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Empire-Logistics and Global Supply Chains

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Here's the readings for Friday, May 8, 2015:

Read the following:

  1. Finish discussing "The Southern Auto Corridor The past, present and future of the Center of North America’s Automotive Universe" (here's the link:
  2. "Coal Train," a chapter in John McPhee's Uncommon Carriers (contact us for the attachment)
  3. Watch "Electric Nation," which shows the Black Thunder Mine in Wyoming's Thunder River Basin (the world's largest source of low-sulfur sub-bituminous coal), which begins 12 minutes into the video. It very much parallel's John McPhee's "Coal Train" chapter (here's the link:
  4. Watch this propaganda video about the mine, called "Take a Virtual Tour of Black Thunder Coal Mine" (here's the link:
  5. Watch this video about the other end of the coal route in "Coal Train,"  Georgia's Plant Scherer. It is a liberal activist video called "Youthfuel: Scherer Power Plant," which is the highest energy generating facility in North America (here's the link:

In our last discussion, we talked about manufacturing in the U.S. Whole areas have deindustrialized and bottomed out and besides the rust belt in the Midwest, some of most hollowed out central cities (while some of their suburbs may still have factories) are in places like St. Louis and Baltimore -- hence urban uprisings there. Yet the fact remains that the U.S. is still the leading manufacturing country in the world, producing $1.7 trillion worth of products per year -- the defense industry alone produces $400 billion worth. Lots of deindustrialization has occurred, but much more has shifted. The most obvious example is auto, which has shifted to the southeast US and northern Mexico (the "Auto Corridor"). Automation and rising productivity has put large parts of the population out of work, but that productivity is still the highest in the world -- and is on the rise. So, capitalist production might be racing around the planet, but here in the US it hasn't disappeared. It still competes with the world in aircraft, aerospace, defense industries, agricultural implements, food, pharmaceuticals, and other value-added technology (like nanotechnology, microprocessors, genetic engineering, and biomedical products). Not always desirable things, but still areas whose productivity leads the world -- and one side effect of the increasing use of automation is rising unemployment, as fewer workers perform more work. Here's the PBS video, "Made in the USA," which despite some pro-business boosterism has some interesting footage inside the new VW plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee:


Friday, May 8, 2015 - 19:00
Redstone Building, 2940 16th Street, 94103 more
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