Friday, August 24, 2007

The Mills Grind On

Like spiders spinning their solitary webs,
Economists sit alone in dim studies,
Tamping the dottle in briar pipes,
While they write their theories
For one another.
Casually dooming generations
To be ground up in the iron gears
Of Progress.
They never see beyond their ciphers
To the sweaty faces,
Grimy brows,
The fear, the anger
Of layoffs,
Of obsolescence,
Of globalization,
And outsourcing -- to the
Bent backs and defeat
Of real individuals.

Fathers watching the want-ads
Eating their pride
Every day.
Middle-aged managers trying
To learn new job skills,
Or to fit into a service economy
Flipping burgers.
Women paid half of what a man can make.
Like Cinderella's sisters
Cutting off toes and heels
To cram their lives into
Some economist's new glass slipper
Imagination of efficiency
In the workforce.

Unlike the thousands
Mown down like grass,
Ground like grain
By the Industrial Revolution,
These individual
Men and women are
Not of the grinding mill
Of History,
But of Economic Theory.


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