Wake up, America! Bring back industry
``Every business is in the business of making money.'' This is the shortsighted thinking behind the problem. It used to be five- to 10-year plans, then quarterly, now it's almost daily performance to keep a favorable Wall Street image.
Result: cooking up books, corporate moves to tax-free havens, ruthlessly discarding the most valuable ``human assets,'' moving overseas, so on and so forth.
About 25 years ago when computer technology was still in its infancy, the common feeling was that in the future we would have only high-paying, highly technical and service-oriented jobs, whereas all the manufacturing jobs would move to Third World countries. The fact is, today manufacturing jobs are being exported but so are the high-tech jobs. If this trend continues, we will have only two job categories: the highly paid traders called business executives and the very low-paid restaurant and cleaning workers.
Nations that depend on trading only and have no industrial base are gravely insecure in the world. The real power and prosperity of people come from a strong industrial and technical base.
The present trend will quickly wipe out the middle class, leaving a few very rich and the majority very poor. We must learn from other countries where such situations exist, mostly autocratic regimes. Democracy can survive only when the masses are satisfied with their financial means.
What can we do? Wake up! We must participate in the political process to maintain the checks and balances for the preservation of the industrial base. No more inefficient monopolies, no more manipulation by special interests, no more corrupt business executives. The system must give an exemplary punishment.
Let's bring America back to innovation, its industrial strength and its true democratic, humane and moral base.
I am not suggesting protectionism or isolation. We should participate in global business. We can use technological superiority to manufacture high-quality products at competitive costs.
Transition to green is not an easy task
With regard to the Feb. 23 Viewpoint, ``Environment serious to the industry, too,'' I am heartened to see both a review of the Global Plastics Environmental Conference and a call for more environmental action.
While most people are in agreement that environmental stewardship is important and desirable, it is not so easy for companies to initiate changes that will lead to improved environmental performance and cost-savings.
It is clear that more needs to be done. Perhaps Plastics News can run some features on companies that have been successful in implementing green programs, from companywide recycling programs to green buildings and new technologies that create jobs. This will promote a positive spin on the issue so companies and employees can work with enthusiasm toward a goal that will benefit us all.
Conor P. Carlin