Over the years, I’ve read many types of magazines from gossip rags to National Geographic. I read Teen Magazines to follow what The Beatles were up to. Then cried at the tearjerkers in Reader’s Digest when visiting grandpa who had no tv.
Believe it or not, the most significant ones I ever read were My Weekly Reader in 6th grade. I was 11 years old when I read two different stories from it that stuck with me. I’m now 67, so obviously they made a rather big impression on me.
The first article was about the progress of robotics in manufacturing. I grew up in a Detroit suburb. Therefore, it wasn’t unusual for a kid like me to have 5 uncles and a dad who worked in factories that either made cars or parts for cars. Plus one uncle who worked for U.S. Steel. Robotics was touted as a dream come true for The Big Three. Yet, my young inquisitive mind focused on the bigger picture. That was, job security. If robots were to do the work of 20 men. Then what would the 20 men do?
The next conundrum I had with Weekly Reader was another article about the progress of industrialization. Many new factories were being built along rivers of cities big and small. In Gary, Indiana it was steel mills. In Atlanta and Cincinnati it was paper pulp mills. Again, just as the job retention issue bugged me about robotics, environmental pollution was my concern for our rivers. They say at one time the Detroit River was so full of sludge you could walk across it to Canada.
In a way, I guess I was simply before my time. My continued perplexity over these issues is, why did it take decades for the nation to recognize these were problems effecting our future? But mostly, why didn’t I do something?