Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Hegemony of the US middle-class

It's Labour Weekend in New Zealand, and so my mind turned to the almost perfect system of labour (or should I say, labor) that a certain country's capitalism has devised.

Imagine if you will a system whereby your pension and healthcare were tied directly to your job. Without employment your health options and future living potential are severely curtailed. You retirement savings are tied into the stock market, so if Wall Street suffers so does your future. Your company offers you slightly discounted stock (in exchange for certain labor rights or in lieu of pay increases), so if the company suffers so do you.

Then imagine that in that same system employers can fire workers whenever they like for no reason at all. (Note: there may still be regulations regarding racism and sexism, but these can be worked around. For example, while you can't ask on a job application for an applicants race or gender, you can screen people with names like DeShawn, JaMarkus, Migel, or Kate. They still have to give their name; mwah ha ha ha!)

Imagine that the economy has up-times and down-times. In up times they tell you there's no need to give you pay rises, as that would impact on profits and the share price. You have shares, remember, so you wouldn't want the price to go down.

In down times they tell you they may have to cut staff (horror of horrors!) ... unless you all agree to a pay cut? Remember, your health and your future depend on you having a job. So of course you'll agree to a small (say 5%) pay cut.

Over time you'll see your wages go down. You'll want to make waves, but this is a system with very few strong unions (organized labour equals communism, and communism is what you'll find in hell when you die, you Pinko!). Besides, complaining could mean you get fired. After all, they can do that anytime, for any reason.

Imagine that? You don't have to. It exists, and has fans in all right-wing political parties across the globe. It may be coming to a country near you soon.

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