Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Donna B.

I'm headed over to TPM to read, and may have more comments later. But before I go, I'd like to say that a lot of the problems unions currently have stem from not representing workers' best interests much better than corporations do. I say this from long personal experience being the spouse of a union member.

Second, the lack of an economic class consciousness and a failure to resent the rich is an old and deep cultural thing in some parts of the country. It partly stems from the almost harsh individualism the Ulster Scots brought here with them, that idea that riches did not make a man better, thus there was nothing to be jealous of.

To overlook how the Republicans understood and played into that part of the cultural psyche in the "red" states would be another "values" misinterpretation.


Fascinating perspective, Donna, thank you.

Richard Lawrence Cohen

Great quotes, Amba, thanks as always.


I'm headed over there to read as well, this sounds interesting.

Tony B

Don't you even see the problem with going to take an economics course in order to defend your position? Wouldn't most people take an economics course, then use what they've learned to ARRIVE at a position?


Actually, Tony B, I didn't take a position. Look again. I'm not "defending" anything; I'm too ignorant to have anything to defend. I said precisely that I would need to take an economics course to ARRIVE at a position. I'm just pointing people to the discussion, hoping some of them are more knowledgeable and can enlighten me. Can you?


Since I don't have time to take an economics course.


I just wish that we could find some middle ground between the unions' "we want everything and we don't care if it would kill the company" and the corporate "we want to screw you as much as we can and take all the money for ourselves" stance.

Frankly the amount of time, money, and effort, not to mention bad feelings that are generated by this kind of war are counterproductive. Unfortunately, human nature and greed being as it is, it is difficult if not impossible to avoid.

If our culture didn't have quite as much of a "screw the poor" attitude - perfectly represented in our current administration - I think we would have a lot more productive society. Though I'm not generally one to reminisce over past golden years, I think this past generation or so the work ethic that made America great has degenerated into the sloppy laziness of a couch-potato culture. I think China and India, though they have major challenges, are well poised to become the superpowers of this century. A recent CNN cartoon shows that off really well...

I had never thought about it that way before, but I agree that the "I could get outta here by winning the lottery" lie is partly what keeps the poor from complaining about their lot as much. That and ignorance, poor education, etc. The republicans definitely want to maintain the status quo though...they wouldn't want the unwashed masses to join them in their posh country clubs. And if everyone had a Lexus, it just wouldn't be as special, now would it?


We need a whole new type of unionism. The free market only works if everyone plays by the rules. When companies start exploiting workers, the system fails. So what stops the exploitation? Not government. It's knowledge.

And it's knowledge that should be new union's business. Bargaining for pensions and salaries and healthcare and all that is no longer an effective means to improving the lot of workers. For one, unions actually won almost all the battles for shorter hours, healthcare, savings plans --- they won so completely that most non-union workers now get those benefits standard. So unions are left with haggling over the dollar amount. Not inspiring stuff.

But if unions rethought their approach, there is a lot of room for progress. In addition to being that base of knowledge, they could help create a system of job fluidity. Instead of striking, dissatisfied workers could look to the unions to help them get new jobs or even new skills.

This is both less confrontational and less stressful for all parties involved. Plus, if unions could present themselves as a partner instead of an adversary to companies, these companies might in turn stop so strongly opposing unions and fighting to stop unionization.

Well, it's an idea.

Jonathan Cortis

RE Update II:

Calloused hands produce results. If everyone went to college, and no one drove a truck, how would we get our food and designer clothes? If everyone embarked in the world of business and made millions, who would be at the store to sell us our goodies? If everyone became an expert in global communications and business relationships, who would repair our power lines when lightning struck.

The argument is always that "the working class brought this on themselves." Well it is the working class which makes our country's lifestyle possible. Those who make our lives possible deserve to be able to feed and shelter their family.

Tony B


You're right. I misread the post. My apologies. If you don't have the time to take an econ course, I would suggest reading Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. But again, I apologize for my earlier comment.


The real foe of the working class is developing nations and globalization. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon how you view that, it is largely irreversible.

The availability of incredibly cheap labor in China and other places has been providing downwards pressure on American wages for decades. It is nearly impossible in some industries for an American company to provide a reasonable wage and be competitive with imports, and the trend is increasing and expanding into new industries, many in the tech sector.

I do not see any easy solution. Isolationism would maybe work for a time, but is not a good idea on many levels. Import tariffs could help as well, but again, many problems.

Probably the best and only long-term solution is to encourage the growth and modernization of these low-wage provider countries, so that they end up having upwards wage pressure, and eventually catch up with us. Very long term proposition, but the only real workable one.

Other more short-term assists are to pressure nations with illegal or harmful labor practices to reform, and to get China to untie its currency from the US dollar.

And finally, we also need to far more strongly encourage higher education than we have been. The jobs available to those with only a high school degree or less are declining in both number and wages, and will continue to do so indefinitely. As other nations are improving their education systems, America, with one of the worst systems in the developed world, continues to decline.


Superb comments, Jonathan, Sleipner, and Alan. This is so important to be thinking about. It goes way beyond politics, although whoever can begin to solve it will benefit politically.. I wonder if there is a new generation of union leaders and labor activists who are flexible enough to meet some of these challenges.

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