You probably heard the news from yesterday, about how a badly-timed strike has caused the 82-year-old Hostess company to shut down, probably forever. No more Twinkies, Ding-Dongs, Ho-Hos or Wonder Bread – unless somebody else buys the rights to those products and starts making them.
I haven’t eaten any them lately; even before I was diagnosed with diabetes I avoided them most of the time, knowing they aren’t the healthiest things to snack on. No doubt Michelle Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be rejoicing for the same reason. Still, as someone who knows first-hand how bad the economy is these days, I have to feel sorry for the 18,300 workers who just lost their jobs.
We used to joke about how Twinkies can last indefinitely, and you may have seen the webpages that showed experiments on the snack cake’s endurance. Well, they may survive a nuclear holocaust, but it turns out they can’t survive bad economic/labor practices. If you ever wanted evidence that labor unions have outlived their usefulness, you’ll find it when they no longer benefit the public or the workers they claim to represent – only themselves.
A few years ago, Jared Diamond, an ecologist-turned-historian, wrote that five things can cause a civilization to fall: environmental damage, changing climate, loss of trading partners, hostile foreigners, and stupidity. If all a civilization has to face is one of the first four challenges, it will probably survive, and may come out of it stronger than before, as Rome did after vanquishing Carthage. On the other hand, if you combine any of the first four with stupidity, heaven help those people! I may be stretching the analogy, but it looks like we have a case of trade breakdown combined with stupidity here.