September 04, 2006

Sept. 4, 2006: #5 Labour Day Tale

Coping with the tides of globalization -- Residents of Michigan, Mexico find ways to cope with jobs lost and gained

[....] The jobs lost in Greenville when a refrigerator factory closed became jobs gained in Juarez when a new plant opened there. Juarez is poised to become one of the great manufacturing centers of the world in the 21st century. Greenville, meanwhile, is trying to reinvent itself, looking to other sources of economic activity. [....]

Mexican town turns into crucible of capitalism

[....] Crucible of capitalism in Chihuahuan desert
The Electrolux plant has done many things: It has sucked jobs from Greenville, Mich., where Electrolux closed a plant before moving here. It — and others like it — have transformed Juarez and the Chihuahuan desert into a bustling crucible of capitalism.

[....] Maquiladoras, are a magnet for workers

[....] American brands abound in Juarez

[....] American brands like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Wendy's, Costco and KFC are so generously represented that stretches of Juarez look more like America than Mexico.
One of the city's oldest landmarks is the Plaza de Toros, an old arena that still hosts bull fights as well as concerts and wedding banquets. It will soon be torn down to make way for a new Wal-Mart.

[....] With growth comes problems: Drugs and murder

At the same time, Juarez also grew as a center for the trade of illegal drugs. Drug-related shootings are common. And it became famous for the unsolved murders of hundreds of women, factory workers, their bodies left by roadsides. [....]

Michigan town feels the pain of unemployment -- finding solace in family and the land

[....] 200,000 manufacturing jobs are gone

Even in a state that has lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs since 1999 — 78,000 last year — the loss of the Electrolux plant was like a nuclear explosion, said Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

[....] Greenville will likely become a bedroom community for Grand Rapids, about 30 miles away. An aging population means growth for the regional hospital. Wal-Mart recently constructed a store west of the town. A company that makes solar panels is plotting to set up operations nearby.

[....] From $22 an hour to $7 [....]

You might be wise to start instructing your children how to raise their own food. In the article above, one family turned back to the farm for a living. Anyway, growing your own food is so much more satisfying ... to say nothing of healthier. Think of that the next time you decide to buy ready-prepared junk.

Related: This year I tried three commercially-prepared items. One was breaded shrimp. Another was fettucini alfredo and the last was a soup I was served when I was visiting. The shrimp bore no relation to the shrimp I know. The fettucini was salty pap, the cheese had only its colour and the soup was so salty I could not eat it. Is this stuff fit to feed your children?

I make my own soups from scratch and I've never had a soup as bad ... even with my poorest efforts. I buy locally and eat practically no imported food. If it grows here, I eat it, freeze it, preserve it. If a local farmer has it, that's where I buy. Making bread is easier than going to the supermarket, especially in winter. No matter how far from perfect, I have seldom had food as bad as those items supposed to make life easier; they were uniformly awful.


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