So Third World!

My first inkling that something was going very wrong happened whilst I was attending a professional meeting deep in the bowels of a professional hotel. I and some other attendees were joking about how we were roaming the room, looking for active bars on our Androids and I-phones. An international attendee walked up to us and showed us his phone…all bars were active.

During a recent trip, my team was kept waiting at Chicago’s O’Hare airport for 2-1/2 hours because the (major ) airline could not find the flight crew. We missed our connecting flight and, after haggling 1-1/2 hours with ticket agents that seemed both a) confused and b) distracted by personal conversations having to do with, from what I could tell, who was being unfaithful to whom, we were finally informed that there were no more seats on connecting flights for that day. We rented a car and drove to our destination (6-hours overnight).

On a recent trip to South America, my spouse and daughter took an american airline to their international airport connection on the East Coast. The flight was late and they missed their connecting flight (same airline). Again, for hours, disinterested ticket agents did everything except find them a solution but, finally relented and agreed to put them on a LAN Chile flight.

Once on the LAN flight, the service was perfect, the food and beverage services were great and everything worked. In fact, they flew all over S. America on LAN Chile, while subjected to efficient airport security, on-time flights, comfortable travel conditions and polite and efficient service.Plus, the airfares were cheap by comparison to what we pay here in the U.S. A group of Australian tourists in S. America remarked to my wife, “Oh, everybody the world over knows to stay away from the American airlines”.

Upon hearing my family’s stories’, I looked up LAN on the internet: their profits were up 50%, last year. I also found a site that rated airlines: only one U.S airline (JetBlue) made the top-10 and the rest hailed from Asia and the Middle East.

In addition, no matter where my family happened to be…in the Amazon, in remote villages or between cliff faces in the Andes, they had perfect cell phone reception and an a plethora of active Wifi hotspots. I can’t even get that in the upscale Chicago suburb where I live.

I look around and I see roads falling apart, shuttered stores, a service economy staffed by desultory people (unless they are immigrants) and the cost of goods and services skyrocketing as quality falls. In Chicago and all over the U.S., gangs steal air conditioners and utility wires from homes and rail road ties from active railroads for their scrap metal value. In Chicago and other American cities, flashgang mobs emerge to brutalize people and rob retail outlets in the nicer parts of town (like Rio de Janeiro ).

What happened? How did we become so Third World?

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  • Michael Adams

    A fish rots from the head.

  • Kirk Strong

    Unions and Socialism happened.
    Remember the slogan from Soviet Russia?  “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.”

  • Ymarsakar

    Engineered crises. They tend to pile up when you let it.

    America is basically like decadent Rome. The powerful and rich live it up, while ignoring the fact that the Empire around them is falling piece by piece. So long as it was the borderlands and so long as it reached Rome, everything was peachy. Up until Rome itself was besieged and taken over, at least.

  • Ymarsakar

    The elites and job safety unions, including airlines being bailed out, no longer have to change their views. They live in an echo chamber because they can afford to. It’s expensive in the chamber. It takes other people’s money, not just their own money. And there’s plenty of other people’s money for the LEft to launder and redistribute to unions, airlines, GE, GM, etc.

  • Libby

    I would think that it is a combination of a myriad of government regulations, union guidelines, as well as a slim profit margin (especially with gas prices), and that pleasing customers has come in a distant fourth in their priorities. I’d be curious to see if LAN Chile has unionized employees and how heavily they are regulated compared to the US airline industry. Our current legislators (over the last few decades) seem to believe that every time something bad happens – a plane crash, a serious delay on the tarmac – there needs to be more regulation (i.e. micro-management) to eliminate it, such as the push for Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights, or regulatinh how much airlines can charge for baggage. Sadly, this happens in all areas of life, not just the airline industry.

  • Ymarsakar

    At this rate, under a 100 years, the US will become a UN totalitarian regime that will use its power to crush all dissent across the world.

    Something from Williamson’s Freehold, actually.

  • jj

    Danny – you forgot one: even if you could get internet everywhere in the country, it would only be the 18th fastest on the planet.  We invented the internet, we have – effortlessly, by a mile – the crappiest service in the first world.

  • Charles Martel

    Danny, before you get all fired up about LAN, may I remind you of several things?



    —Tax cuts for the wealthy.

    —The Jews run U.S. foreign policy.

    As you can see from my careful listing of bogeymen, I have refuted your assertion that LAN’s success is anything other than the exploitation of the Chilean working class under the brutal heels of rich Republicans controlled by Jewish overlords.


