The Long Walk, Windsor, c.1858 by Roger Fenton
Cover image of Wanderlust: A History of Walking
Excerpt from Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit, published by the Penguin Group, 2000:
"The multiplication of technologies in the name of efficiency is actually eradicating free time by making it possible to maximize the time and place for production and minimize the unstructured travel time in between. New timesaving technologies make most workers more productive, not more free, in a world that seems to be accelerating around them. Too, the rhetoric of efficiency around these technologies suggests that what cannot be quantified cannot be valued - that that vast array of pleasures which fall into the category of doing nothing in particular, of woolgathering, cloud-gazing, wandering, window-shopping, are nothing but voids to be filled by something more definite, more productive, or faster paced. Even on this headland route going nowhere useful, this route that could only be walked for pleasure, people had trodden shortcuts between the switchbacks as though efficiency was a habit they couldn't shake. The indeterminacy of a ramble, on which much may be discovered, is being replaced by the determinate shortest distance to be traversed with all possible speed, as well as by the electronic transmissions that make real travel less necessary. As a member of the self-employed whose time saved by technology can be lavished on daydreams and meanders, I know these things have their uses, and use them - a truck, a computer, a modem - myself, but I fear their false urgency, their call to speed, their insistence that travel is less important than arrival. I like walking because it is slow, and I suspect that the mind, like the feet, works at about three miles an hour. If this is so, then modern life is moving faster than the speed of thought, or thoughtfulness."
Sign seen on 57th Street between
Park and Lexington Avenues in NYC
From an article titled Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs by Peter S. Goodman in the February 20, 2010 edition of The New York Times:
"Some labor experts say the basic functioning of the American economy has changed in ways that make jobs scarce - particularly for older, less-educated people like Ms. Eisen, who has only a high school diploma.
Large companies are increasingly owned by institutional investors who crave swift profits, a feat often achieved by cutting payroll. The declining influence of unions has made it easier for employers to shift work to part-time and temporary employees. Factory work and even white-collar jobs have moved in recent years to low-cost countries in Asia and Latin America. Automation has helped manufacturing cut 5.6 million jobs since 2000 - the sort of jobs that once provided lower-skilled workers with middle-class paychecks.
"American business is about maximizing shareholder value," said Allen Sinai, chief global economist at the research firm Decision Economics. "You basically don't want workers. You hire less, and you try to find capital equipment to replace them."
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