I admire Mike Rowe. He is a rare breed of man. He is not afraid to get dirty. He is a champion for skilled labor. He laments about the crumbling infrastructure, then points to all of the young people who want to go to college. These young people come out of college, unprepared for real work because they have a degree in Comparative Icelandic Literature and zero practical skills. He is doing the Lords work, through his mikeroweWORKS website where he helps people learn skilled work. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters and all of the other good-paying skilled labor that would fix our infrastructure problems.
Here he is at a TED talk discussing this. The first 2/3rds is him waxing anecdotally about castrating sheep with his teeth (mentioning anagnorisis and peripeteia along the way) and being on a crab boat in 50 foot seas. The important part starts about 15:00 into the video.
As long as all of us look with disdain upon the skilled worker as some type of Morlock, this situation of empty factories and crumbling infrastructure will only get worse. The large, publicly traded companies who only have their eyes on beating next quarters' stock dividend predictions can include themselves in the blame for this predicament we are in. Many of our skilled labor jobs will change as things progress. There are many types of jobs that no longer exist and there are many jobs that no one could have conceived 30 years ago. However there are still many skilled labor positions that will be around for a long time to come.
It is time we laud their efforts and encourage young people to pursue the skilled trades.