Friday, April 21, 2006

Graphic Artistry

One of the pleasures of writing a Daily Article for the Mises Institute is the satisfaction of having one’s article accompanied by a well-chosen graphic. However, none of my previous experiences of this kind could have prepared me for the absolutely brilliant graphic that accompanied my most recent article “Where Would General Motors Be Without the United Automobile Worker’s Union?” This is a graphic that deserves the kind of commentary usually reserved for paintings, and in fact is more deserving of commentary than are most paintings.

Consider the starting point of the graphic: the actual logo of the UAW (whose use was suggested by Jeffrey Tucker). Contrary to the intent of those who created that logo (but true to its actual meaning), its presence in conjunction with my article depicts a collection of goons linked arm to arm, in a mindless circle.

The artist—Chad Parish of the Mises Institute—has taken a liberty, however.

He’s had several of the goons detach themselves from their mindless circle to go and do some good old-fashioned union dirty work—the kind of work they do best. (Some might say that it’s the only kind of work they do. But that would be an exaggeration.) Using nothing but GM’s logo, as representing the whole actual company, he shows the goons busy at the work of destroying the company. This is communicated by their act of tearing down the logo, which looks as if it’s ready to fall. One goon is on the ground, pulling on the logo with a rope that is hooked around its top, and another is standing on top of it, in a triumphant posture, holding what looks like a rifle; or perhaps it’s only a club. A third goon is just completing his graffiti message announcing “UAW WUZ HERE” Two other goons seem to have no function. Perhaps they are included in deference to the UAW’s insistence on the employment of unnecessary workers, represented here by the employment even of unnecessary goons.

In every way, down to its misspelling of the graffiti, this graphic is an incredible visual depiction of the mentality that has decimated or destroyed one American industry after another and is now on the verge of destroying what was once the leading manufacturing corporation in the United States and in the world.

This article is copyright © 2006, by George Reisman. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and distribute it electronically and in print, other than as part of a book and provided that mention of the author’s web site is included. (Email notification is requested.) All other rights reserved. George Reisman is the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1996) and is Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics.