Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Where is Big Business Taking Us?

Last night I finished reading “We Are Market Basket” by Daniel Korschun and Grant Welker. The whole Market Basket issue was a huge boon and said a lot about the power of people when they are willing to stick together and stick up for each other. It was wonderful to see people band together to support a belief that provides for so many people.

Of course, when all was said and done, all of the Demoulas’ are still billionaires, some even more so. But the people showed they can make a difference. 

I’ve been struggling for some time trying to put words and my thoughts together about the subject of big business and corporate America. So, I am going to go on a rant here, but this is a huge subject and I can only touch the surface. What I am writing here is just a basic overall view. Nothing is black and white. There are always pros, cons, and topics that are not exact. There are exceptions.

I relate corporate America to the feudal lords of old. The owners, CEOs and top shareholders are the wealthy royalty sitting in their castles while serfs and peasants (regular workers) do the work that makes the money for kings and queens and their families. The royals keep their “subjects” far down the ladder with little choice of jobs. It means nothing for the top echelon to buy or sell portions of their holdings, lay people off, change job structures, and put even more demands on the workers that are left. (After all, if a disgruntled employee quits, there are a dozen more looking for a job.)

(Yes, I know everyone has choices, but when people are considered “unskilled” labor, their options of a good job are narrow. Many feel stuck in jobs because there is too little choice. They end up living day to day in fear of losing their jobs. Some end up having to work two or three jobs to make ends meet.)

What I see is that as long as it’s in the name of “business,” good ethics do not matter. Or rather, good business ethics is not good people ethics. It’s all about making money for the top few and they don’t care who they grind into the ground to get their riches; and for them, there is no such thing as too much money.

Then they do a charity event and get all kinds of kudos for doing something good while in the meantime, their workers at the bottom of the ladder are meaningless to them. Workers are not charity. Workers do not need the recognition. After all, if the company gave back to their workers, where would the huge public accolade come in? 

(Yes, charity is needed… there are so many organizations, so many needing help. But what about charity beginning at home, taking care of your own? Oh, wait, they do take care of their own family making sure they are all wealthy. But how many employers actually look out for the welfare of those who work for them?

I look at all those shows on TV where big corporations give away all kinds of appliances, cars, and such. How can these corporations afford that? How can these contestant shows give away $10,000 to $50,000 a week? Someone, somewhere pays for that! It certainly isn’t coming out of the CEOs’ and shareholders’ pockets.

Who is paying is the consumer! If these businesses are able to give away millions (and still remain millionaires), then what is that saying for what they are charging for their products? The imbalance is widening. 

I don’t know what the answer is – but there is an issue here and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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