”…The foundation of blue-collar America have all crumbled. Global competition, first from Japan and now from almost everywhere, has transformed manufacturing. Even shop-floor workers are expected to work with their brains as well as their hands, as flexible production replaces mass production. …In fact, the golden age of blue-collar man was the product of a peculiar set of circumstances, when Europe and Japan were on their backs, mass-production ruled in the factories and a small number of companies could dominate the American economy.
… those blue-collar workers bear much of the responsibility for their own fate. This is particularly true in the car industry, which tended to set the pattern for much of the rest of the American economy. Trade unions frequently hampered their industries with rules that blocked more flexible and productivity-boosting manufacturing techniques…
… But there is still hope for blue-collar workers as long as they are willing to learn from the calamity that is General Motors. Plenty of manufacturing companies, even carmakers, have flourished at a time when General Motors has floundered…”
Lexington. Blue-collar America. The Economist. June 6th-12th 2009. Pp 46. Ed. The Economist Newspaper Ltd.