For some time I have been thinking, writing, and gathering information, not necessarily in any good order, about our situation here in the US. For more than a decade I have thought that we are in a protracted crisis.
This crisis can be felt at the personal, family, local and national level in all areas of life. Some of the sources are systemic to technological change and the global dynamics of capitalism. Some find their roots in fundamental failures in humans – racism, sexism, religion, etc. Some flow from our political system, some from our economy.
The focus of this work has been to try to identify what this crisis is about within the US context, to describe it, without any real notion of even suggesting solutions.
Where Did This List Come From and Is There an Order?
I first started this list two or three years ago while we were still in the deepest part of the Great Recession. Most of the early entries related to the political system and economic inequality. As I have returned to it I have broadened the coverage of social and political topics. Most recently I have added ones that relate to the mythology underlying our approaches to life in the US.
Here is my current list of topics:
- Underperforming, expensive healthcare system
- Political system controlled by big money, private and corporate
- Distorted role of corporations
- Quasi-religious faith in “free market” capitalism
- Race, sex, ethnicity, klans….
- Myth of social mobility
- National and State Political Systems Designed to Be Anti-democratic and Dysfunctional
- 30+ year stagnation of income
- Disappearance of living wage jobs
- The rich are at their feeding troughs
- Expensive, underperforming K-12 educational system
- Expensive, underperforming higher ed system
- Web access and infrastructure
- Homelessness and poverty
- Bloated, dysfunctional global military and empire
- Our longest war – the war on drugs
- Criminal justice system – aka the judicial-incarceration gulag
- Persistent income disparities
- Super rich vs. everyone else
- Intrusion by organized religion into government and politics
- Energy policy focused on consumption instead of efficiency
The rumors about etsy.com locating a new office in Hudson have been floating about for some time. Yesterday, Rob Kalin, the founder of etsy.com, placed this notice on our local business listserv.
Please allow me to humbly introduce myself. I know many people here already, and hope to know many more. I’m the founder & CEO of Etsy (www.etsy.com), which I started 6 years ago in my apartment in Brooklyn. My family is from New York (from Tarrytown up to Syracuse), and I’ve spent many a night in a lean-to amongst the Catskills.
Etsy currently employs 175 people, most of them in our Brooklyn office. As we continue to grow, it makes a lot of sense to me to open up an office in Hudson. I love the town, we found an incredible building (thank you Chris at the Cannonball Factory, and Theresa at Keystone for helping), and as everyone here knows — better than I do, I’m sure — there are so many great people. Denis at 711 is helping us with desks, too.
I started Etsy to create opportunities in the world — for myself, for small business owners, for people who make things, people who find things, and more. I love that we are be able to bring jobs to Hudson. Right now we’re working to get things setup. (As of this email, the building doesn’t even have heat! But that’s happening quickly.) Our plan is to start with customer support positions, and grow from there.
Etsy HQ will remain in Brooklyn, and I hope to grow our Hudson office to 50 employees or more. Jobs at Etsy come with a salary, benefits (medical, dental, vision) paid for in full by the company (including family plans). We’ll be posting actual job descriptions soon. If someone you now is interested, feel free to email me directly.
Our plan is to grow things at a measured pace, so we’re not really broadcasting anything yet. This email is probably the most public statement I’ve made so far. I’m happy to answer any q’s via email, and thanks for reading.
I hope to see you ’round,
This is great news for Hudson. How do we get the word out to more entrepreneurs in Brooklyn about the opportunities for them in Hudson?
Mayor Scalera’s commentary, “Naive or delaying LWRP passage?” in today’s Register Star requires some comment. Here are my comments posted on the Register Star website.
First, Mayor Scalera mis-characterizes the potential uses of the waterfront as “recreational boating and perhaps some limited shipping….”. In fact, from my perspective, and from all of the people I have heard talk about the waterfront, the uses included recreational boating, cruise operations, hotel, restaurants, retail shopping stores, galleries, and more. These uses fit into a larger picture that the future of jobs in Hudson is tied to the extension of the city as an arts, antiques, entertainment, and history destination. This job creation engine has a track record in the city and an obvious future for growth with the addition of the waterfront as part of the overall destination package.
The problem is that none of that is possible with a large scale industrial use cheek and jowl with the rest of the waterfront. The choice we are facing is a trade off between a limited number of seasonal jobs hauling gravel (it was reported elsewhere in today’s Register Star that Calarusso only operates during non-winter months) or developing the track the city has been on for the past 10 to 15 years, becoming a destination for those interested in arts, antiques, entertainment, food and history. I want to place my bet with that development path.
A second point might be to point out that Mayor Scalera went to lengths to point out the Open Space Institute and Scenic Hudson would not support an eminent domain taking. That is not the only way in which those organizations might be involved. A simpler path is the old-fashioned one of buying the land in question.
As someone who has only lived in Hudson for a year and half of the twenty three years of the LWRP process, it seems wise to continue to get the policies right even at the cost of a bit more time.