Orwell Just Got The Date Wrong

Has your boss become more demanding of late? Have you noticed how business management tries to wring every last ounce from its employees? Perhaps, you may ponder, it’s because of the slowing economy, the need to squeeze more productivity?

Not a bit of it. It’s been going on for much longer than the dwindling economy. It began with the advent of computers in the workplace. Slowly, over time, the employee has shrunk in the mind’s eye of management, until now he or she is just another form of computer.

Only, the human employee is nothing like as efficient as an electronic computer. A human employee has to take meal breaks, go to the bathroom, spend time away from work with family, and to sleep. A computer functions twenty-four seven, has no family ties, and permanent insomnia.

In fact, apart from the energy needed to power its innards, a computer is only reliant on one other piece of equipment: the employee who utilizes it.

Herein lies the great dilemma presently gripping the capitalist world, or at least, the very top bit of it.

Computers can now do so many things a human employee can’t do, or if they could it would take them three years to complete a task done in seconds by the superior electronic version, that employers are desperately working out ways to rid themselves of the less efficient, and infinitely more expensive, inferior model.

Here is just one of myriad examples, noted recently in central Illinois.

A few months ago, the management of a local bus company announced to its employees that all buses were to be fitted with GPS equipment. It was put in such a way that the employees, or at least those more gullible, assumed it was for their benefit.

Of course, nothing was further from the truth. The drivers had nothing to fear as they were union members in a closed shop situation, but recently four lower management employees were told they were being ‘let go’. The company would have GPS equipment to monitor the position of every bus in the fleet at any given time, doing away with the need for those four employees. One had eighteen years service with the company. She was told she will receive $3,000 in severance pay.

This is just one example of what is happening, not only throughout America, but over much of the western world.

How many readers are due to retire in the near future? When you do, instead of visiting your local SSA office and talking to an experienced member of staff, you’ll be asked to file your claim online, from your home computer. If you don’t have one, you’ll be directed to the local public library.

The Social Security Administration has undertaken a mind-bogglingly huge program of automation, designed to achieve one goal: the eradication of the expensive human employee. It’s already begun. Staff levels are falling quickly; it’s one of the main reasons disability claimants wait two years and more for their hearings.

Employers are quick to hone down their workforce once a longterm strategy has been devised. It takes time to surreptitiously cut employee numbers, but the resultant savings in salaries, healthcare payments, etc., help fund the planned automation strategies. Computers are improving in leaps and bounds. The number of human employees required to service and program these electronic brains is dropping almost daily. It is expected that within a few years computers will take over the job of maintaining and programming other computers, or to put it another way, they’ll be self-repairing and self-programming.

It begs the brief question: where will all the jobs go?

The answer is equally concise: there won’t be any. Except for lowly service industry jobs – it’s not expected McDonalds will be serving computerized French Fries in the foreseeable future – and a few specialist occupations, much of the work done in offices, business houses, and government departments will no longer be the province of the human employee.

In a relatively short period of time, much of the monies paid out today in salaries will be siphoned back into the coffers of the corporates, as profit. Computers don’t require an income.

Of course, it would be inhumane to allow middle class America to starve to death. The Social Security system would have to be expanded and a new system of hand-outs devised. It will all have to be paid for out of corporate profit, for the income from taxes is bound to decrease drastically with so many out of work.

What then, you may ask, is the benefit to corporations if the additional profit is to be used to fund social services?

The answer is: control.

At present, the corporations pay wages, of which a percentage goes to the government in taxes, and the government decides how it is best spent. While corporate America has a hand in government, it is restricted by the election process. The people still have a say, albeit a somewhat feeble one.

Under the new automated system, corporate America will be the government. It will have total financial control. Without taxes a government cannot function, and will be taken over by whatever institution is holding the power of money.

He who has wealth holds power, and he who has power wields control. Total control is the great ambition of corporate America. It’s the reason one hundred and fifty thousand US troops squat in Iraq. Oil is now secondary in the great plan for the Middle East. Control of that region is number one on the agenda.

Corporate America is becoming the Great Dictator.

A fanciful idea? It’s happening already.

Has your boss become more demanding of late? Have you noticed how business management tries to wring every last ounce from its employees?

SSA employees are working themselves into the ground right now. Staffing has been cut so drastically each employee is forced to handle the work of two, or sometimes three. Added to the problem are constantly changing computer programs, new “improved” versions rushed out and full of bugs, but all designed to one day replace the employees desperately trying to make them work, against a backlog of mounting social security claims.

It’s chaos, but out of chaos comes control.

It will come to pass, if the workers don’t do something to stop it. Loyalty to the company has been a slogan rammed down the throats of employees for years, but where has the company’s loyalty to its workers gone?

Once, workers controlled the power. Now the tide has turned and computerization means workers will one day have to beg for a job. The bosses are regaining control. They have the power.

If you want to know how they will use it, just ask four bus company employees from central Illinois.

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4 Replies to “Orwell Just Got The Date Wrong”

  1. Humans are just an expense to business- like the electricity or the heat and no more important. Trouble is that there are few things one can do independently and make enough to live.

  2. Not a pretty picture is it?

    The only hope might be if climate change problems led to frequent large power outages which affected critical computer banks. Then it would become clear that computers are NOT the be all and end all. Only problem with that is that we could find ourselves in a very unfriendly world with no reliable sources of heat, light, not much medical assistance……

  3. A truly chilling picture, RJA and one that is already upon us. It is strange to me how so many are still in denial on what is happening all around us. The realities being ignored, the trivial infotainment the focus.
    And I’m still predicting a huge win for McLame – and hoping I’m so very wrong – for the New American Century Plan to fulfil its promise.

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