Corporate Greed

We are in a unique period in our history. Forces are at work to destroy America and our way of life. Below are two examples from my own life that illustrate this fact:

Story One:

In 1994 I worked for GE as Senior software developer. This was before outsourcing jobs became a national subject. GE started using the H1B's available to import programmers from India who worked for TATA. We were told that GE was going to open an office in India and we should help these people learn the business. Since outsourcing wasn't even in our vocabulary, we didn't feel threatened.

So for 2+ years they cycled through our offices, staying from 3-6 months before going home. We had to take cultural acclamation classes to understand their culture. We taught them the business and even complained to management because we found that their salaries were so far below the minimum salary for the technical jobs they were doing.

This went on for 2+ years before the pink slips began. A few here, a few there. At first no one connected these firings to our friends from India and GE’s new office. Eventually, wholesale firings began and it became clear what was happening. I was fired in 1998. No reason given (no union). Just terminated. The office has now closed and over 100 programmers and support staff were fired.

Story Two:

I now work for a (unnamed) company that makes clothes. When I started in 1999 we had manufacturing plants throughout the South East. On a plant tour, of a manufacturing facility 1/2 hour down the road from our headquarters, I commented to our host that this was a beautiful plant and workers seemed happy and productive. He immediately laughed and said "how productive they are is irrelevant because within a year this plant will be closed". When I asked why, he told me that they could get the same clothes made in China, lose 15% on the boat trip during transit, and our company would still make more money on the product than from this plant.

Needless to say, by 2004 ALL of our American manufacturing plants were closed. New plants were built in Mexico to replace them. Other parts of the manufacturing process were moved to places like Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. Eventually even the Mexican plants were closed because they were to expensive to run. All our goods are now manufactured in Asia.

Conclusion:

I am not telling these stories to provoke sympathy. The point is that corporations are moving more and more plants and jobs offshore. They are crying about the lack of IT and skilled workers of all types and want even more HIB visas. Manufacturing jobs are becoming more scarce by the day. Contrary to corporate propaganda, there are plenty of skilled and unskilled workers in America to fill hi-tech jobs, and the ever decreasing number of manufacturing jobs, that are still available. It's just that corporations are not willing to pay American salaries and benifits to get a job done when they can use illegal or foreign labor to do the job for subsistence wages, with no benefits. That's capitalism at its finest.

Most people are under the misconception that a Corporation's business is to make consumer products or provide services. THAT AIN'T TRUE! A corporation's main business is to make money...PERIOD! Their products or services are simply tools to that end. What they are willing to do to make money is only bounded by what they can get away with legally and illegally. Morals and patriotism are not requirements to make money. Employees are expendable tools to be used and discarded, as required. Corporations do not care about the American people or sustaining our way of life.

The American public is still the largest corporate consumer in the world, but as our wages drop and foreign countries take more and more of our jobs, we will become less relevant to their bottom line each year.

Slowly, but surely, our standard of living is dropping. We are slowly spiraling downward to a 3rd world status and could arrive there sometime this century. An old adage goes, "if you want to cook a frog, don't toss him into a pot of boiling water, he'll jump out, BUT if you put him in a pot of cold water and turn the heat up slowly, he'll boil to death before he realizes he's even being cooked". That's us...little frogs, ever so gently getting the heat turned up from all directions by corporations and their paid lobbyist (our legislators) in Washington. Most people, who do not pay attention to politics (the majority of this country), go about their daily lives seeing bad things happening to OTHER people. They think: "not me, never me". They are complacent because the heat is being turned up so slowly that it doesn't hurt yet. By the time the pain becomes unbearable and they realize what is happening, it will be to late.

Corporations care about one thing... PROFIT! They will be patriotic and wave the red, white, and blue only as long as there is a dollar to be made. They will move an entire corporation overseas if they can make two dollars instead of one. Pure Greed. Throwing thousands of people out of work because each middle class American costs a few dollars more and decreases their bottom line. They don't seem to realize (or care) that they are cutting off the hand that feeds them, by firing workers whose middle class salaries allow them to buy their products. They will do anything for more and more profits.

The American people need to wake up soon and join the fight against corporate greed and to preserve our way of life. We're all in this together people. We either help each other get the message out, OR THEY WIN, and just like the little frog...we're all cooked.

Comments

Heh....and the red, white and blue banners they wave

are probably all manufactured in China.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Excellent story, TKH!

And we all watched it happening over the last 30 yrs, most notably. At first no one cared much, because it was only the blue collar jobs being outsourced. Everybody thought they would be wealthy "Republicans". But then a funny thing happened. These sleazeball corporation execs figured out they could finance schools, and train their own engineers, and professionals overseas, and pay them pitiful wages. And the best part, our government would give them writeoffs to set this up! And what is really more upsetting to me, is seeing the latest polls showing McBush almost tied with Obama or Clinton. This means that many Americans are still wanting more of the same!

