Scrappers, by Steve Bennish, documents the disaster of our economic & trade policies.
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From Thriving To Barely Surviving: Our Lost Manufacturing Generation

Steve Bennish writes about business & economics for the Dayton (OH) Daily News. He’s also the author of a book called ‘Scrappers: Dayton Ohio and America go to scrap.’

It is a sobering, disgusting, gut-wrenching thing to see – the photographic documentation of the rendering of our middle-class manufacturing base to scavengers. It’s not easy to look at. And you should buy this book.

But don’t buy it because you want to support Steve – surely, it’s a brilliant book, and he deserves the support for having done it – but to share it with anyone and everyone that’ll listen to the truth about what we’ve allowed to happen.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to Ground Zero of what’s been done to our country in the name of hyper-globalization and unbridled free trade.

Scrappers is to be shared with every business colleague, boss, friend, and acquaintance you know.

Scrappers is to be shared with anyone and everyone you know.

For the record, I don’t ‘know’ Steve directly. But he is one of the many acquaintances I’ve come to know through social media. I can attest to his passion and support for manufacturing. I’ve known of him for longer than that though, since I became familiar with his work while living in Southwest Ohio. We’ve been connected through Twitter for some time, and I highly recommend that you do too (his Twitter handle is @OhioJobsWatch).

But nothing prepared me for the stark, raw imagery that ‘Scrappers’ brings to the manufacturing debate. I don’t care if you live in the rust belt & close to this disgrace, or if you don’t – what you and everyone should see is in the eyes of these people. I can’t stop thinking about them.

Lost dignity.

Embarrassment.

Hopelessness.

Nothing.

Part of what I try to do is to monitor and report on manufacturing trends in the US and around the world. I know many manufacturers, read many articles, follow many trends, and try to lend my voice where and when I can to the cause.

But in all those pundits, articles, trends, and even my own work, I see much less value than I did before I saw this book. The debates around reshoring, skills shortages, trade deficits, and politics seem important to us these days, but they aren’t helping these people. They just seem like vapor to me now. It all seems like we’re just whistling past the graveyard.

Yeah. This book is that powerful.

To quote Steve, ‘It is a full on disaster, and there are not enough people in positions of power who are willing to tell you that.’

We may not see Steve’s work set the fire it should. You’ll likely pass this over, and move on to the WSJ or the latest regional Fed report. Or just go back to work. And each of those things would be a damned shame.

Because seeing this book has made me mad as hell, and helped me to see clearly exactly where and how I’ve fallen short. Where we’ve fallen short. How we’ve been sold a bill of goods.

And it should do the same to you.

Just buy the book: On Amazon (Kindle) | On Blurb (soft cover, PDF, & e-book) | On iTunes | Google Play (for Android)

AJ Sweatt
Website
8 Comments
  1. Ran across an article last week; back of the napkin calculation would suggest that roughly 1 in 6 houses in Dayton are abandoned / condemned. That’s staggering commentary on our recent history.

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/local/city-remains-knee-deep-in-more-than-7000-abandoned/nXTkb/

  2. I’ll look for that book A.J. Back in the 1970’s Whenever I would get laid off by the steel mills, I would supplement my Unemployment and sub-pay by going out and picking up mufflers and other assorted scrap laying around the countryside. Now, People go in and rip out wiring, plumbing, HVAC. I understand the motivation for ‘scavenging’ but breaking into others property is not the same as picking up discards under bridges and along roads… very sad that this is becoming an American way of life…

    • It is sad, Miles. Breaks my heart. What’s worse is that Steve’s found that folks that would never think of this behavior 10 years ago must do this now to survive. Despicable.

  3. A worthwhile book that explores the same general territory is “Detroit: An American Autopsy” by Charlie LeDuff. Thanks, AJ, for telling us about Mr. Bennish’s book – I will get it.

  4. AJ:

    I’m sure you’ve already seen this but this speaks to all of us Industrials at heart.

    https://vimeo.com/20789680

    J

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