Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Decay of American Capitalism

(click to enlarge)

I did this drawing/painting in early 2005. I started with black and white acrylic paint, forming the basic shapes, and then added color pencil on top to really make the image. I like the effect, I think it really helped this look like a dreary, winter, northeastern day. The winter asthetic seems so fitting for subjects such as this.
The subject is a long-unused factory, located in the chain of decayed industry that forms the northeast corridor of the United States. Last time I checked, and probably for the last 20 years, it has been occupying two entire blocks, half with overgrown lots, and the other half with crumbling architecture. It is situated between other similar landscapes, and oddly, right next to residential, working-class neighborhoods. Without a doubt it provided the majority of the jobs for the nearby rowhomes, and its closure surely had an of the living conditions that can be seen throughout the area. It stands today as a monument to the contradictions of global capitalist economy: In the time of construction, factories like this represented the surperiority of american manufacturing with thier efficiency and modernization. But, in the unrelenting drive for profit, efficiency is not determined according the existing, widespread infastructure of a given area, rather, it is subject to the ever-changing working conditions of the world's masses. In this context, the established, relatively modern and efficient network of manufactuing in a given economy, for example the U.S., is easily abandoned when worker's in another country can be exploited to a higher degree, such as in hours, benefits, health, and safety. The seemingly ridiculous pattern of constantly shifting complicated production from region to region across the world, devastating communities in the wake, is an inevitable product of an outgrown system of world economy: capitalism.


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