Bosses and neoliberal ideologues tell us modern capitalism has changed our lives and the way that we work.
How many of us have had to put up with Human Resource Management? Workers have become used to "key performance indicators", "team working', "appraisals" and a whole battery of measures that go under the rubric of "flexibility" and "modernisation".
The vision of the globalized world that Thomas Friedman offers in his book [The World is Flat - A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century] is a rose-tinted, cheery, bullish version, one that has little to do with reality, according to the authors.
There are no losers in Friedman's flat world - only people for whom it may take a little longer to get their piece of the pie, for example the Chinese sweatshop worker who saves up to educate his kids who then go on to get better jobs and better pay. Of course, Friedman is wrong.
For some, it represents the triumph of free-market capitalism over communism, ushering in democracy, world peace and universal prosperity.
Wal-Mart—the largest private retailer in the United States—is about to completely change the system it uses for scheduling workers’ shifts.
"Labor optimization" is a euphemism for an attack on worker rights. While the implementation of this system is a new tactic in the bosses’ constant drive to increase the exploitation of workers, it is anything but a new push.
It is the right of working people to have jobs free of exploitation.
The sweat shop of old has now become the corporate cube-farm where employees are still required to work long hours without sufficient pay.
Instead of paying workers by the hour, the corporations came up with the ego-assuaging idea of designating nearly all positions as "salaried" which means they are free of overtime costs.
Workers are laid off, their pensions diverted to deceptive "401K" plans that often means they will not be free to retire ~ ever.
Now we go into the next phase of worker exploitation called "globalization". Worker security is forfeited in the name of corporate profit while workers in third world countries are exploited without even the minimal protections of workers in the US.
In December, 2006, Goldman Sachs, a Wall Street financial services company, announced a sixteen and a half billion dollar bonus for its 26,500 employees, an average of $623,418 per employee. Their newly appointed CEO received a bonus of $52,000,000.
With the rain of riches falling upon Wall Street these days, the practice of distributing rewards at the top is picking up steam.
If Karl Marx were alive and well today, and living in America, he might not even recognize the economic system that he critiqued and analyzed in Das Kapital, when he wrote it in 1867. It wasn't a bad call.
All that is needed is a single spark-like China calling in its paper-the debt that the US has accumulated to finance the Iraq war and other catastrophes.