Saturday, 4 February 2012

London's Disappearing Middle Class

The London ON Catapilliar plant is now closing down. This after the union workers refused to take a 50% pay cut to continue on behalf of the multi-national corporation Caterpillar who earned record profits last year

The Global Economy

There's speculation that these jobs will be sent to Indiana where the people are willing to work for less. Regardless of where the jobs go, one would assume they're going somewhere because Caterpillar hasn't announced that they don't actually need these parts anymore, but instead that they're managing costs. These jobs and the wages that go with it aren't viewed as people with families and mortgages or even the backbone of a company as many multi-nationals like to claim, no these are a cost that can be reduced on a balance sheet.

Apple is a prime example of this. 13 Billion in profit on 46 Billion in sales. So about 28 percent of the sticker price of your shiny new apple product is straight profit... but Apple isn't interested in imrpoving the working conditions of the people making these products, nor are we interested in discontinuing to purchase them. People have literally died so that you and I can have an iPhone and a Macbook and so "investors" (See: The 1%) can get their 13 Billion dollars in profit.

"The Global Economy" often referenced by our political leaders and elder statesmen as the cornerstone of the new world we live in, is essentially legalized slave labor. So much of what we purchase is made in China or Indonesia but we don't have any reason to discontinue doing so since in many cases it's the only way anyone here could have anything. If your only job is working 40 hours a week at Walmart, how can you afford to buy anything anywhere BUT Walmart?  I'd suggest going back to my OWS post in November (specifically the "Ignorance" and "The System" sections for further elaboration on this)

The Liar Economy 

What exactly would happen to our economy if we started to enforce monopoly laws, and made things like "up to 50% off" illegal?  I believe in a free market economy where people want or need different things, and make deals where everyone wins. I get what I want, you get my money. I'm nothing short of disgusted by our economy where we advertise deceptively - and so long as it just stays barely within the law, you're good. At a certain point, an organization can completely forgo marketing their product - and instead just start trying to get you to buy emotions. Coke doesn't sell their product anymore. They create advertisements that illicit an emotion. Ideally, a positive one. "Awwwww those polar bears really love each other" - drop a Coke logo over top of it and voila. Coke doesn't need advertising to sell their product - but they market heavily to stop anyone else from getting in this game.

Right now you drink Coke? Good. Coke is happiness. Continue to drink it. Please don't actually start to pay attention to what you're thinking or feeling, we have pills for those emotions. All you need to know is that this "happy" thing they've told you about in story books as a child can be easily acquired with a purchase of a Coke. 

Giving me the illusion of happiness for my money isn't the same thing.

Some want to call it persuasion - but at some point we can just start calling it bullshit. "Talking Points" are standard practice in politics and corporate communications. What does it say about our society that a standard practice of two of the most influential societal structures of our time has found great success in not answering questions, but instead shifting to these points regardless of the question that's asked.

Our friends at Caterpillar aren't leaving because they can't afford to have a plant here. They're moving because there's a bunch of people that you and I will never meet who have a shit ton of money, and want more, regardless of the true costs. The Conservatives will tell these people to move west, where there's a whole other group of rich people ready to exploit them. My suggestion: Start your own business. Learn a trade, find some other small business in town that needs help, clean bathrooms, work on a farm - do ANYTHING but work for a multi-national. Sure, you might get a middle class wage for now - but when they can find someone in China to do it cheaper, they will... and soon enough there will be no middle class.

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