JAMILA WIGNOT—The accounts and photos, along with comments by contemporary historians, also help bring out the inhuman working conditions that led to the fire. The women worked 14-hour shifts on the 8th and 9th stories of a building at the corner of Greene Street and Washington Place in lower Manhattan (while the owners, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, Russian-born Jewish immigrants themselves, sat above them on the 10th floor) for $2 a day. Because it was a shirtwaist (women’s blouse) factory, rags and other highly flammable material littered the floor.
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JOEL KOVEL—I expect that many will find the views of The Enemy of Nature too one-sided. It will be said that there is a hatred of capitalism here which leads to the minimization of all its splendid achievements, including the “open society,” and its prodigious recuperative powers. Well, it is true that I hate capitalism and would want others to do so as well. Indeed, I hope that this animus has granted me the will to pursue a difficult truth to a transformative end. In any case, if the views expressed here seem harsh and unbalanced, I can only say that there are no end of opportunities to hear hosannas to the greatness of Lord Capital and obtain, as they say, a more nuanced view. Nor is hatred of capital the same, I hasten to add, as hating capitalists, though there are many of these who should be treated as common criminals, and all should be dispossessed of that instrument which corrupts their soul and destroys the natural ground of civilization.
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PATRICE GREANVILLE—As previously said, measuring all economic and societal “success” by a corporate yardstick of constant growth, capitalism suffers from a compulsion to expand infinitely in what is clearly a very finite and ailing world, thereby betraying in its dynamic something akin to systemic madness. Expansion at all costs is fueled by a well-developed culture of ‘short-termers”—the notion of a true capitalist statesman is an oxymoron—and a self-perpetuating, self-selecting, macho executive sociology according to which career advancement is only possible on the basis of–again–constant growth, plus aggressive competition in the boardroom jungle.
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Revisiting History—By Iris H. W. Engstrand (First published on Feb 19, 2010) Beware…
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By Lorna Salzman THIS IS A PRESCIENT POST THAT SHOULD BE READ…