Saturday, February 19, 2011

Changing America


(I received the article below by e-mail. The identity of the author is unknown to me. ... JDL)

1. The Post Office: Get ready to imagine aworld without the post office. They are sodeeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term.Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep thepost office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Check: Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018.It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plasticcards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This playsright into the death of the post office. If you never paid your bills by mail and neverreceived them by mail, the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper: The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. Theycertainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of themilkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it.The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper andmagazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the majorcell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book: You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your handand turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. Iwanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And thinkof the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of thebook, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, andyou forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone: Unless you have a large family and make a lot of localcalls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always hadit. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phonecompanies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge againstyour minutes

6. Music: This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry isdying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovativenew music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed andcorruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simplyself-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalog items," meaningtraditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This isalso true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topicfurther, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and thevideo documentary, "Before the Music Dies."

7. Television: Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of theeconomy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they'replaying games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spentwatching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it.

8. The "Things" That You Own: Many of the very possessions that we used to own are stillin our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in"the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music,movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install itif need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishingup their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OSwill be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something inthe Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud.. And you maypay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever fromany laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Willmost of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run tothe closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CDcase and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy: If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it wouldbe privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on thestreet, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. Butyou can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to theGPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is putinto a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. And "They"will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

19 Facts About The De-industrialization Of America:

The United States is rapidly becoming the very first "post-industrial" nation on theglobe. All great economic empires eventually become fat and lazy and squander the greatwealth that their forefathers have left them, but the pace at which America isaccomplishing this is absolutely amazing. It was America that was at the forefront ofthe industrial revolution. It was America that showed the world how to mass produceeverything from automobiles to televisions to airplanes. It was the great American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II. But now we are witnessing the de-industrialization of America.

Tens of thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone. Millions upon millionsof manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time period. The United States hasbecome a nation that consumes everything in sight and yet produces increasingly little.Do you know what our biggest export is today? Waste paper. Yes, trash is the number one thing that we ship out to the rest of the world as we voraciously blow our money onwhatever the rest of the world wants to sell to us.

The United States has become bloated and spoiled and our economy is now just a shadow of what it once was. Once upon a time America could literally out produce the rest of the world combined. Today that is no longer true, but Americans sure do consume more than anyone else in the world.

If the de-industrialization of America continues at this current pace, what possible kind offuture are we going to be leaving to our children? Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things. So if the UnitedStates continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at a staggering pace how inthe world can the U.S. continue to consider itself to be a great nation? We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain avery high standard of living, but the current state of affairs is not anywhere close to sustainable.

Every single month America goes into more debt and every single monthAmerica gets poorer.

So what happens when the debt bubble pops?

The de-industrialization of the United States should be a top concern for every man,woman and child in the country. But sadly, most Americans do not have any idea what is going on around them.

The following are 19 facts about the de-industrialization of America that will blow your mind....

#1 The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001. About 75percent of those factories employed over 500 people when they were still in operation.

#2 Dell Inc., one of America's largest manufacturers of computers, has announced plans to dramatically expand its operations in China with an investment of over $100 billionover the next decade.

#3 Dell has announced that it will be closing its last large U.S. manufacturing facilityin Winston-Salem, North Carolina in November. Approximately 900 jobs will be lost.

#4 In 2008, 1.2 billion cell phones were sold worldwide. So how many of them weremanufactured inside the United States? Zero.

#5 According to a new study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, if the deficit with China continues to increase at its current rate, the U.S. economywill lose over half a million jobs this year alone.

#6 As of the end of July, the U.S. trade deficit with China had risen 18 percentcompared to the same time period a year ago.

#7 The United States has lost a total of about 5.5 million manufacturing jobs sinceOctober 2000.

#8 According to Tax Notes, between 1999 and 2008 employment at the foreign affiliates ofU.S. parent companies increased an astounding 30 percent to 10.1 million. During that exact same time period, U.S. employment at American multinational corporations declined 8 percent to 21.1 million.

#9 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output. In 2008, itrepresented 11.5 percent.

#10 Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces theFord Ranger in St. Paul, Minnesota. Approximately 750 good paying middle class jobs are going to be lost because making Ford Rangers in Minnesota does not fit in with Ford'snew "global" manufacturing strategy.

#11 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing. Thelast time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

#12 In the United States today, consumption accounts for 70 percent of GDP. Of this 70percent, over half is spent on services.

#13 The United States has lost a whopping 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since theyear 2000.

#14 In 2001, the United States ranked fourth in the world in per capita broadbandInternet use. Today it ranks 15th.

#15 Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010than it was in 1975.

#16 Printed circuit boards are used in tens of thousands of different products. Asianow produces 84 percent of them worldwide.

#17 The United States spends approximately $3.90 on Chinese goods for every $1 that theChinese spend on goods from the United States.

#18 One prominent economist is projecting that the Chinese economy will be three timeslarger than the U.S. economy by the year 2040.

#19 The U.S. Census Bureau says that 43.6 million Americans are now living in poverty and according to them that is the highest number of poor Americans in the 51 years that records have been kept.

So how many tens of thousands more factories do we need to lose before we do something about it? How many millions more Americans are going to become unemployed before we all admit that we have a very, very serious problem on our hands? How many more trillions of dollars are going to leave the country before we realize thatwe are losing wealth at a pace that is killing our economy? How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war zones like Detroit before we understand that we are committing national economic suicide?

The de-industrialization of America is a national crisis. It needs to be treated likeone.

Author: Unknown

No comments: