Monday, March 26, 2012

What you don’t know is hurting someone …

I’ve railed often against the transition from the mom & apple pie world of the 40s through the 70s to the corporatist culture of the 80s through today. The mantra goes that all actions of the company are driven by increasing “shareholder value” … which of course means that we must do more with less and slash costs everywhere.

This is, of course, all very well understood these days. I loathe it for the simple reason that it embodies the seeds of the destruction of our way of life in the western world. And by “our”, I mean the middle and lower classes that are now commonly known as “the 99%.”

The 1% are busy raking in more cash than ever while governments suffer from the loss of the middle class (USA borrows 40c for every 1$ it spends) and while formerly middle class workers struggle to make ends meet with two or even three service jobs at minimum wage, assuming they can even find one. Students are in terrible straights … their unemployment rates are skyrocketing.

Now, we know why there is no great hew and cry over this from John Q 99% … it is because we are all sedated every day by out latest fix of cool and fun toys. Brought to you for a song from factories all over the world. Jobs that once would have been in North America are no longer there. Shareholder value requires growth, and that requires slashing costs. People cost.

Now … I’ll stop here because most of the rest is obvious. Middle class jobs still exist, but they exist in other countries now. The tax base has wandered off and the government that depends on it allowed this to happen. One wonders what sort of backroom deals could have made all that happen …

But wait …. those middle class jobs must have improved the lot of someone, no? The people to whom they went should be raking it in and living the high life, no?


In fact, if you read this very interesting graphic from -- created by a small and passionate team who are really chuffed about the fact that we are all so numb to the plight of the people that build our crap for us – you will find that these people are much, much worse off than even our destroyed middle classes.

In other words, only the shareholders (think “owners, or 1%) benefit in this scheme. The middle classes here have been decimated. The people there are treated like chattel, paid nothing, and have suicide rates that would make dentists and lawyers blush.

So next time you buy yet another toy, think a moment about that child who built it at the end of a 10 hour shift …