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   For a true picture of the United States economy, ride the train from New York to Washington and take a good, hard look out the window

05 Nov 2012 12:10 AM   |   35657 clicks   |   The New York Times
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Arthur Jumbles     
All manufacturing, even the stuff we outsourced, will be done by robots in a few years and small items will be printed at home using 3-D printers.

04 Nov 2012 09:51 PM
GAT_00     
For the past 30-plus years, through Republican and Democratic administrations, there has been much lip service paid to the idea that the era of big government is over. Long live free enterprise. And yet in the case of those areas surrounding the capital, wealth has gravitated to the exact spot where government regulation is created.

That's a nice Apples to Potato comparison.

04 Nov 2012 10:36 PM
phlegmmo    [TotalFark]  
de-motivational-posters.comView Full Size

04 Nov 2012 11:01 PM
NewportBarGuy    [TotalFark]  
Yes, because the future is near the railroad tracks. F*cking idiotic.

04 Nov 2012 11:11 PM
PC LOAD LETTER    [TotalFark]  
I do, and often, and it's graffitti'd up and busted industrial crap, much of which is abandoned. Or you can see the lovely slums of NJ and Philly, none of which have changed since the 70's.

If this shows me the state of the US economy, then we have been in a depression for my entire life.

05 Nov 2012 12:12 AM
Red Shirt Blues    [TotalFark]  

PC LOAD LETTER: I do, and often, and it's graffitti'd up and busted industrial crap, much of which is abandoned. Or you can see the lovely slums of NJ and Philly, none of which have changed since the 70's.

If this shows me the state of the US economy, then we have been in a depression for my entire life.


This

05 Nov 2012 12:16 AM
robogun     
I blame Busch.

05 Nov 2012 12:16 AM
moulderx1     
What's a train?



/mom?

05 Nov 2012 12:17 AM
Rindred     

NewportBarGuy: Yes, because the future is near the railroad tracks. F*cking idiotic.


Yeah, because clearly, manufacturing wouldn't require any direct access to rail transport. You can just deliver scrap iron and finished industrial products by dogsled and bicycle courier.

05 Nov 2012 12:18 AM
karl2025     

PC LOAD LETTER: I do, and often, and it's graffitti'd up and busted industrial crap, much of which is abandoned. Or you can see the lovely slums of NJ and Philly, none of which have changed since the 70's.

If this shows me the state of the US economy, then we have been in a depression for my entire life.


It's more an example of how infrastructure is preferably built on cheap land.

And that the land is cheap for a reason.

05 Nov 2012 12:20 AM
JesseL     
It's amazing how many people still believe that you can have a functional economy without basic industry. Service industries are important, but they don't create wealth.

It's arrogant to think we can just perpetually let the third world handle all the dirty work while we sit back and skim off the cream and expect the world to sit in awe of our imagined monopoly on handling all the less physical creative stuff.

05 Nov 2012 12:20 AM
Madman drummers bummers     
I've done the Northeast Corridor route more than a few times.

It's like looking down the ass crack of America.

05 Nov 2012 12:22 AM
wildcardjack    [TotalFark]  

moulderx1: What's a train?


It's what they use to haul Chinese goods from the port to your Wal-Mart distribution hub.

05 Nov 2012 12:22 AM
bindlestiff2600     
a similar view is available on the commuter train tween waukegon and chigago

05 Nov 2012 12:28 AM
russkie247     

JesseL: It's amazing how many people still believe that you can have a functional economy without basic industry. Service industries are important, but they don't create wealth.

It's arrogant to think we can just perpetually let the third world handle all the dirty work while we sit back and skim off the cream and expect the world to sit in awe of our imagined monopoly on handling all the less physical creative stuff.


Manufacturing in the US still exists, it's just increasingly automated. The only reason why any manufacturing is outsourced to Asia or other cheap areas is because of just that -- it's cheaper. The impending technological innovations in robotics and 3D printing are going to wreak absolute havoc on the economies of those countries which rely on outsourced labor from the developed countries.

Although we will see more manufacturing done within our own borders, don't expect there to be many humans involved in the process.

05 Nov 2012 12:28 AM
TomD9938     
The U.S. economy is more than 230 miles of train easement.

05 Nov 2012 12:28 AM
Blowmonkey     
My prepackaged outrage is late on arrival.

05 Nov 2012 12:29 AM
Nudge     
News Flash: It's like this near every train track. For some reason, land values around train tracks plummet...

05 Nov 2012 12:29 AM
bhcompy     
I did that riding on the Greyhound... man, New Jersey is ugly as shiat.

05 Nov 2012 12:30 AM
tb tibbles     

Rindred: NewportBarGuy: Yes, because the future is near the railroad tracks. F*cking idiotic.

