Friday, February 27, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Today is a sad day in Denver, Colorado. The Rocky Mountain News printed its last paper and closed its doors. The paper had survived since before the Civil War but could not survive the current state of our economy and the current business mindset. It follows to the grave many other losers in many towns and many industries who have been wiped out by the wide tornadic path left by consumerism that doesn't really care where something came from as long as it is cheaper so more can be acquired and a business philosophy that focuses on quantity over quality and that is solely dictated by the bottom line and what will put the most money in the pockets of those at the top.

Obituaries are scattered across the entire country for small town hardware stores and supply houses who have been blown away by the likes of Lowests and Home Import. Casualty counts are high for small grocers, meat markets, and produce marts that have been sucked out of existence by WoeMart and it's counterparts.

When will we wake up to realize that the strength of this country's economy was built as much on an employer's loyalty to their employee and that employee's loyalty to their company as it was on any free market economic theory. Free market and trickle down only work in a society that prizes fairness, integrity, and the whole (business, local area, country) over wealth, greed, and self. Over the last several decades the gap between the average salary of a company's CEO and his workers has widened ridiculously. As indicated by the recent insurance and bank bailouts, this doesn't even require that the CEO is doing a decent(let alone good)job.

Forgetting for a moment the trillion dollars of debt in Washington and the bantering about who should or shouldn't be bailed out and what should or shouldn't be legislated, what hails down across the country are job losses and home losses in our own towns and neighborhoods.

That the storm is now causing the closing of communications industry jobs(You remember, communications and service jobs were what they told us would take the place of all our manufacturing jobs)is frightening. It is frightening in the sense that newspapers are following in the wake of radio stations where local stations were engulfed by larger affiliates and where so much of it is technologically driven that when a local crisis occurs it could take hours to reach an actual person to interrupt a broadcast that is being sent from hundreds of miles away. Without local newspapers, whether their editorial bias is liberal or conservative, we remove one of the checks and balances on local government and local business.

I agree wholeheartedly with journalist Bill Johnson who said in his final article for The Rocky, "When a newspaper dies, there are no victors."

You can read his article here.

You can read about the closing and The Rocky's history here.


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

I heard about this demise on NPR this morning. Sad.

CountryDreaming said...

Thanks for a great post. Makes me want to applaud in agreement.

I prefer to buy my groceries straight from an Amish farm, from an Amish farmer's market, or from other local farms. When I travel, I stay at Bed & Breakfast inns run by a couple or family. I buy handmade soap and other goods when possible. I am happy to pay more for the privilege to buy American.

We all have choices when it comes to spending our money. I still have a ways to go, that's for sure. But even the start I've made when it comes to shopping through the little guy just feels so much better.

George said...

Thanks for a thought-provoking post. You've given us much to think about.

Cheryl said...

I think the key is in your parenthetical note, "You remember, communications and service jobs were what they told us would take the place of all our manufacturing jobs" -- this is so very true in Victoria, too.