America’s fault line

Two stories from the blackout:

A store owner in Detroit set up barbecue grills and spent the day grilling all the meat in his store and giving it away to the hungry and elderly in his neighborhood.

Northwest Airlines refused to assist its customers stranded by the blackout in finding and paying for hotel rooms.

One single comment

  1. Will Miner says:

    A wonderful juxtaposition.

    The Detroit store owner runs a venture that he probably at least partly owns. He’s probably only in one location, and so he probably knows the community he lives in and the people he shares it with.

    Northwest is a behemoth with very long tentacles, reaching out across the globe, employing too many people. Nobody really owns it — just a lot of small slivers of ownership in a million peoples’ 401(k) plans. Nobody can really guide such a thing. And because it does not exist in any place and with any specific people, it can only know and understand itself in such way as it can be represented in a financial ledger book. All of this is abstract, and so it is hardly a surprise that in an emergency it responds to its customers, its supposed community, in a financially efficient, but abstract and inhuman way.

    But, hey, we’ve all got 401(k) plans now, so we all depend on this efficiency. Who can knock it anymore? But let’s keep trying.

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