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Have We Come Full Circle
#1
Quote:Imagine a world that is entirely, materially insecure.

It is a world in which people scramble for whatever jobs they can get. When they succeed, they labour long hours with no assured wage.

Their jobs are always at risk. Others are always prepared to do the same for less. Even if workers manage to hang on, their jobs are invariably of short duration — a few months, maybe a year.

Then it’s back to the scramble again.

There are, of course, no benefits or pensions. In most cases, minimum wage laws don’t apply.

In this world, the sheer struggle for existence dominates. All else takes a back seat. Family life fits in where it can. Culture, education, holidays? Forget it.

Students of history will recognize this world. It is industrializing England during the 19th century or parts of Latin America during the 20th — the world that Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Freidrich Engels and later Che Guevara described and critiqued.

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Union members have no one but themselves to blame for the mess they find themselves today; at one side of the table you have individuals with an MBA and the other side a high school diploma or less. I predicted the downfall of unions 25 years ago. Through their greed they've succeeded in losing workers everything they fought for from the 1930's through to the 1980's.
The true purpose of democracy is not to select the best leaders — a clearly debatable obligation — but to facilitate the prompt and peaceful removal of obviously bad ones. 
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#2
I haven't used this phrase in a while now, but it is part of my "Law of Unintended Consequences" thinking. And that is the fact that everything tends to work it's way down to it's "Lowest Common Functional Denominator." That is exactly what is going on with most things, including unions. Eventually the economic system looks for, and always finds, a means of getting back to the very basics, and bypassing the "wedge" that the unions have placed between the producers and the consumers.

Had the unions pursued the profit sharing angle with the businesses they worked for, they would have had a vested interest in ensuring that the company, of which they now held a tangible portion, would be a success.

But almost all of them didn't, and still don't want to do so. And they will continue to lose out in the long run.

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And now the writer is bemoaning the Free Market, in which the individual is responsible for his/her security. And note that today's conditions are not the same as the one in 19th century England, he proposes. At that time the Industrial Revolution was in it's infancy. Today is different.

But in 1980, upon learning that I was going to lose my job with the construction firm I was a district field manager, my friend Rick Booker, told me this: "The only security you have is that which you make for yourself". And he is right. If we expect for others to provide our security, we will ultimately be disappointed and have less liberties in the process.

Quote:But the norm during that golden period of the 20th century when workers won their most basic rights was economic security. It was assumed that people had the right to live a life beyond the perpetual search for subsistence. If the chaos of the marketplace intervened, that chaos was tamed.

Now the market is back with a vengeance. This world of cutthroat competition and insecure work is not new. It may be disguised by new technologies such as the Internet or Twitter. But in essence it is very, very old. It is a world we thought we had conquered.

Job loyalty is nice, but the real loyalty should be to one's self first. After all, who is going to ultimately provide for your security: you, or someone else?
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"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it" - Jonathan Swift, 1710
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#3
Job security after WWII was an artifact of the destruction of every other country but the US. So was the illusion that vast government handouts (all sorts of welfare) was affordable.

The move to temps and contract workers started before this recession, and is here to stay. The sensible younger people I know realize that SS etc. etc. will not survive, and have known it for years.

Perhaps the latest US budget and deficit fights are the harbingers of realism setting in.

Any sensible person should be as self reliant as they can.

However, the scenario of the author is not nigh, only incipient. The PIIGS are perhaps the canary in the coal mine.
Jefferson: I place economy among the first and important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
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#4
(07-31-2011, 05:35 PM)jt Wrote: However, the scenario of the author is not nigh, only incipient. The PIIGS are perhaps the canary in the coal mine.

I'm waiting for the first Fascist saviour to come forward and take the reins of power, in some country, that is just looking for a Father Figure. Just wait, it's coming eventually.

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"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it" - Jonathan Swift, 1710
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#5
Hasn't it already happened in Russia?

In every other case I know, there is either no charismatic leader or no leader controlling a majority of the guns, except possibly Hugo, who many not make it to his cherished 2031 retirement date.
Jefferson: I place economy among the first and important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
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