A bit extreme, eh? The printed books on the table look more inviting!
Our state (Indiana) is embroiled in a hot debate over Right-to-Work. Republicans are pushing through legislation that will weaken unions and theoretically help non-union workers and create more jobs. But I think both sides are missing the big point.
I’ve been shocked by some recent articles describing manufacturing supply-chain scenarios for major tech companies like my beloved Apple, Inc. It sure seems like its going to require huge coordinated commitments from the U.S. government, big businesses, and educational institutions to bring any serious job growth to our future.
I’m disappointed that companies like Apple have decided beforehand that U.S. workers won’t embrace change and so have gone whole-hog for an Asian-dominant vision of manufacturing. No doubt it helped propel Apple quickly to the top. By boldly embracing the Chinese vision, the iPhone prototypes received a glass screen just 6 weeks before launch in 2007, changing the tech world for the short-term future. But according to recent reports from Bloomberg, workers live in barracks and are sometimes summoned from deep sleep to be on the floor in 45min for 12hour shifts making very low wages. Some companies employ a quarter of a million employees in such conditions. That’s how there’s always a new iPhone or Android device each year. Companies get exactly what they want exactly when they want it.
If this is the price of speed in innovation, is it worth it? I don’t think RTW laws will undo this trend, unless the goal is reproducing that scenario here. But neither will out of control unions which simply centralize their own power. Leaders will have to produce a more comprehensive model with input from all the players to accomplish any lasting changes. Do any of them have the courage and will to do it? Surely recent Asian natural disasters have shown us the vulnerability of the model. Hard drives will not be cheap again for quite a while. And it’s hard to find a new Honda to purchase, for example. (Japan and Taiwan are a lot different than China, however.)
And will U.S. consumers support a transition? Would it cause inflation? And whose projections can be trusted? What role could unions play in any transition? I for one am going to be more conscious of these issues as I consider future purchases. I’ll also be listening to what politicians have to say of substance on these matters. Could it become an act of patriotism to get a carefully designed and government subsidized associates degree related to mid-level product engineering (rather than a four year professional degree) and voluntarily work really hard? If enough Americans signed up would enough companies build factories here over a two-year period while an army of people get the necessary training? Maybe then RTW could make a difference. Until something on this scale is attached I’m skeptical and concerned about workers. In the past, only war efforts have achieved this kind of coordinated effort.
More importantly I’ll be praying for myself and my nation. Only God can bring about the changes in us required for such a resurgence. And it will have to be combined with a deep repentence and reverence for God and the value of human life. The era of laws and resolutions making a huge difference is passing. Coordinated innovation on a national scale fueled by spiritual transformation could bring a new day. Apart from it, we’ll slide into mediocrity. We can’t be great apart from God.
The Church can stand strong regardless of the outcome. But I pray we keep shining light in the darkness. The gospel can bring meaning and hope despite circumstances. And I hope Christians lead the way (even older generations) to a bold future in this country.
Click the above link to a story that’s been brewing for a few years. Steve Green is an unlikely curator but the Evangelical entrepreneur behind Hobby Lobby is founding a museum. For several years he’s amassed an amazing collection of Bible manuscripts. That’s right. And he actually seems to get it, too. He wants to tell the world the story of the Bible. Not the stories IN the Bible, but the story of the emergence of the Bible itself. I’ve spent a fair amount of time reconstructing this story myself and it’s epic. Manuscripts, codices, fragments, printing presses, inquisitions, martyrs, goats, shepherd boys, heroes, villains, it’s got it all. If he tells it well, the world will be amazed. You can’t fully appreciate this holy book until you have some idea of the drama that brought it together. This is important for the whole world to see!
Green says this is a non-sectarian project. Jews, Catholics, and Protestants are all contributing and taking turns hosting this museum-on-the-move until it finds a permanent home. (My basement is available, by the way!) This is also in my top 5 ultimate field trips! I studied 8 semesters of ancient Greek and 2 of Hebrew. I love the history and story behind the manuscripts. There’s an art and science to textual criticism. I’m a complete geek for this kind of stuff!
To top it all, interesting technology will be used to display and experience The Book in its various stages and forms. When I was in Kansas City in 2007 for the M7 Nazarene conference, the Dead Sea scrolls were also in town. I saw first-hand how technology multiplies the productivity and allows anyone to get involved. After a fascinating workshop I was granted access to hi-res images of the scroll fragments, which can be opened in Photoshop and aligned. Let’s see…Dead Sea Scroll fragments, Photoshop, and my Mac! Yes I was drooling! This also allows damaged, previously unreadable fragments to be read through infrared photography! Like I said I’m a geek and I absolutely cannot wait to experience this museum. So are you up for the road trip?
I really like the new Bible.is app in the iTunes app store! It allows you to effortlessly read and listen to the Bible simultaneously. It’s free from the Faith Comes By Hearing people! You can even type notes, highlight the text and share verses on Facebook! Check out a video demo on bible.is
If you have an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch), give it a whirl!