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Glass House: The 1% Economy and the…
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Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town (edició 2017)

de Brian Alexander (Autor)

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1328164,807 (4.13)17
In 1947, Forbes magazine declared Lancaster, Ohio the epitome of the all-American town. Today it is damaged, discouraged, and fighting for its future. In Glass House, journalist Brian Alexander uses the story of one town to show how seeds sown 35 years ago have sprouted to give us Trumpism, inequality, and an eroding national cohesion.The Anchor Hocking Glass Company, once the world's largest maker of glass tableware, was the base on which Lancaster's society was built. As Glass House unfolds, bankruptcy looms. With access to the company and its leaders, and Lancaster's citizens, Alexander shows how financial engineering took hold in the 1980s, accelerated in the 21st Century, and wrecked the company. We follow CEO Sam Solomon, an African-American leading the nearly all-white town's biggest private employer, as he tries to rescue the company from the New York private equity firm that hired him. Meanwhile, Alexander goes behind the scenes, entwined with the lives of residents as they wrestle with heroin, politics, high-interest lenders, low wage jobs, technology, and the new demands of American life: people like Brian Gossett, the fourth generation to work at Anchor Hocking; Joe Piccolo, first-time director of the annual music festival who discovers the town relies on him, and it, for salvation; Jason Roach, who police believed may have been Lancaster's biggest drug dealer; and Eric Brown, a local football hero-turned-cop who comes to realize that he can never arrest Lancaster's real problems.… (més)
Membre:klfleury1966
Títol:Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town
Autors:Brian Alexander (Autor)
Informació:St Martin's Press (2017), Edition: Illustrated, 336 pages
Col·leccions:Read, La teva biblioteca
Valoració:****
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Detalls de l'obra

Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town de Brian Alexander

No n'hi ha cap
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» Mira també 17 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 8 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This book took me a long time to read; partially because it's been sitting in the bathroom for a few months, and partially because it is the story of a town, and has a huge cast of characters to keep track of, especially if you are reading it piecemeal in the bathroom.

I picked it up because it's set in Lancaster, OH -- not too far away from my current location of Columbus, but really, it could be any number of rural towns that used to be a hub of manufacturing and now are quietly (or spectacularly) succumbing to the opiate epidemic and the scrutiny of academics hoping to find the answer to Trump.

Most of the narrative is kept in order chronologically, but jumps between many different perspectives, including the executive boardroom, the consultant brought in to turn around the company, the factory workers, kids growing up in the town, cops, drug addicts, people who have left and people who have come back.

It's definitely more dense than the obvious comparison, "Hillbilly Elegy," and focuses more on the overall impact of the loss of manufacturing on many people throughout a rural setting, where "Elegy" focuses more on one personal narrative in the setting. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
This book will haunt me for a while. Glass House is a book about the economic collapse of my hometown of Lancaster, Ohio, like so many other small industrial towns across America. As the author recounted local history I somehow just knew as a kid, as well as some less savory bits I did not, and took the reader on a tour of local landmarks I felt a wild mix of nostalgia, sadness, and rage, knowing the devastation to come. My immediate family left before the worst came to Lancaster — the Carl Ichans and the private equity marauders and the easy heroin and the moralists who blame desperate people for just trying to get by the only way they can — but it's still my town and I take it personally that anyone would hurt the people there. ( )
  revafisheye | Jan 10, 2020 |
I'm gonna call this a "gems of a book because who knew a book about anchor hocking could be so interesting?!?! Highly recommend ( )
  marshapetry | Nov 20, 2018 |
I was drawn to this book because I teach in Lancaster, Ohio, the book's namesake. I don't live there, but I have noticed how this town is different than where I live. The author of the book is a hometown boy and interviewed literally hundreds of residents and executives to get his story. It's not much different than I surmised.

