Why Do We Allow This System?

I have been writing about the Campaign to Improve Assisted Living -- please visit their website.  

I'd like to talk about the larger picture.  The other day I asked Who Is the Corporation

So here is the thing.  When you talk about a corporation doing something, who are you talking about? In reality you are talking about a few PEOPLE, not some anonymous corporation, PEOPLE.  And when you talk about the people of a corporation you are not talking about Bob in Sales or Mary in Accounts Receivable.  They are not the people who make decisions -- they aren't even asked.  They are told from the top how it is going to be.  When you talj about a corporation doing or saying something you are really talking about A FEW PEOPLE and the things these people do and say are not for "the company" they are necessarily for THEMSELVES.  Corporations do not have voices or thoughts or ideas, a few people who have control of the resources of the corporation do, and always, always act for their OWN gain.
Today let's take a look at Why?

Here we have a country that allows vulnerable elderly people to be treated as a product to be harvested and workers to be treated as economic units or annoying costs to be replaced if they are not efficient enough.  The average worker faces longer working hours for less pay and fewer benefits each year.

How did we get here?  When did we decide to have a system like this?  Did we ever decide?

Who benefits from this system?  In the case of Atria Senior Living Bruce Wasserstein benefits.  Other executives at Atria and Lazard benefit.  Does anyone else?  Why do we allow it?

We used to have kings and feudal lords who "owned" almost everything and told everyone else what to do.  People rose up, battles were fought and eventually a compromise was reached.  England still has a Queen!

In America workers faced brutal conditions because a few powerful wealthy people controlled the economy and the mines and the mills and the factories.  Over time unions formed and fought this and a compromise of sorts was eventually reached.  And over time those unions have been eroded and things have been slipping backwards.  That is a gross simplification, but here we are.

When do We, the People start to decide what kind of economy we want?  In Europe and much of the rest of the world people get five weeks vacation, health care, child care, and rights.  That is because the people there understand that they are in an ongoing fight between the people and the powerful, and they still have strong unions.  In America a very few get fabulously wealthy, supported by the work the rest of us -- here and in the outsourcing countries -- do.

When will We, the People decide that WE want a better system for US?  I suggest taking a look at the SEUI's Accountability Project.  This campaign is intended to help all of us, not just their own membership.  It's a start.  But in your own actions and thoughts, start demanding more.  Start demanding that the few ultra-wealthy and the corporations butt out of our system. We are We, the People and We are supposed to be in charge here.

This post was sponsored in part by The Campaign To Improve Assisted Living.

Here we have a country that allows vulnerable elderly people to be treated as a product to be harvested and workers to be treated as economic units or annoying costs to be replaced if they are not efficient enough.  The average worker faces longer working hours for less pay and fewer benefits each year.

How did we get here?  When did we decide to have a system like this?  Did we ever decide?

Who benefits from this system?  In the case of Atria Senior Living Bruce Wasserstein benefits.  Other executives at Atria and Lazard benefit.  Does anyone else?  Why do we allow it?

We used to have kings and feudal lords who "owned" almost everything and told everyone else what to do.  People rose up, battles were fought and eventually a compromise was reached.  England still has a Queen!

In America workers faced brutal conditions because a few powerful wealthy people controlled the economy and the mines and the mills and the factories.  Over time unions formed and fought this and a compromise of sorts was eventually reached.  And over time those unions have been eroded and things have been slipping backwards.  That is a gross simplification, but here we are.

When do We, the People start to decide what kind of economy we want?  In Europe and much of the rest of the world people get five weeks vacation, health care, child care, and rights.  That is because the people there understand that they are in an ongoing fight between the people and the powerful, and they still have strong unions.  In America a very few get fabulously wealthy, supported by the work the rest of us -- here and in the outsourcing countries -- do.

When will We, the People decide that WE want a better system for US?  I suggest taking a look at the SEUI's Accountability Project.  This campaign is intended to help all of us, not just their own membership.  It's a start.  But in your own actions and thoughts, start demanding more.  Start demanding that the few ultra-wealthy and the corporations butt out of our system. We are We, the People and We are supposed to be in charge here.

This post was sponsored in part by The Campaign To Improve Assisted Living.

Tags: Atria, Bruce Wasserstein, Labor, Lazard, Unions (all tags)

Comments

2 Comments

Re: Why Do We Allow This System?

The Great Communicator began the destruction of the unions in America with the firing of the air traffic controllers.  Like a green light, that one act led to the destruction or marginalization of most American unions.

Globalization and international trade has also contributed to their demise.  And make their resurrection somewhat problematic.

The current administration has done more to take us down this road than Reagan ever dreamt of.  Contractors now bleed our treasury and fight our wars, without unions or any form of legal oversight.

However, offsetting that, in this industry, is the aging of the baby boomers.  Although it is not yet a front burner issue, it will become one, and soon.  Currently, the oldest boomers are only 63, but as they age a pushback against this one industry will occur.

Unfortunately, this is only one offender and one industry.  It will take a lot of hard work and some time (that we may not have) to clean up the current mess and re-install the American Constitution as the law of the land.

And that is why politics has become so important.  We no longer have unions to protect us so we must make sure the that the office holders we elect represent our concerns.  Not just nationally, but on a state and local level as well.

by Susan from 29 2008-07-16 12:33PM | 0 recs
An Entirely New System is Needed

"Corporations do not have voices or thoughts or ideas, a few people who have control of the resources of the corporation do, and always, always act for their OWN gain."

But it's much more complicated than that, Dave. The inherent nature of the structure of the corporation is specifically designed to diffuse decision-making power among a myriad of elites who have interests in the company - between CEOs, Presidents, Board members, Board Chairmen, and large shareholders. It's designed so if any one of them "gets out of line," the offending person is booted by the rest. It enforces the ever-increasing blind, voracious drive for expansion and higher profit margins, to the exclusion of all other considerations (including, increasingly, the very survival of humanity).

In the end it's not about bad CEOs, how if we can just get some good CEOs in place then they can do good things. The nature of the CEO position dictates what you can and can't do.

All this suggests that traditional unionism isn't enough. We should be fighting to democratically decide not simply wages & conditions, the only thing unions can legally bargain over. We should be fighting for the democratization of all decision-making in corporations. And to the extent that "managers" are needed, they should be elected and subject to recall by the people they will be working above.

Anyone want to suggest that be placed in the Democratic Party's platform this year? ;)

by Liberaltarian 2008-07-17 06:54AM | 0 recs

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