Yeah, because clearly, manufacturing wouldn't require any direct access to rail transport. You can just deliver scrap iron and finished industrial products by dogsled and bicycle courier.


How about the move to trucks? Railroad sidings can not accommodate big rigs, so it's off to a larger site by the freeway. That's what happened to Berkeley's 4th Street,only that town was able to rehab it into a shopping area.

05 Nov 2012 12:30 AM
Skr     
They should really mention D.C. first thing in the article. Instead "Amtrak between New York and Washington " mentally conjured a much longer trip.

05 Nov 2012 12:32 AM
freewill    [TotalFark]  
Er, I've lived in the northeast for about seven years now, and with a few exceptions, it looks like that everywhere east of Chicago until you hit New York. They call it the Rust Belt for a reason. It's certainly not a microcosm of America, though.

05 Nov 2012 12:32 AM
FishyFred     

NewportBarGuy: Yes, because the future is near the railroad tracks. F*cking idiotic.


People love mass transit. Cities are growing faster than suburbs.

/thank you, smart growth

05 Nov 2012 12:33 AM
Cyclometh     
I took an Amtrak train to Ventura, CA last year from Tacoma, WA. It was interesting to watch the places it went.

I had some very cool discussions with folks in the dining car about how you could use the view out the window to give a distinct picture of the changes the American economy has gone through in the 20th and 21st centuries. You can see mile after mile of dliapidated warehouses, sidings no longer used and massive industrial and storage buildings going to rot, or places that are being repurposed and gentrified- hipster lofts in the old mill, that sort of thing.

But it's not about how the economy is tanking. There's a bunch of factors at play.

First, America's economy has transitioned from a nearly total industrial/agricultural base to far less industry and more service-based. As that transition occurred, the rail system became less critical to moving stuff around.

Second, most major industrial centers served by rail predate the implementation of the Interstate Highway System, which made it possible to move large amounts of goods without having to be constrained to where the trains went.

Third, the industries we do have no longer use the same type of logistics that were in play when many of these rail lines went in. You don't need to cart in and warehouse six month's worth of steel billets to make you widgets; we use totally different means of production.

Since industrial businesses didn't have to be right next to a rail yard to work any longer, and there were fewer of them overall, the fact that being next to a rail yard isn't exactly the most pleasant spot in the world to own property meant that the spaces around the rail lines began to decay.

Trying to picture the US economy by the view from a train window would be like trying to appreciate classical music by listening to just the first violin part of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

05 Nov 2012 12:34 AM
rka     

JesseL: It's amazing how many people still believe that you can have a functional economy without basic industry. Service industries are important, but they don't create wealth.

It's arrogant to think we can just perpetually let the third world handle all the dirty work while we sit back and skim off the cream and expect the world to sit in awe of our imagined monopoly on handling all the less physical creative stuff.


US is still the world's leading manufacturer and on an absolute basis ($1.8 Trillion in 2010) continues to grow. And yes, that's manufacturing here. So there is no problem creating wealth. Despite online economic experts like you find on Fark the US still maintains a huge manufacturing base.

Did you mean jobs instead of wealth?

05 Nov 2012 12:35 AM
karl2025     

Nudge: News Flash: It's like this near every train track. For some reason, land values around train tracks plummet...


They also don't build train tracks in areas with high land values for since it'd annoy rich people and it'd cost a lot to buy the land for said railroad both in pocket money and opportunity costs.

05 Nov 2012 12:36 AM
Diogenes Teufelsdrockh     
For a true picture of the United States economy...travel more of the country than ~200 miles you myopic, east urbocentric bastard.

05 Nov 2012 12:36 AM
meat0918     

Arthur Jumbles: All manufacturing, even the stuff we outsourced, will be done by robots in a few years and small items will be printed at home using 3-D printers.


Agree with the robots, disagree with the printers.

I expect that the printers will come with exorbitant prices + a hefty tax and price on the "ink".

05 Nov 2012 12:37 AM
Zombie DJ     

karl2025: Nudge: News Flash: It's like this near every train track. For some reason, land values around train tracks plummet...

They also don't build train tracks in areas with high land values for since it'd annoy rich people and it'd cost a lot to buy the land for said railroad both in pocket money and opportunity costs.


So much this!

05 Nov 2012 12:37 AM
TuteTibiImperes    [TotalFark]  
In a global economy labor is far cheaper elsewhere. Unless those who work in the manufacturing sector are willing to take jobs at the same rate of pay as the Chinese, Mexicans, or Indians or US shoppers are willing to accept large price increases in the cost of goods already manufactured overseas, the future of the economy won't be in manufacturing. This isn't a US-only problem. Japanese companies are moving production abroad as fast as they can - the cost of living in Japan and high yen make it impossible to produce much of anything for export domestically.

