STARBUCKS, MOBILE AL -I got little sleep last night with final technology glitches and coordinating trip details, but my friend Collin was nice enough to pick me up and drop me off at the subway station pretty much at the crack of dawn.
I was surprised to see the main subway station in downtown Atlanta literally covered in advertising for a new AETNA campaign. The hook? The fear of losing your job, losing your insurance. What an appropriate recession themed sendoff. Then it was down the Airport and over to the rental car lots to pick up the car.
Along the way I found several reminders of the South’s economic changes over the past decades:
Here’s the big KIA plant in S. Georgia. I’m sure the people in Detroit and Flint love seeing this thing popping out cars. They’re even expanding the plant now.
Just down the interstate from the new Kia plant, is this old shell of a mega textile factory, it’s now been empty and looking forlorn for years.
These places remind me that the South could be considered the first wave in the outsourcing jobs trend. Years ago the South started growing economically riding largely on NE companies wanting to take advantage of the lower wages and lack of labor organization – sound familiar. But eventually southern states started falling victim to the same thinking. Especially in the textile industry with jobs being exported once again to cheaper and easier to manage labor markets. This time out of the country altogether.
Almost invisible now, you have to look hard, you can still see abandoned old packhouses and barns, a reminder that just a generation or two ago, this whole area was still mainly an agricultural economy based on the family farm system (like my family). That economy is long gone now as well.
Eventually though even in the bible belt gambling,s becoming a whole other economy booster, as shown in this new gamgbing complex in AL under construction.
Poem for the Day:
Driving through inland seas
I cut cresting waves of kudzu
formed by unending coarse vine.
Blowing in the barely there breeze
and shimmering in the heat.
The wind whips up white caps
the underside of tossing leaves
fllipped all grey and white
lapping at my bumper.
ater today New Orleans, and then on to Austin tomorrow.
Best Line of the Day:
Gas Station Attendant in Satsuma, Alabama.
Attendant: “where you coming from?
Attendant: “Oh, you’re one of those big city boys.”
Best Shot of Americana:
They still love em some George Wallace in Alabam.