    Danny, you are not the only one asking questions today.
    The Broward Sheriff’s Office says 30-year-old Nelson Santiago stole around $50,000 worth of electronics over the past six months from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Terminal 1.
    The question nobody wants to ask, even though it’s the obvious one, is this:  If a TSA employee can open up bags and steal iPads and other electronics, then successfully get them out of the terminal without getting caught to fence/sell after committing the act, he can also get a bomb in through exactly the same procedure and put it in your bag, blowing you and everyone else on that plane to bits.

  • Gringo

    One of the biggest investors in LAN-Chile used to be President Sebastian Piñera. He sold his stake in LAN-Chile after being elected President. He bought low, and sold high.

  • Charles Martel

    SADIE, don’t worry your pretty little head. The best and brightest (some of them Harvard grads!) are working for us 2, 4, even 6 hours a day in federal offices all over the country thinking of better ways to protect us from six-year-old girls and Depends-wearing old ladies.

  • Ymarsakar

    The TSA will become part of Obama’s civilian military force as strong as the US military. And this will be used as a club on the rest of the dissenters. If the TSA or SEIU legions are being bulked up in either weapons or numbers, watch out. That’s a telegraphing of end game operations.

  • Ymarsakar

    I think back when the crypto libertarians were talking about Bush violations of the US Constitution and our rights, they were making things up as they went along. It doesn’t matter if you think Bush violated the Constitution when your judgment is so flawed you can’t figure out light from dark. It’s precisely why they didn’t focus on TSA violations. They just lumped them all together with the Patriot Act, like it was the same thing.

    But it isn’t. They think the TSA proves them right on the Patriot Act, when it doesn’t. The number of violations of the act, of crime, of abuse under the Patriot Act is how many compared to the TSA?

    Fools that can’t figure out what is Constitutional or unConstitutional, I’ll throw off their lecture stand and dump them into the water. They got nothing worthwhile to say, those crypto libertarians. They’re basically chaff obstructing the real work being done in this country to preserve citizen liberties and rights.

  • bizcor

    Charles Martel you forgot Big Oil. Click here to read an article by Jeffery Folks entitled “Obama’s Plan for $10 Gas) submitted to the American Thinker today.

  • Charles Martel

    bizcor, as abc said here a few weeks ago: whatever it takes, including the ruination of the modern economy, to pay for all those nasty “externalities.” There is no God according to him, but divine punishment must be meted out, nevertheless.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Ah, but then…Utopia!

  • Michael Adams

    You may be more right than you think, because “Utopia” means “Nowhere”, in Greek.
    People think it is Eutopia, “Good Place”, so a bad future is a “Dystopia”.  More was writing satire. and all of his contemporaries knew it.

  • Indigo Red

    The Greatest Generation is completely to blame.

  • Ymarsakar

    I think people eventually forgot that unless people earn their own liberty and security, they won’t value it. After the Greatest Generation paid for their own, in more than one way, they believed it was time for their children to relax and not have to take up the same burden.

    There was a problem with that idea which the Left exploited.

  • David Foster

    I think a case can be made that the average quality of *management* in American institutions, including businesses, has declined over the the past couple of decades. There are several reasons for this—the subject probably deserves its own post—but one of them is the excessive emphasis on credentialism and theoretical education, coupled with far too much credence placed in theories du jour.

    For example, several years ago Forbes had an item about a steel mill which invested heavily in automation and also revamped its management techniques. Production was far less than had been expected, and a German consulting firm was brought in to help analyze the problem.

    The consultants noted that a “team” approach to each heat of steel had been established under the new managment regime—there 4 or 5 people on the team could have plenty of discussion, but there was no one single individual who could actually make the decision that the heat was ready to pour. They recommended that a *leader* for each team be established, with authority and responsibility.

    This conclusion should not have required the hiring of a consulting firm.

  • Old Buckeye

    It’s easier for a dictator to take over a poor country.

  • Ymarsakar

    The old Communists noted that so long as the middle class persisted in America, nobody would be dissatisfied enough to destroy the status quo order and replace it with a Marxist-Leninist one.

    They were right.

  • Gringo

    For those of you who have not had the experience of Third World airports, here is the experience of a Venezuelan blogger, now living in Chile, writing about his recent experience in the Caracas airport.