There will always be some domestic manufacturing, especially for advanced technology projects (Intel has a number of fabs in the US), products that are either too expensive to ship or can benefit from patriotism from being produced locally (automobiles, firearms), and items with security or IP related concerns that can't be trusted to foreign production, but overall when it comes to easily manufactured goods, especially textiles, plastics, and lower cost electronics the trend is clearly towards third world production.

That doesn't mean the economy can't grow, we just need to shift to engineering, designing, and marketing the products to create jobs, not actually building them. Yes, that means that just a high school diploma won't be competitive in the job market anymore, but that's been evident for decades.

Right next to that Amtrak line in my old home town of Newark, DE there is a shuttered Chrysler plant that is now being converted into a science, technology, and advanced research campus at the University of Delaware. The US leads the world when it comes to innovators and well rounded, talented, and capable engineers. Keeping our place as the driving force behind the world's economy and the nation with the most wealth and highest standards of living will depend on educating and preparing the young of today for the tasks that can best be done here, and that means an education that's heavily grounded in STEM, writing, and communication skills.

05 Nov 2012 12:38 AM
Clemkadidlefark     
Dumb Farking Article

Which is how the NYT has self-exterminated itself. Their Northeast-centric view of the world is so narrow, constipated and self-involved it's painful to even see their masthead.

Get a grip newstards. Get out and see the world a little. You ... are the reason for the aphorism Glass Half Empty or Glass Half Full.

05 Nov 2012 12:41 AM
bmihura     

JesseL: It's amazing how many people still believe that you can have a functional economy without basic industry. Service industries are important, but they don't create wealth.

It's arrogant to think we can just perpetually let the third world handle all the dirty work while we sit back and skim off the cream and expect the world to sit in awe of our imagined monopoly on handling all the less physical creative stuff.


What the hell is an insightful post doing in this thread?

Something less obvious: It is not so much about physical things anymore but about processing information. Google has this figured out.

05 Nov 2012 12:43 AM
Coelacanth     

Arthur Jumbles: All manufacturing, even the stuff we outsourced, will be done by robots in a few years and small items will be printed at home using 3-D printers.


And then drones will be used to cull the population.

05 Nov 2012 12:43 AM
de_Selby     

Zombie DJ: karl2025: Nudge: News Flash: It's like this near every train track. For some reason, land values around train tracks plummet...

They also don't build train tracks in areas with high land values for since it'd annoy rich people and it'd cost a lot to buy the land for said railroad both in pocket money and opportunity costs.

So much this!


Ever heard of the Main Line? Perhaps you'd like to rethink.

05 Nov 2012 12:43 AM
HotWingAgenda    [TotalFark]  
Will the next greenlight be a perspective of America's failing industries while traveling via steamboat?

05 Nov 2012 12:43 AM
Huggermugger     
Last December I took the Amtrak train from DC to NYC. It was sad seeing how poor everyone was along the route. Baltimore in particular was ghastly, and parts of that looked like slums on the outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria.

I was amazed at the volume of graffiti, and the pointlessness of so much of it. Who's the intended audience, if it's mostly only people in the trains who can see it? Are there that many gangbangers riding the rails looking for messages in graffiti?

05 Nov 2012 12:45 AM
de_Selby     

HotWingAgenda: Will the next greenlight be a perspective of America's failing industries while traveling via steamboat?


Next you'll be talking about bayonets. Rail is incredibly important to the US economy.

05 Nov 2012 12:46 AM
ArcadianRefugee     

Red Shirt Blues: PC LOAD LETTER: I do, and often, and it's graffitti'd up and busted industrial crap, much of which is abandoned. Or you can see the lovely slums of NJ and Philly, none of which have changed since the 70's.

If this shows me the state of the US economy, then we have been in a depression for my entire life.

This


This.

05 Nov 2012 12:46 AM
dbirchall    [TotalFark]  

Nudge: News Flash: It's like this near every train track. For some reason, land values around train tracks plummet...


And then developers buy the land, and build condos, and yuppies move in, and complain that the train makes noise. Never mind that the railroad was there 100 years before them.

05 Nov 2012 12:48 AM
Monongahela Misfit     

wildcardjack: moulderx1: What's a train?


It's what they use to haul Chinese goods from the port to your Wal-Mart distribution hub.


Sorry, try again. No Tracks go near Dist centers for Walmart, Sam's, Target, Macy's etc. This Nation rides on Trucks. Most Trains haul Raw Materials. Drivers like me do the rest.
You are welcome. And when You share the roads with us, Just Drive. Don't try to multi-task, JUST DRIVE.
Oh, and I'm not a perfect driver either, so watch out for me.

