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Salagatle!


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Monday, February 22, 2010

The state of the .... worker.

So, I have spent some time letting stuff mull around my head (it's easy, there's nothing else in that space so lots of extremely fast mulling can take place there)!

Anyway, let's take a look at what's been thrashing around up there, lost and wondering how the hell it got in there in the first place:-

Picture the world at the end of the Second World War. Massive destruction all around. Many dead men, unemployment, poverty, orphans, widows, broken military machinery in nearly every back yard. Senseless destruction, rendered on the world and on each other by what is considered to be the most intelligent animal on the planet.

Millions of USD spent trying to prove a point (what that point is I don't know), at the expense of mere mortals, men who would want nothing more than to be left alone to raise families, have a braai, drink a beer, and just live life as it was meant to be. Bodies lying rotting in mud pits, trenches lined red with the blood of mere boys....

Rivers and seas colored a light pink from endless shedding of human blood into them. Unexploded bombs, despicable scenes of devastation at the DMZ of the worlds fist atomic bombing against humans, incredible scenes of absolute loss.

So, the war has ended. Time to rebuild. Massive employment drives to try and give everyone a new start. New opportunities for all in any / all spheres of commerce. Businesses show their support by employing many more staff. The economies of the world grow, and many companies become sought after employers. Everyone is making money. It's boom time all around the world. In some countries more than others, but over time, the next 30 years, all is good. Investors are getting into serious money, making big calls and deposits into great return companies.

The clever guys come up with clever stuff. Computers, cheaper transport, access to anything imaginable is now in the domain of the man on the street. The world, post WWII is a much better place to be. In South Africa, the mines, mainly gold mines have become the biggest single employers. Some mines boast a work force of over 10,000, even 15,000. There is wealth to share. Mines own houses which their employees live in for a mere ZAR1.00 per month (benefits), they have recreation centers, with golf courses and tennis courts, swimming pools, soccer fields, rugby fields, pubs, snooker rooms, single quarters for those unemployed men working there..... It's great. It's the way life should be.

Internationally, employment is driven based on "one job for life"! Medical aids and pension funds abound. Every employer has it, and it's a perk. And they are good institutions.

Then the shit hits the fan. At some point, the needs of the investors overtake the needs of the employees. The buzz word is "shareholder value". Medical aids are desecrated, pension funds raped and pillaged. The mines, locally, close their recreational centers, and single quarters, in fact, they sell off their houses. All employees now have to arrange their own housing.....

All over the world, retrenchments / cost cutting / shareholder value become the driving force behind business. "Not our core function" is the comment of the day. The world economy and values are driven around the share price, the year end numbers speculated on for any company on any day. A fart in Ethiopia brings devastation to the stock exchange in Australia, and no one really knows why....

The employee becomes a non-entity. A number. There is no more company / employee loyalty. Automation of work, and computerization of same, has created an environment where it is perceived lees can do more, for less. Lower the cost, increase the profit, keep the shareholders happy.

Mines which employed 15,000 miners at one time, and still made good money, now turn out more gold than ever, at a much higher market price, but with 75% of the costs taken out, and only 2,500 employees.

So where has all this though led me. Well, this is what I see happening. We have a damn sight more people on this earth than we had at the end of the last war. In relation to that time, we have fewer people employed than we did then (percentage of actual population count). Corporations, and select individuals are making a massive amount of money, which is being funneled to the pockets of those few who have invested into them. The masses are becoming "disposable functions" within this big machine.

And they are getting pissed off!

I foresee, not too far into the future, a revolution of the masses against the corporations. A situation which will make the French Revolution seem like a practice run for a stage run of Mary Poppins. I can see millions of people taking on the big guns in industry, and demanding fair practice. Medical aids and pension funds will be in the firing line. Computerization / automation will be targeted. More manual workload will be a demand - we must eat - willing to work - I am a human being who has needs........

I foresee a big drive towards what is now called communism, where everyone has a chance, a job, a meal, no matter how menial the task, but at least each individual would be taken care off.
I can see situations in some countries, where the military will be called in to try and control the masses, where people will sacrifice their lives in the hope that their contribution will improve the lot of their families.

Think I am nuts? Maybe so, but I don't believe that people will continue to be trodden on at the current rate for long. The same way that many countries are now turning on their dictatorial leaders, ousting them and installing a more conventional "democratic" constitution, so too will the working masses turn on those corporations who drive from more, for less, from less..... The GREED on which modern commerce and the economy runs can not be sustained for much longer. In my working life time, we will see the change, driven by those desperate individuals, for whom life has become a very, very hard affair....

The more we see the daily newspapers filled with stories and pictures of the mega successful people, and the more companies increase prices based on fabricated positions, but then release annual numbers which show year on year growth of double digits, the more the man on the street (literally and figuratively) will build up a resentment for same.

It's either this, or the levels of "hate crime" aimed at the haves, by the have not's will escalate to proportions never before imagined.

I cannot believe that in any country today, there are destitute people who are happy with their lot, and are willing to accept this for the remainder of their lives, and know that this is what awaits their offspring, and theirs, and theirs. Not whilst we know that millions of dollars are being spent on things which, ultimately add no value to our lives, now, or in the foreseeable future. I don't believe that the corporate world has taken into account that ultimately, what they are doing will lead to their downfall - if you have fewer and fewer employed people, there is less and less reason for many of the corporates to exist.

No financially viable / stable consumer - no market! Think about it!

So, what does all this confused mass of useless information mean? Whats the point / message?

For me it's this:-
Corporations must expect a massive backlash from the working class. For not much longer will the abuse of employees be tolerated. Typically, more and more unions will become militarized in their actions. Boycotts and strikes will bring these corporations to their knees. Possibly, the biggest worker revolution, on a world wide scale, will change the way that business is run, how employees are treated, and how companies are managed. The era of stock exchanges and traders will be under extreme pressure, and will become a much smaller entity than it is today. Investment will move to the upliftment of the masses, with the returns being more aligned to what could be "normal", and based on longer term commitment.

I believe that the current system is fundamentally flawed, and that a major revamp of how the whole thing sticks together is due for a massive upgrade / rethink.

I think that all of this will probably happen sooner than later. I could be dead wrong. But then, I could be on the button.

Salagatle!

1 comment:

Divemaster Dad said...

Dude....I hear you, but I think you've forgotten one thing.

Those self-same corporations do everything and anything to cover themselves. They employ the cut-throat lawyers to deal with the striking masses. They fire the lot and employ the destitute for less than they were paying the first lot. It's a cycle we've all seen.

It's easier and cheaper for a corporation to fire someone (or a group) unfairly and rehire a bunch to fill those positions than it is to keep the first lot on the books.

Like it or not, the corporations have got the masses by the short-and-curlies. We are expendable commodities. We will be used, abused, and spat out at the whim of a corporate fat-cat.

And all the while, the lawyers get richer, the technocrats develop more ways to make more with less for less, and the majority shareholders get more and more out of touch with the masses. Note that they do not get out of touch with reality as reality is whatever anyone wants it to be, especially if you have the big bucks.

And the bunch with the big bucks build bigger fences to keep the masses out. They will always survive. The masses will always suffer.

It's human nature to do whatever it takes to survive...