Sunday, March 6, 2011
Tuesday Night's Drawings & Gossip
Kathy was missing, on retreat with her husband on the family farm, up north. The gossip was that Kathy's husband, an engineer -- of a certain age -- for a German multinational, had been laid off. The company has been moving work from Minnesota to India for some time, and Rick had been able to stay on board until now.
The tribe has claims on its members. In hard times, you share the hardship. In a pinch you work long hours. If it comes to that, you walk the Trail of Tears. Employers usurp the tribe's prerogatives, but aren't bound by the tribe's bond with its member. Work is your life, the biggest single hunk of your precious, finite life. Your colleagues are who you know, your friends. But if the bastards get tired of you, or can get a better offer from some other poor son of a bitch, kiss your friends goodbye. (The "bastards" aren't necessarily wicked. They're clinging for survival to what Paul Hawken calls the planets "new dominant life form.")
In a world that lives on its capital, the irreplaceable stuff we dig or pump out of the ground, nobody's creating wealth. Rick's employer is just a gatekeeper, and so is yours, trying to corner as much as it can of the wealth that belongs to all of us, Americans, Europeans, Asians, Africans, Australians, naked Amazonians with bows and arrows. If you can get hired and you cooperate, they'll dole a little of it out to you every two weeks.
It isn't just the money that matters. It's the ownership, the position, the power. Humans are creative, each of us a born genius. Employers train it out of us, beginning with their proxies, the schools. You have to work, and you're incredibly, ninety-ninth percentile, lucky if your job exercises your kind of genius. If you jump ship, try finding capital for your brilliant idea. Guess who has it. Humans don't need corporations.