Today is November 15th, 2011:
Flash Update: The occupy movements are being kicked out or on the verge of being kicked out of public parks by the police, the economy is still faltering and the middle east is still ripe from uprisings.
I was driving today and an interesting thought came to me as I passed a series of small to medium sized businesses. If we can live in negative or positive peace, could it be possible that our work environment can follow the same path and if this occurs, would a union still be effective?
By negative work environment, I am referring to a workplace where all the rules are being followed, however workers are not seen as human beings, but tools or commodities. What this exactly means is that our current workplace and financial environment is arranged in a way that only benefits a certain portion of the population. You may say, alright we have seen this multiple times on the news, its the reason why those hippies are occupying parks in an effort to scream and yell. While that may seem evident, there is a deeper meaning to this that plays an important role in your life as a worker.
Our society seems to alternate between positive and negative financial eras. During positive financial times, we see people following the rules and everyone given an equal chance to make it and become prosperous through their work. For example: The market as an unbiased medium that allows people to sell either a product or service and build a financial base for themselves. During these positive financial times, the market is seen as running accurately because an equality only paralleled by the law that rests upon us. In this positive era however, people can equally fail as they can succeed.
During negative eras on the other hand, the rules and system are still in place and no large conflicts exist, however things have changed in favor of only a few. Now, because these few are given an advantage, corruption is given the chance to grow and thus affect us all. A lack of regulation and rampant corruption during this time can make a lot of money for the few, while the rest of us end up with the consequences.
Today, we do not fall within a positive era as our financial system has been shaken to it's roots. A negative financial era seems fitting for the financial crisis as a lack of regulation and overall corruption in the form of banks and financial institutions gambling with other peoples money has caused massive instability. Working conditions and the rules are still in place, but even as we attempt to remedy the problem, a very few are still taking advantage and continuing their corrupt ways. The occupy wall street movement should essentially be a reminder to us all that things have not been resolved and we are still in the middle of a conflict. This conflict I believe revolves around the question: Should the financial market parallel a democratic system of governance?
An attempt to answer this question would require a complex analysis of not only how the world currently works, but who the players are. For example: We have an industrial powerhouse called China, who through strict governance imposes extreme socialist rule over it's people, but has opened its doors to international investment. As a result, we have western corporations flocking to Chinese factories for contracts over cheap goods that are sold for a premium. In doing so, we see an almost legitimation over putting pressure on workforces around the world to mimic this. Does it seem right that even in a democratic system where one can voice themselves and be free, we must be subject to corporate tyranny in an attempt to keep profits on the rise and costs down?
More importantly, can our society survive if we continue down a path that prefers a system that races to the bottom as opposed to continuing to support innovation and stability?
Again, the answer to this will vary greatly as many people believe that our current profit driven, neoliberal model is the right way to continue. God forbid you request more support for the people or you might be labelled an evil socialist. Even during good times, it is normal to see a financial hierarchy exist where a CEO will be allowed to earn 100 times more then a basic worker. Granted, the hierarchy requires a lot of work to rise through, but this hurts people more when we enter a more negative era. During a negative era as we are seeing now, a CEO can earn 1000 times more then the basic worker and in doing so is perfectly fine if that extra 0 leads to 100 people losing their jobs, their homes and the stability of their future and their children's future. The ripple effect of this will inadvertently hurt our society as the average education and health level of people continue to fall due to poverty and our overall happiness.
In Canada, our government seems to continue supporting this idea that the market should reign above all and as a result we see many policies being put fourth that target unions and I would even say our right to assemble and voice ourselves. We live in a Canada now that disallows you voice yourself if you believe your being mistreated, even more so if your protest causes a small minority in our society to lose money.
It seems our grandparents and parents created social bubble while they fought for a better lifestyle via working conditions and rights for themselves and us. Now, this bubble seems to be bursting and as a result we the people seem to be suffering. Our rights, our stability and our power as people seems to be faltering and will continue to do so if we do not open our eyes and regain our self confidence.
How do you feel about this? Do you think our current system is at risk of toppling due to our reliance on cheap and undemocratic methods? Can the market return to a more stable and equal realm or have we gone to far to the point where the rich will remain leaders over the poor?