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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

234 The Squeeze: The Underground History of Amercian Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

The Squeeze 

Of course when you cheat people good you start to worry about your victims getting 
even. David Gordon's 1996 book Fa? and Mean: The Corporate Squeeze of Working 
Americans and the Myth of Managerial Downsizing catches the spirit of the national 
guilty conscience this way: 

Can't trust your workers when left to their own devices? Peer over their shoulders. Watch 
behind their backs. Record their movements. Monitor them. Supervise them. Boss them. 

Above all else, don't leave them alone. As one recent study observed, "American 
companies tend, fundamentally, to mistrust workers, whether they are salaried employees 
or blue collar workers." 

And American schools tend, fundamentally, to mistrust students. One way to deal with 
danger from the middle and bottom of the evolutionary order is to buy off the people's 
natural leaders. Instead of killing Zapata, smart money deals Zapata in for his share. 
We've seen this principle as it downloaded into "gifted and talented" classrooms from the 
lofty abstractions of Pareto and Mosca. Now it's time to regard those de-fanged "gifted" 
children grown up, waiting at the trough like the others. What do they in their turn have 
to teach anyone? 

David Gordon says 13 percent of U.S. nonfarm workers are managerial and 
administrative. That's one boss for every seven and a half workers! And the percentage 
of nonteaching school personnel is twice that. Compare those numbers to a 
manager/worker ratio of 4.2 percent in Japan, 3.9 percent in Germany, 2.6 percent in 
Sweden. Since 1947, when the employment-hierarchy egg laid during the American Civil 
War finally hatched after incubating for a century, the number of managers and 
supervisors in America has exploded 360 percent (if only titled ones are counted) and at 
least twice that if de facto administrators — like teachers without teaching programs — are 
added in. All this entails a massive income shift from men and women who produce 
things to managers and supervisors who do not. 

What does this add up to in human terms? Well, for one thing, if our managerial burden 
was held to the Japanese ratio, somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million production 
level jobs could be paid for. That would mean the end of unemployment. Totally. An 
economy arranged as ours is could not tolerate such a condition, I understand. Let me 
disabuse you next of any silly notion the pain of downsizing is being spread out by an 
even-handed political management, touching comfortable and hard-pressed alike. While 
it is true, as James Fallows says, that the media pay disproportionate attention to 
downsizing toward the top rungs of the occupational hierarchy, the sobering facts are 
these: from 1991 to 1996 the percentage of managers among nonfarm employees rose 
about 12 percent. For each fat cat kicked off the gravy train, 1.12 new ones climbed 
aboard. All this is evidence not of generosity, I think, but of a growing fear of ordinary 

Is this all just more of the same scare talk you've heard until you're sick of it? I don't 
know; what do you make of these figures? From 1790 until 1930 America incarcerated 
50 people for every 100,000 in the population; for 140 years the ratio held steady. Then 
suddenly the figure doubled between 1930 and 1940. The Depression, you say? Maybe, 
but there had been depressions before, and anyway, by 1960 it doubled again to 200 per 
100,000. The shock of WWII could have caused that, but there had been wars before. 
Between 1960 and 1970 the figure jogged higher once again to 300 per 100,000. And 400 
per 100,000 by 1980. And near 500 per 100,000 where it hovers at the new century's 

Has this escalation anything to do in a family way with the odd remark attributed by a 
national magazine to Marine Major Craig Tucker, of Ft. Leavenworth's Battle Command 
Training Program, that "a time may come when the military may have to go domestic"? I 
guess that's what he was taught at Ft. Leavenworth. 

Wendy Zeigler/Amy Halpern 

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