"Homes for the Homeless"

"Homes for the Homeless"

Thursday, February 04, 2010

More thoughts on the high cost of Necessities today and Economic Depressions

"Those who cannot remember the past are
condemned to repeat it."

~ Philosopher, George Santayana

The "Great Depression" happened (coincidentally) when the people started living on credit and fell deep into debt.

Another interesting history fact: Pullman created his own community and town in Chicago. He paid low wages and charged high rent to the people who lived in his town. The people were paying high costs for necessities and the economy of this town failed. Sound familiar? The consequences of Greed?

"Pullman's misfortune came during the depression which followed the Panic of 1893. When demand for Pullman cars slackened, the Pullman company laid off hundreds of workers, and switched many more to pay-per-piece work. This work, while paying more per hour reduced total worker income. Despite these cutbacks, the Company did not reduce rents for those that lived in the town of Pullman. The Pullman Strike began in 1894, and lasted for 2 months." (wikipedia)

"Pullman ruled the town like a feudal baron. He prohibited independent newspapers, public speeches, town meetings or open discussion. His inspectors regularly entered homes to inspect for cleanliness and could terminate leases on ten days notice. The church stood empty since no approved denomination would pay rent and no other congregation was allowed. Private charitable organizations were prohibited." (wikipedia)

"The U.S. economy declined in 1893-94, causing a nationwide depression. To offset any losses to his investors and himself, Pullman drastically cut productivity in his factory and reduced wages by one-third without reducing rents, utility charges, or store prices. Since he deducted rent (approximately $14 per month) before paying wages (approximately $16 per month postreduction), workers found themselves taking home scant pay for their labor, if any at all.

The press censured Eugene V. Debs for taking a stand with the Pullman workers. (CHS)

The press censured Eugene V. Debs for taking a stand with the Pullman workers. (CHS)

Soon desperate Pullman workers and their families begged the company -and Pullman himself- to reduce rents during the tight economic times, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. In spring 1894, many Pullman workers turned for help to the American Railway Union (ARU), led by Eugene V. Debs. After Pullman refused to discuss employee concerns, 90 percent of his workers went on strike on May 11. ARU was sympathetic and called for a national blockade and work stoppage against all railroads using Pullman cars. Railroad management responded by firing all ARU members." (http://www.chicagohs.org/history/pullman/pul6.html)














4 comments:

PeterAtLarge said...

Good job, Lillian? Are you planning to make this a continuing practice, like The Buddha Diaries? I hope so...

PeterAtLarge said...

Oops, that was meant to be an exclamation mark, not a question mark! Sorry about that!

LillianAbel said...

Yes Peter, These thoughts come to me and I need to publish them somewhere! Thanks for your comment!

LillianAbel said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J28tLOpzfpA