A recession occurs when the management and top executives of industry, in conjunction with politicians, run their companies and their nation’s economy into the ground, usually while siphoning off funds to guarantee their own, individual, future security.
This latest global recession has illuminated so many glaring examples of such ineptitude that further clarification is surely unnecessary. Why then, one might ask, are the guilty allowed to shy away from the consequences of their actions, while the innocent are treated as scapegoats and victimized?
We are hearing daily of thousands laid off, thrown out of work, forced to take on more and more for less and less, and generally treated as though they are the reason their company is headed for bankruptcy, rather than the true perpetrators much further up the corporate ladder.
Why are working people expected to suffer due to the inadequacies and blunderings of those charged with the responsibility of running matters? Only today, in Britain, a report highlights how postmen are being forced to walk at 4mph, rather than the normal 2.4mph, so they can take on longer rounds with no compensation, ostensibly to save the postal service money.
In almost every large company or government institution the computer rules the day. Upper management has no experience of working at grassroots level and relies on computer statistics to direct the working lives of those on the shop floor of industry, or in offices performing the everyday tasks that keep their company functioning. The result of management’s inability to formulate proper and sane practices for the workers has led the world into the economic recession we are all suffering today.
Was it the lowly bank teller or insurance clerk who was responsible for the collapse of Lehmann Bros.? Are GM or Chrysler shop floor car makers the reason those companies are presently begging the US Congress for billions of dollars? No, yet despite all the money poured into the financial sector, and even though the car companies will likely get their billions, most of the bank tellers, insurance clerks, and automotive construction workers will be out of a job very soon, if they aren’t already.
There are thousands of corporate managers and board room executives in America, but there are tens of millions of workers – ordinary Joe’s. Why do we allow a few upper-crusted, over-fed, and over-paid Nancy-types to walk all over us? Why do the workers always have to carry the can for the bosses?
“But….but, what can we do?” I hear the cry.
Quite a lot, actually – without even resorting to strikes, or riots, or social disruption of any kind. We could start by boycotting every firm that lays off workers – take our custom elsewhere. If everyone took up that idea company directors would think twice about saving their necks by laying off a few thousand workers. Imagine if the working people all refused to buy GM vehicles, or Chrysler, or Ford, until sacked workers were reinstated; or, moved their accounts to banks that weren’t shedding workers.
And that’s just one idea. There’s plenty more out there, because it’s not the bosses that have the brainpower, in reality, it’s the workers. Unfortunately, those who hold the reins of power have long practiced the art of division – divide and conquer – even to the extent of devising two amalgamated political parties, so the workers will take sides against each other under the illusion there is a difference between them.
Six hundred years BC, Æsop wrote a fable of four oxen and a lion, which went something like this:
A lion used to prowl about a field in which four oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell to quarreling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.”
“United We Stand, Divided We Fall” has long been a cry of nationalistic fervor to resound from rallies and political theaters around the globe. Those who shout it the loudest are the politicians and corporate bosses who expect the rest of us to echo the sentiment.
Sadly, their sentiment is false. If they unite at all, it’s only amongst themselves. When was the last time corporate America stood firm for its workers? Does anyone have even one example?
Of course, the counter to “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” is “Divide And Conquer”. The politicians and corporate bosses have been practicing that sentiment since time immemorial.
Isn’t it time that, like Æsop’s oxen, we all turned our tails to one another, and thwarted the lions?
 “Royal Mail told us to walk faster on rounds to save money….” Daily Mail, December 12th 2008
Filed under: Fanfare for the common man