Back to topic, when we make it our business to support local business with laws that make it easier to stay here, then we will see growth. As long as our laws make it more difficult for local business's to compete in our home markets, and until we learn to compete globally for manufacturing jobs, They will continue to elude us.

05 Nov 2012 12:48 AM
Smeggy Smurf     
The trains would work better if the feds would get out of Dagny's way

05 Nov 2012 12:50 AM
Porous Horace     
Trains!
It's all coming true, just like in Atlas Shrugged.

05 Nov 2012 12:50 AM
UncleFriendly     

bhcompy: I did that riding on the Greyhound... man, New Jersey is ugly as shiat.


I've been living in NJ for three years, now. Most of it is lovely. Small towns with actual mom and pop shops, real community Americana feel. There are parts described in the article that are depressed, ex-manufacturing areas. They're horrendously ugly. But that's actually a pretty small portion of the state. You rode through on a bus. I'm guessing you saw the Turnpike, which is all trees for most of the trip, and then the industrial wasteland above exit 14 or so.

05 Nov 2012 12:51 AM
Lets talk frankly about internal cleanliness     

meat0918: Arthur Jumbles: All manufacturing, even the stuff we outsourced, will be done by robots in a few years and small items will be printed at home using 3-D printers.

Agree with the robots, disagree with the printers.

I expect that the printers will come with exorbitant prices + a hefty tax and price on the "ink".


I could have a Makerbot 2 in my house for less than most middle-class families spend on their washer and dryer... and it's basically that-- an appliance. Filament ("ink") is priced reasonably considering the tech is still in it's infancy (about $45/kilo).

Things tend to get cheaper as time goes on. The "I expect" part of your statement basically means "I have no idea what I'm taking about, but here's an opinion anyway."

05 Nov 2012 12:54 AM
gaspode     
Or it could be that urban land next to railway lines isn't very desirable or valuable and tends to be the last thing to get reused for attractive and positive looking things?

05 Nov 2012 12:55 AM
FizixJunkee     

JesseL: It's amazing how many people still believe that you can have a functional economy without basic industry. Service industries are important, but they don't create wealth.


Switzerland might like to have a word with you.

05 Nov 2012 12:56 AM
Jimmysolson     

Rindred: NewportBarGuy: Yes, because the future is near the railroad tracks. F*cking idiotic.

Yeah, because clearly, manufacturing wouldn't require any direct access to rail transport. You can just deliver scrap iron and finished industrial products by dogsled and bicycle courier.


Send it via email.

05 Nov 2012 12:56 AM
AverageAmericanGuy    [TotalFark]  

Monongahela Misfit: wildcardjack: moulderx1: What's a train?


It's what they use to haul Chinese goods from the port to your Wal-Mart distribution hub.

Sorry, try again. No Tracks go near Dist centers for Walmart, Sam's, Target, Macy's etc. This Nation rides on Trucks. Most Trains haul Raw Materials. Drivers like me do the rest.
You are welcome. And when You share the roads with us, Just Drive. Don't try to multi-task, JUST DRIVE.
Oh, and I'm not a perfect driver either, so watch out for me.

Back to topic, when we make it our business to support local business with laws that make it easier to stay here, then we will see growth. As long as our laws make it more difficult for local business's to compete in our home markets, and until we learn to compete globally for manufacturing jobs, They will continue to elude us.


Global realities make it difficult for some manufacturing businesses to compete. You're not talking about lowering the bar for local companies but raising the bar for foreign companies.

05 Nov 2012 12:57 AM
Haliburton Cummings     
For a true picture of the United States economy, ride the train from New York to Washington and take a good, hard look out the window take a look at your two election candidates....


ftfy

05 Nov 2012 12:59 AM
Lligeret     

PC LOAD LETTER: I do, and often, and it's graffitti'd up and busted industrial crap, much of which is abandoned. Or you can see the lovely slums of NJ and Philly, none of which have changed since the 70's.

If this shows me the state of the US economy, then we have been in a depression for my entire life.



Pretty much this.



As it turns out people don't like trains in their back yard so that area deteriorates. Same thing goes with interstates/highways, power lines, airports, harbors/seaports (actual harbors), power plants, mines, etc...It is called NIMBY.


If you are going to choose a limited portion of the country to qualify economy then someone walking through the Hamptons will claim our economy is booming. It is kind of like walking through downtown New York and claiming the rest of the country is exactly like that and overflowing with people, or walking into a back country wilderness area and assuming the rest of the country is as devoid of people.

05 Nov 2012 12:59 AM
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