by Bud White
One of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated on the American populace is this notion of “Job Creators” being the ones we must coddle, provide every incentive imaginable and otherwise treat with kid gloves in fear they may take their creative wonders somewhere else and leave us jobless and destitute.
Well here’s a news flash: They have already taken many of the jobs somewhere else and left the country destitute. It is obvious the current strategy did not produce the desired results.
To get to the bottom of this hoax one must come to the realization that these movers and shakers are not motivated by some benevolent sense of societal obligation to give everyone a job. They are first and foremost motivated by maximizing revenues and reducing costs in their organizations as a means of increasing their own personal wealth. They don’t create jobs, they simply hire people. And only when they absolutely cannot accomplish their goals without doing so. And paying employees the least amount possible is a way of reducing costs. This is the way it works in business. It is not necessarily a bad thing as long as they, and everyone else as well, understand the true source of their wealth.
It is in this area that things have been turned upside down. Presently these titans of industry and finance believe they are the sole reason for their success and it is due to some exalted level of intelligence on their part, an unparalleled work ethic and in many cases shear entitlement.
And this message has been repeated to the point that not only do they believe it, but they got just about everyone else believing it too. This isn’t the first time this paternal explanation has been used to justify why some people deserve all the wealth and everyone else should just be happy with the paltry scraps thrown out the back of the cart. It was used to perpetuate the enslavement of a group of a people who were said to lack the intelligence or motivation to take care of themselves. Later, Social Darwinism was used to explain away the excessive levels of inequality of the first Guilded Age. And the modern day Conservative revival of the past four decades is steeped in this misdirection that all our problems are caused by undeserving lazy poor people, welfare queens, immigrants, degenerates and otherwise parasitic miscreants.
Lost in the telling of this myth is the fact most of those supposedly undeserving masses actually work and are an integral part of the process that makes it possible for those at the top to amass their obscene wealth. Without the employees the organizations that generate that wealth would not be able to function. Also it is those very same employees who go out and spend what income they can at those very same organizations, thus providing much of the source of the wealth that moves through the organization.
The problem is the hoax is so ingrained in our national psychic that the devaluation of the role of the employee is unquestionably accepted and the importance of those at the top is grossly exaggerated. Couple that with an economic collapse perpetrated by many of the most egregious abusers of this dynamic and it is no wonder the average employee is afraid to challenge the authority imposed on them.
Through all this it is important to remember similar abuses of the past were overcome and can be used as encouragement and example for action today. Slavery was abolished through an incredibly long, persistent and costly effort. The labor abuses of the Guilded Age were corrected through decades of efforts founded in the populist labor movement. Inequality, no matter the form, can be overcome. Women finally got the vote. Jim Crow laws were dismantled, although there are efforts to today to revive them in many forms.
Recently Walmart and McDonalds employees have joined in protest to demand higher pay. This is no different from the protests against unsafe work conditions by the garment workers in the streets of New York a hundred years ago. And the arrest of those McDonalds workers is much like the armed strike breakers sent to beat down mine workers. It is the same today as it was then. Unless people join together, stop blaming the victims, refuse to accept the myth and demand change, it will be business as usual. Those at the top have been the sole beneficiaries of the myth and they have no motivation to change as long as the myth continues.
Despite the fact that their level of intelligence actually isn’t that much greater than most, they are certainly not stupid, at least for the most part. There are always exceptions of course. If they perceive a sea change, they will be more willing to come to the table. Not enthusiastically perhaps and definitely not without fighting back. And if the public continues to be fooled into thinking the myth is truth, then those at the top are perfectly justified in their perception that those below them are truly less intelligent, lacking in moral standard and not deserving of a greater share.
It is time to throw aside the myth and begin the long path to correct the imbalance. It is time to recognize the value of everyone all along the economic scale, not just those at the top. And it is time to make those at the top realize the same. It won’t be the end all, but it is an essential step. Without it, any efforts to increase the share of the wealth more equitably among everyone will be all the more difficult, if not impossible.Tweet