Thank You

Unfortunately, the story is true. I wish my experiences were unique, but I know they're not. I personally know of friends in lower paying jobs, like construction, who have lost their jobs to illegal workers, who will work for much less than a living wage, that American workers require. Jobs are being lost across the financial spectrum.

Corporations are ruthless and will do anything for even a small economic advantage over a competitor. Awhile back, the Bush Administration talked about how great the American economy was doing. Unfortunately, they look at the economy from a corporate perspective. They assume that if corporations are doing well, then American citizens MUST also be doing well. This "trickle down" economics theory is crap.

YES, corporations were doing great but at the expense of the American worker. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. How long is it going to be before we see tent cities, full of poor American families, croping up around major metropolitan areas? It's inevidable.

Our economy is spiraling downward at an ever increasing rate. The Republicans know it and just don't give a crap. They care soley for ther own well being and only care about the average American when it affects them financially.

I just listened to some talking heads from the "Cato Institute" praising the benifits of "free tade". They were pushing the free tade agreement, now being considered, with Columbia. Their bottom line was that if Americans lost jobs: Oh well, that is one of the consequences of global trade, and worth it. Republicans used to pretend that they cared for the average American worker, but more and more I hear them openly say otherwise.

They intimated that anything else is protectionism and false redistribution of wealth. BULLSHIT !!! They only care about America as long as they can get something out of it, regardless of the cost to the general population.

I'm sorry...I meant to write a simple reply but once I get going, it's hard to stop..Thanks for the reply to my diary.

TKH

I hear you.

Driving efficiencies. Maximizing profits. Managing resource hours. Leveraging our position in the market. Yikes. Even the language of American business these days feels ... I don't know ... like something unpleasant hidden under a pretty blanket ... like sanitized underhandedness ... and it is all utterly dehumanized.

There are great companies out there who treat their workers so well and make a lot of money. I don't get why some companies are so bad. But then, I think many of the best companies are privately held -- not publicly traded. So, is it the continual need to squeeze out that extra nickel or dime per share profit every quarter that makes the difference? Is that really the end all and be all for a public company's survival? Honestly? Or is it more about stock options and who gets them that makes those extra nickels and "driving efficiencies" and "leveraging positions" such a big deal every quarter? I don't know. I'm seriously asking. I don't get Wall Street markets.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

On target, TKH,

You're right, the heat's been turning up slowly, so slowly for 30+ years. Back then, I watched the company my Dad had worked for for more than 20 years close and start manufacturing Ked's sneakers overseas.

This week I just accepted an assignment to design prototypes for hand painted children's furniture that will be reproduced in China. These used to be reproduced right here in High Point and it provided a lot of jobs for(mostly women)local people who then had money to buy local products that in turn made profit enough for some folks on up the income scale to buy things like the expensive hand painted furniture that we made.

I look at the fancy furniture that will be sent in containers from China for next Fall's Market and wonder, who's got money to buy this stuff now?

It's not that big a leap of imagination for a corporation to see that the continuity of greed on their part will cook us all eventually.

This
People's Capitalism
is the model I hope Americans will adopt in the future

Progressive Democrats of North CarolinaProgressive Democrats of North Carolina

I agree with you.

I believe the Stock Market may be the downfall of us all. With the advent of the Stock Market came shareholders and their ever increasing demand for profits, regardless of who it hurt. There is now a level of anonymity that once didn't exist, making those at the top isolated from their employees or caring about them. Employees are now tools. To be purchased, used, and disgarded as profit demands.

When corporations were privately owned, it was a deal between the copany owner and his employees. There was a symbiotic relationship. The company owner was directly involved with the employees and the products they produced. They worked hard for him and made profits for the family, and were paid a living wage and benifits. Everyone benifited.

That relationship has now changed. There is no longer an owner who works closely with the employees to produce a good product, at a fair price. Where employees felt a part of the process because they knew their jobs were safe as long as they did their jobs.

The Stock Market is widening the gap between owners and employees. Now, with the inclusion of extremely poor workers from foreign countries, the American worker finds him/herself in a wage battle with workers who can't even afford to feed their families.

In order to level the playing field, the American workers living standards will have to go down and at some point meet those of foreign workers whose living standards will increase. I have no idea where they will meet, but I garuntee that the American Middle class wlll be a thing of the past.

Yep, Workers are in a classic

race to the bottom, set up and managed by multinational corporations.

We have to be careful to focus our attention on those who set the system up. We have to be careful to articulate over and over again that we and workers in (and from) other countries are all getting screwed by the same people -- those who set the system up, not each other. If we turn on each other, the multinationals win. If we stick together and put our energy and mass into changing the anti-worker, anti-union, anti-regulation global system, we can all win.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Yeap..that's why I'm a Democrat.

Unfortunately, we have all the cards stacked against us even if we get one of our candidates elected. Both depend upon corporation money, too much, to get elected. I guess most of us are, whether we want to be or not.

