JCL Blog

An American Story

Ira Glass did it again, as he has so many times, and created a must listen program about what ails the US auto makers -- particularly GM.  Anyone interested in how labor and management can conspire to create spectacular failure should invest the hour and listen.

The thing that struck me was how the union created an environment that their members did not like and that was clearly not good for the company -- all because they had the power to do so.  

A striking contrast can be found from 80 years ago during the construction of the Empire State Building.  Over 3,400 people built the iconic structure in just 410 days in a heroic but unfortunately futile race against the clock as the country spiraled into what would become the depression.  Anyone with Netflix can rent this amazing story in the PBS series on New York.  DVD number five contains the story of the Empire State Building.

I found myself standing on the top of this most famous of our American buildings this week and even though it was a weekday it was packed full of people who were willing to pay a fair amount to do the same.  It made me proud to be an American and it reassured me that the American dream is alive and well here in New York.  This city at the center of our universe was true to its heritage as the most incredible melting pot on the observation deck deck that day as the English speakers were in a distinct minority.