees — which seems to have been replaced nowadays by touting their working efficiency and their contribution to profits. What was considered a profession is now a business.

    c) Workers are employees of the company, embedded in a hierarchy with well-defined jobs, career paths and training courses. Today’s large corporations are characterized by temporary workers “body-shopped” through external agencies, entire departments outsourced to external firms, or large portions of a workflow carried out by subcontractors. Career paths, training and loyalty bounds — as well as other aspects such as unions and socializing — are completely different.

    Regarding safety: from other documentaries I have seen (e.g. French steel plant, Argentinian slaughterhouse, British naval yard, etc) dating from early to mid 20th century, the situation was generally, let’s say hair-raising. The issue with molten iron impressed me less than those workers machining and trimming steel — without any eye protection against metal shards ejected from the machine-tool…

  7. Left in Wisconsin

    I’m still not sure what “white male working class” means in the American context. (I am sure that the vast majority of media types who use the phrase don’t personally know anyone to whom it might apply.) I think there might be 2, separated by age. Older ones would have a solidly middle-class outlook that they were either able to realize, if they were old enough and employer was stable enough, for them to retire with a decent pension (the ones I know think the world has gone to shit, are a bit angry that there kids can’t get decent factory jobs anymore, but many did not want their kids going into the factory) or are in a world of hurt right now living off meagre SS and pension scraps and probably very highly represented in the Trump camp.

    But my sense in the younger white working class is not middle class. Much more rural, little education, very little skill, not great prospects and know it. More nihilistic. Also probably in the Trump camp.

    Haven’t heard Sanders say enough about manufacturing.

    1. JerseyJeffersonian

      Sanders talk about manufacturing? It is déclassé for today’s “socialists” to concern themselves with the morlocks, I should think. And thereby hangs a tale, nicht wahr? The closest they will likely get is to keen about the shrinking middle class.

  8. upstater

    Lambert, Great videos!

    Ever been to Switzerland? That is the Disney World for railfans. Something like 98% of everything that was ever built is still in operation, modernized and electrified (powered by hydro). Hourly services on branch lines serving small villages and connecting Postal buses to almost everywhere else. Mainline services are generally not high speed rail, but fast and very dependable. GVA and ZRH airports has stations that are integral.

    The US is so third world…

    BTW, take a look at the proposed Canadian Pacific acquisition of Norfolk Southern. Financial engineering sponsored by Ackman of Pershing Square and managed by the sociopathic CP CEO E. Hunter Harrison. Slash and burn asset stripping.

  9. Skippy

    Ohhh aby…. come hither…

    Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture – By Matthew Schneider-Mayerson

    “The soft ware mogul Bill Gates, in the influential The Road Ahead (1995), predicted that the internet would finally deliver on the promise of “friction-free capitalism.” and a 1995 essay by Chistopher Anderson claimed: “The growth of the Net is not a fluke or a fad. but the consequence of unleashing the power of the individual creativity. If it were an economy, it would be the triumph of the fee market over central planning.” the notable lack of debate about direction of the Internet at a crucial moment in its development was rightly attributed by John Bellamy Foster and Robet W. McCheseny to ” the digital revolution exploding at precisely the moment that neoliberalism was in ascendance, its flowery rhetoric concerning ‘free markets’ most redolent. As Turner summarized: “by the end of t he [1990s], the libertarian, Utopian, populist depiction of the Internet could be heard echoing in the hall of Congress, the board rooms of Fortune 500 corporations, the chat rooms of cyberspace, and the kitchens and living rooms of individual American investors.” – pg. 91-92

    I do recommend reading the next page on Network Effects as related to social construction.

    The real difference here is – bargaining power – over all other considerations, as dictated by aggregate wealth and not academic introspection, resulting from rigorous observation and consensus of all the data available, then made public for introspection – debate. Instead people are told that only the “Free Market” can decide under the illusion that their is no agency [force] involved in this process [funny stuff considering the actions which established the Ideology in the first place]. Seems some thought computational power and the Internet would usher in a new Utopia where the Markets decided what is and what is not just by Numerical expression, instead it just became another religion with wealth priests conducting sermons whilst collecting a fee.

    Skippy…. Wellie I guess its the sky gawds or IA singularity for some…

  10. Skippy

    Naomi Klein
    18 hrs ·

    In the new ‪#‎Cop21‬ draft, U.S. inserted unprecedented demand that poor countries relinquish their legal right to sue for climate losses..

    Skippy…. getting frisky…

  11. john

    Globalization is a phenomenon of the upper classes.

    While the western rich may posess great foreign assests, most Americans don’t have a passport… and never will.

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