by George Wilson
Everyone reading this knows what it’s like to be unemployed or to have their hours cut. Everyone knows unemployment and bad hours is a problem but little do people realize what causes the problem. Everyone has their own answer depending on who you ask: some will say it’s the immigrants stealing our jobs, some will say outsourcing, bad economy etc. The job market is a real thing and it’s affected by real causes related to the formation of our economy and how we go about distributing our national goods.
We’ve all heard of the whole Occupy Wall Street movement, which for the most part came out in protest for the lack of jobs for workers and the student coming out of college who can’t find work. You may have also heard of the recent repression of this movement and the passing of that new bill which grants the US military the right to detain you indefinitely for whatever it considers an offense against the government (including protesting which is protected by the bill of rights!). So, the question is: what is the source of all these issues? Why is the government acting so harshly upon the people who are simply trying to earn a living or who are protesting because they can’t earn a living? The source of unemployment is the companies we’re supposed to get jobs from!
The economy we live under is called capitalism – privately-owned companies competing in a market. Capitalism brings a bunch of people together in a single workplace or company where each person has their own specific job to keep the workplace running. Imagine a place like a UPS warehouse or a Wal-Mart store; hundreds of people working to make the owner of the company profit, and to get a paycheck so they can pay their bills. As time goes on, more and more people are concentrated into a workplace or a city where there is supposedly plenty of work to be found. So, on the one hand, working actually brings society closer together as they all work to produce the goods and services society needs to live, but that the same time, all these goods are actually owned by the rich people who own the company and “supply” jobs.
So what happens when all these giant companies are competing against one another? In order to stay competitive they have to cut costs and make the workplace more efficient. If you’ve ever worked at a grocery store or been to one, you see these “self checkout” counters. This allows you to run four checkout counters with just one person instead of four to eight (one to scan the groceries, and one to bag them). Two things happen when these machines are introduced. Firstly; it replaces the need for actual people. Secondly; it simplifies the available jobs, therefore lowering the pay. After a while, this results in a huge amount of unemployed people competing for the same low-paying jobs. All so some rich guy can get richer at our expense!
If that wasn’t enough, the rich people use this ever-growing pool of unemployed people for busy seasons, like Christmas, when they need the extra help, only to throw them out on the street after the season is over. Prices need to be adjusted to the amount of money people make. So, if there is a giant amount of unemployed people trying to get the same low-paying jobs, it gives the owners of the companies an excuse to keep the paychecks low, just so they “cut costs,” again, at our expense.
The government needs to make sure people don’t get angry at the rich, because the government is there to protect the rich. At first they make welfare programs so we aren’t completely displaced. When that doesn’t work and people start to protest they bring out the cops and military to start bashing heads. That is exactly why the government just passed that bill, and why they crushed the Occupy Wall Street movement- to protect the rich who are the cause of all of this to begin with. If we want a better life for ourselves, and for our kids, we have to understand that capitalism is the real issue. The productive capabilities our society has are limitless – there is literally enough to feed, house, and clothe the entire country and most of the world. Capitalism does the job of combining all these industries, but it divorces the worker from the goods and services we produce. We have to organize and we have to have a revolution. Once we get rid of the rich middle man, these goods and services will be the social product they are meant to be.