    I look up at the monitors and I find my flight is announced as leaving through Gate 5A, not Gate 1. The flashing “Embarcando” sign means a frantic dash for the lower level is in order.
    Gate 5A is one of those annoying portals at Maiquetía that doesn’t have a walkway attached to it. Just like our ancestors did back in the good old days of the PanAm Clipper, you have to walk on the runway to get to your flight.
    In Gate 5A, I see an Aserca flunkie taking people’s boarding passes, wearing a red sweater. What is it in this country and the color red? Do they think this will make it less likely they will get taken over?
    I ask him if he’s boarding the Maracaibo flight.
    “Porlamar,” he growls back.
    I ask him if he’s boarding Maracaibo next.
    “Maracaibo is in Gate 1,” he says through his teeth.
    “Yes,” I respond, “that’s what I was told, but the monitor says it’s gate 5A.”
    “Don’t pay attention to the monitors,” he responds.
    I bite my tongue, because screaming “what the hell are the monitors for, then?!” will get me absolutely nowhere.
    Clearly, I’ve been living abroad way too long.
    More at the link.
    My favorite Third World flying experience occurred in Houston. Several months after being transferred from Guatemala, I was back in the Houston main office of  the company. On the job board about Guatemala: “Mortar fire at landing strip. Per diem may be increased $10 per day.” (I never experienced mortar fire.)

  • Earl

    Much as I enjoy bashing unions, and much as I realize that it’s often deserved, I need to straighten out something in regard to airlines and unions.
    I fly Southwest Airlines almost exclusively within the U.S. and have done so for almost 30 years.  That had a lot to do with price, but also because it’s such a well-run airline.  Short turnarounds, friendly staff, good service, and a sense that everyone is in it together and enjoying their jobs.
    Last trip – to Nashville and back – they had their 35th anniversary issue of the in-flight magazine out….and I was shocked to learn that Southwest Airlines is the most highly unionized airline in the U.S. with approximately 86% of their employees belonging to a union.  Of course, they also have a plan for employee ownership and about 15% of the company belongs to the people who work there.  Still……..
    Clearly, there’s something beside unionization that leads to the troubles most U.S. airlines are having.  As for me, I hope that Southwest takes them ALL over!!


    Loved the sign: Sorry, We”re Open.
    Funny thing about Third World gymnastics and how it permeates every nook and cranny in/out of the US.
    We had a power failure in the building where I live for some hours today and well into the evening. Before the power returned, I was camping out on a neighbor’s balcony passing some time with some small talk. We were wondering what would come first, electricity or daylight.  I asked a neighbor if he had heard anything, even a nice rumor.  My neighbor tells the story:
    He called the electric company no less than 10x (it’s automated of course) with the usual push 1 for this and 2 for that and so on, which should have eventually led him to automated voice mail. He’s creative and a computer whiz, so by hook and crook pushed enough buttons in some manner of coded sequence that he eventually reached a human voice.
    Human voice: How did you get this number?
    Neighbor: What do you mean? I called the emergency number.
    Human voice: What’s your name, address, telephone number, account number and problem.
    Neighbor: No electricity.
    Human voice: Oh.
    Neighbor: When can we expect the power to fixed.
    Human voice: Well, you know there was a severe storm and you’re not the only one in the State with problems. We’ll get to it just as soon as we can.
    Ahh, the sound of a reassuring human voice that asks a man for an account number who’s standing in the dark dialing.
    The Third World is not a country or destination – it’s an empty space between two ears.

  • Charles Martel

    Earl makes a good point: Not everything about unions is bad. The Southwest Airlines union is a good example, probably because the fortunes of its members have been genuinely linked to the fortunes of the airline. That’s the way it should be.

    But what has happened in so many instances is that the union leadership has become corrupt and self-serving, with the people at the top parasitizing the union and its resources. That’s certainly the case with teachers’ unions and municipal employees—the unions exist as hosts for the leeches.

    At some point we really do need to re-examine the concept of exile. I would be all for sending most union bosses, most legislators, Obama, most high-ranking Democrats, pimps like Jesse Jackson, preening Hollywood stars, etc., to a large well-watered territory with high walls around it where they could bore—and eventually destroy one another—with their socialist fantasies. Just keep them far away from us. “Get Outta Here!” would become the new American motto, right up there next to “Don’t Tread on Me.”

  • Zachriel

    Libby: I’d be curious to see if LAN Chile has unionized employees and how heavily they are regulated compared to the US airline industry. 

    Union concentration is about 80%. And yes, airlines are regulated in Chile, including their acquisitions and mergers.