In the 1940's Forbes Magazine listed Lancaster, Ohio, as an up and coming industrial town; a bedroom community about 30 miles south of Columbus, Ohio. There were some major industrial players at that time, such as Anchor-Hocking, maker of all types of glassware from beer bottles to wine goblets, to dinner plates. Local schools were good, a hospital was built, and people were generally happy. However in the 1980's venture (vulture) capitalism hit Lancaster and several businesses closed and Anchor Hocking was sold to venture capitalists. That will happen about 11 times in the next 30 years. Each group of "investors" would only have one thing on their mind: how to extract capital from the company to pay off shareholders. There were two ways to do this: step up production or demand union concessions. The equipment at the plant was so old that production could not be stepped up. Also, cheap glass from China was available to Anchor customers. Concessions were to come from the unions. In 1980, the average glassworker made $16.00 per hour with health and retirement paid for by the company. Today, the average worker makes $9.45 per hour with no retirement and healthcare which costs the employee $300 per month; which most can't afford. Before 1980 there were 1500+ employees, today there are less than 500, and some of them temps.

Along with the devastating financial losses, comes the usual 80's crimes of the poor and unemployed: drugs, guns, children who can't perform in school. This could be the story of any American town who has been crippled by vulture capitalists. Those equity firms that controlled Anchor Hocking were brutal. For example, the advised the executives NOT to live in Lancaster, to live 30 miles away in Columbus and commute. The reason: so they would not be asked to attend and contribute to community functions.

"Corporate elites said they needed free-trade agreements, so they got them. Manufacturers said that they needed tax breaks and public-money incentives in order to keep their plants operating in the United States, so they got them. Banks and financiers needed looser regulations, so they got them. Employers said they needed weaker unions–or no unions at all–so they got them. Private equity firms said they needed carried interest and secrecy, so they got them. Everybody, including Lancastrians themselves, said they needed lower taxes, so they got them. What did Lancaster and a hundred other towns like it get? Job losses, slashed wages, poor civic leadership, social dysfunction, drugs." 320 pages, 4 stars. ( )
  Tess_W | Nov 12, 2017 |
The business of business is to make money. That's the basic premise of an economic theory advocated by the late Milton Friedman and embraced by politicians from Reagan to Trump. Investors entrust companies and corporations with money with the expectation of receiving even more money. Investor value is therefor the primary concern of businesses. It's not about producing goods and services, at least not primarily. Those are simply a means for making money. It's certainly not about creating good-paying jobs. Employees are human resources to be used as needed and discarded when not, just like any other resource. An efficient business creates as much product as it can sell while employing as few people as possible, paying them only what it must. Anything beyond that cuts into profits that could otherwise be returned to investors. Generating more money at less cost makes a business efficient. It makes it successful. It increases its value and attractiveness for even more investment. It raises the price investors can get when they want to sell their shares. It's a fairly simple idea. Investors provide capital to fund businesses in which workers create wealth, and then the investors extract the wealth beyond that necessary to maintain the business. It's a great mechanism for making money, and somehow, through the magic of the invisible hand of free market capitalism, it brings prosperity to all. Or so the theory goes.

Glass House provides a case study of how the theory has worked for Lancaster, Ohio. It's a compelling account of the Anchor-Hocking glass company, once a major U.S. producer of glassware and the lifeblood of this small city. The company has generated a lot of wealth for investors over the last half century, but there has been a cost. This is the story of those who paid it.

( )
  DLMorrese | Aug 23, 2017 |
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In 1947, Forbes magazine declared Lancaster, Ohio the epitome of the all-American town. Today it is damaged, discouraged, and fighting for its future. In Glass House, journalist Brian Alexander uses the story of one town to show how seeds sown 35 years ago have sprouted to give us Trumpism, inequality, and an eroding national cohesion.The Anchor Hocking Glass Company, once the world's largest maker of glass tableware, was the base on which Lancaster's society was built. As Glass House unfolds, bankruptcy looms. With access to the company and its leaders, and Lancaster's citizens, Alexander shows how financial engineering took hold in the 1980s, accelerated in the 21st Century, and wrecked the company. We follow CEO Sam Solomon, an African-American leading the nearly all-white town's biggest private employer, as he tries to rescue the company from the New York private equity firm that hired him. Meanwhile, Alexander goes behind the scenes, entwined with the lives of residents as they wrestle with heroin, politics, high-interest lenders, low wage jobs, technology, and the new demands of American life: people like Brian Gossett, the fourth generation to work at Anchor Hocking; Joe Piccolo, first-time director of the annual music festival who discovers the town relies on him, and it, for salvation; Jason Roach, who police believed may have been Lancaster's biggest drug dealer; and Eric Brown, a local football hero-turned-cop who comes to realize that he can never arrest Lancaster's real problems.

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