Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Are We the Hostages?

As a middle aged person (I might mention that The Little Woman says I am too old to call myself middle aged) I have watched and read a lot of news in my life. I’ve seen a lot said and written about working people. One quality that seems to be much prized is a “work ethic”. I’ve admired and appreciated this quality myself, even as a business owner I prized this quality. As a business owner I loved this quality, especially in someone who valued his work and his employer’s regard above all things as evidenced by showing up on time no matter what the weather and never putting his social or entertainment interests above his job. I loved people who took such pride in their work that they needed little encouragement, not even a living wage. This job was not vital to the health and welfare of the public, did not provide important services to hospitals, the armed forces, or the saving of souls.

These days I am reexamining this position. A work ethic is an important thing. It boosts pride in the worker, and encourages a team spirit among team members that makes workers want to perform with little input from management. My question these days is: how does this WE compare to Stockholm Syndrome? Absent the physical captivity feature, it’s pretty similar. Payment for most workers is inadequate, and even then begrudged by business owners. Complaining, organizing and demonstrating is firmly discouraged, enforced by lower management who is also under compensated.  Right to Work legislation codifies this control. Tax “reform” legislation emphasizes the same “trickle down” effect that we already know does not trickle down. We see how it works, why are we allowing it? Why are labor unions not forming and growing? Why are people not taking their work ethic and putting it to work on their gardens and homes instead of making it possible for corporations to employ fewer and fewer people at lower and lower wages?

This state of affairs is unsustainable. As automation takes over more and more jobs, more people must drop out of the workforce. Should they literally starve? Will we move to a guaranteed income? What will happen? This is coming, no mistake. Can we continue to attack social programs including Social Security and not build a rebellion from the bottom?

The photo it from the lobby of the Mount Washington Hotel in Breton Woods New Hampshire. of course in the modern manner it is now the Omni Mount Washington Hotel, reflecting the new way of frankly and publicly announcing that the ownership matters more than the thing itself. I do recommend the hotel itself.  We went for a few Thanksgiving weekends when we lived on the coast. It's a splurge, but a memorable place.  The lobby alone is a beauty in itself. 

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