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Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Were the good old days really great? Were the good old days something one wants to go back to? Having been born in 1929, I have experienced a large slice of life. My first job was picking cotton on a farm outside of Winters, Texas. I think I was about 7 years old. I toted that bag all day and earned a whopping 35 cents. Yes, cents. I was so proud of myself. Today, the cotton pickers are a thing of the past here in the U.S., because someone invented a machine to harvest cotton and other field crops.

I grew up in West Texas out in the middle of nowhere. I never considered my life to be hard while growing up. Meaning, I never realized how poor we were until I was an adult. WW II brought changes. Women became the heroines on the home front while the men were sent off to the Pacific and the European wars.

In 1948 I secured a job full-time working in a small office. For six days a week earning $17.50. Yes, $17.50 for a 48 hour work week. In the space of eleven years I went from 35 cents a day to earning $1.60 a day. In this present age, this seems to be a small pittance for long hours.

In my family we never went hungry and the cost of living was much lower than it is today. I could go to a movie for ten cents and my mother made my clothes. The food costs were also very low in comparison with the prices of today. A loaf of bread was priced at ten cents a loaf and milk around twenty cents a quart. Milk could be delivered to the door.

Recently I was reminded of the low wages the people in Asia are receiving for their long hours of labor. Some receive only $1.00 a day and yes, there are children also working in the fields and factories. So-called third world countries have eyed the progress of the United States over the past hundred years and now the scales are tipping. Can I deprive them of their right to earn more? No, I do not choose to think of doing that.

China and India are the leaders of the growing outsourcing of product manufacturing and services. However, there are rumblings that these may also be in trouble. China is having a labor shortage and some reports indicate they may begin to outsource to other low wage countries. China's labor faction is demanding higher wages.
India is another country facing the same problem. And, as the line of dominos begin to topple, other third world countries will begin to rise up in the economic world.
I hear many people decry and bemoan the outsourcing and the loss of jobs. Yes, we have a high rate of homeless people and jobless people. It is a repeat of the aftermath of the Great Depression of 1929. For Americans to continue with their lifestyles there must be change. We can become too enamored with the myth that the U.S. is top dog. This is no longer the case.

The scales have tipped and now we need more innovative minds in this country to bring forth new products and new methods for producing and selling. There is an old saying, someone is always building a bigger mousetrap. Why does it have to be a mousetrap?

U.S. workers have a high standard of living and their fascination with sports, movies and television may become the method of their undoing. This can be changed by farsighted individuals who place their focus elsewhere and come up with new ideas--new inventions. It is something to think about because either we evolve, or we become sick and die. Somehow, I think evolution is the better choice.

Yes, times have changed and although I have no regrets pertaining to my childhood, I am very happy to have those days in my past. Life is an evolution and should be lived with no regrets.