Friday, May 7, 2010

The Railroads And The Industrial Powers

Yesterday I examined, preliminarily, the industrial powers and the railroads. But there's also the subject of the railroads and the industrial powers, involving the same parties but looking at things from the opposite point of view.

Whether they are legitimately paired or not is still up for debate. But the circumstantial evidence is at least compelling, even if after further examination the surface appearances do not lead to anything that bears up under greater scrutiny.

Still, there's this side and that side, looked at from this side. Then there's that side and this side, looked at from that side. And that's the way I want to do it today, because I'm as fair as a person can be.

Just to review, from what I can remember from yesterday, there seems to be something of a pairing, of the railroads together with the various industrial sections of our towns. Unless it's simply a coincidence that industrial sections just happen to be next to railroads and conversely railroads just happen to be next to industrial sections.

I really could wonder which came first, although I think I know the answer to that. The railroads came first, when the first engineer was looking for a job. He said, "How can I have a job as an engineer when there aren't any trains?" So the train companies set out some tracks and the railroads were born. And because the circular tracks are only good for toy trains, they extended the tracks so they would reach across the country. I remember hearing about it when I was a kid. They were so glad the tracks were in place they pounded a golden spike to celebrate it.

Then, the way I believe it, towns were formed along the railroads. And because tinkerers, cobblers, and craftsmen needed a way to get their goods to market, before the invention of the truck, they put their little shops next to the railroad line. I'm assuming it happened this way.

Later, the first industrialist, who thought about consolidating the tinkerers and cobblers, then went about buying out their interests, hiring them to work for his company, he likewise needed the railroad to move his goods. It wasn't long after that that the industrial section sprawl, all that blight that we know so well, got underway. The tinkerers were depressed and killed themselves. The cobblers fell into a vat of something and were liquefied. The industrialists crushed everyone in sight, keeping a big grin on their blasted faces.

So, we can assume the railroads were innocent enough at first, although to make money of course they needed business along the tracks besides passenger travel. So they weren't entirely innocent. In fact, we might say that innocent is the last thing they were, because if it weren't for the railroads, it's arguable the tinkerers and cobblers would still be our manufacturing base. To get their goods to market, they could've figured out some other way, maybe a pedicab, especially the cobblers.

There definitely seems to be a real synergy there between the two, the industrial powers and the railroads ... although I should have said the railroads and the industrial powers, today especially, since that's the angle I'm looking at the whole subject from. I want to keep it real.

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