Why Virtue Matters
Chapter 1: Understanding Labor: From Manpower to Social Capital
Sison 01 chaps 5/6/03 10:16 Page 1 1. I. Understanding labor. From manpower to social capital 9-11 FROM AN AIRPORT SCREENER’S VIEWPOINT I would have wanted to begin this book differently, but the events surrounding 11 September 2001 somehow prevent me from doing as I had originally planned. That morning three commercial jets were hijacked and crashed as firebombs into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. A fourth one, supposedly headed towards the White House, after a heroic struggle between the passengers and the hijackers finally hurtled down into a rural Pennsylvania field. The questions that immediately arose in most people’s minds were, understandably, ‘Why?’ and ‘Who’s behind this?’ The exact responses to these questions lie far beyond the scope of this work. Later on would come the query ‘How did this happen?’, or better still, ‘How could this have been avoided?’ Although we may never know with certainty how such a disaster could have been averted, a close look at the working conditions of the airport screeners and at the management practices of the firms that employed them provide very telling clues. Since the late 1970s, it was common knowledge among federal regulators and members of the air transport industry that the airport screeners represented the weakest link in the security chain in the US. The situation only grew worse with the passing of years. Federal Aviation Administration tests in 1978 revealed...
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