Like many other middle class workers, my retirement is tied to my 401k. How the markets go, so does my future. The stock market is the largest gambling machine ever created. We are forced to gamble with our future. I, like most people with 401K, do not actively take part in that portfolio. I check it occasionally, and change things around ever now and then, but am not as active as I should be.

Gambling like this is not my choice, but has been shoved down throat without another option. Maybe we all are part of the problem, but at least, as a Democrat, I want to help change it.

Something to think on, TKH....

I retired from the old 'Bell system companies( Verizon now) and belong to a group called 'Belltel retirees'. It's made up of all the management and non-management retirees, and their aim is to get some representation and fairness. Through talking with many stockholder groups who also felt left out by the board and CEO, they were able to get a 51% vote to require shareholder approval of top exec bonuses. Unheard of before this in big corps! This year their target is to have another CEO position to oversee the operating CEO, and report to stockholders, and not a board of directors! So shit can happen, even to these sleazeball CEOs, who have sold us out over and over! Those 401ks are probably managed by big institutions not always happy when the execs are looting the business with small returns for shareholders. I know these things don't happen overnight, but it helps to spread ideas around, and maybe start some 'seeds of change'.

My wife's father was

an executive at Southern Bell in Atlanta before he passed a couple of years ago. He was the finance guy for the SouthEast. Good company.

I heard something on the radio

the other day that made me actually swerve my car a little bit.

Apparently Verizon is poised to move a bunch of their customer service jobs to Asia (the Philippines, I think), and the company spokesperson actually said, "This is not 'outsourcing', since these will still be Verizon jobs."

Excuse me? Did I miss something? What f**king difference does it make whose logo is on the paycheck? When the job moves offshore, the job has moved offshore.

I wrote the following (in anger) a few years ago and promptly filed it away, but I'm angry again so:

Globalization and free trade

As Americans, we enjoy a level of economic success few other nations in this world can compare with. Even during our few times of financial distress, our per-person average income was still incomprehensibly high in the eyes of a third-worlder.

One of the main reasons for this economic hardiness was due to a relative balance in foreign trade. American goods and services were preferred over cheaper and less durable imports. When anomalies occurred, the American industrial machine responded, bringing the balance back. Today, however, we are faced with a situation that may bring us to our economic knees.

Not only is the American worker competing with foreign goods, he (and she) are competing with foreign workers. American companies are rushing to build factories in third-world countries where the labor (and other operating costs) are a fraction of what they are in the U.S. Even our own government thinks it's okay to "outsource" Federal jobs to foreign operations. In this environment, the American worker doesn't stand a chance.

According to the United Nation's most recent report, approximately one billion people (1/3 of the world's population) are either unemployed or underemployed. If the U.S. continues to allow our corporations to set up shop elsewhere, American unemployment rates could move from the current rate of 6% (or so) to 15, 20 or even 25%. The effects of this on our society would be devastating. Soaring crime rates, spontaneous rioting, marshal law, etc., would be the norm.

In other words, all of the crazy things we see on CNN happening around the world would be happening down the street.

I seriously doubt the 6% unemployment rates we have been

told they are. How are the unemployed counted in the Bush administration? Same fuzzy math that misplaces billions of dollars in Iraq?

We know how jobs have been evaporating here so why should we believe that the unemployment rate doesn't parallel that loss?

I think that fact has been well hidden by easy credit access and people seeming to be well off. Big houses, fancy cars, designer clothing all bought on time, but that time is now about up.

Progressive Democrats of North Carolina

For many years, we have been living in an economic

bubble, protected by politicians who at least cared enough about the American people to want jobs to remain in this country. They knew that the success of this country was built on the backs of hard working Americans. This created, until recently, an ever expanding middle class.

Globalization and free trade have changed that dynamic. As corporations have expanded abroad the distance between the worker and those at the top has increased to where the American worker is simply a tool to be used and disgarded. A tool that can be procurred more cheaply most anywhere in the world. A corporation's success is no longer tied to its workers. World wide, workers are a cheap commodity.

It is unfortunate that the people in most of the countries where the jobs have been moved can't afford the products they produce. They are shipped to American and European countries where the "middle class" workers snap them up.

What Corporations and those who want to move jobs off shore don't seem to realize is that the American middle class drives world economics. WE are the largest consumer nation in the world for one simple reason. The middle class wages and benifits payed to our workers have allowed us to buy the products that corporations produce. We flurish and they flurish.

As jobs are moved off shore, and salaries drop, Americans will consume less and less. We can see this now in the current recession. It is having effects on other economys world wide.

We are spiraling downward at an escallating rate. We are already the largest debtor nation in the world, not the richest. Our infasture (buildings, bridges, roads) is being sold to foreigners and leased back to us.

Our economy may never recover from the current mess, whether anyone wants to believe it or not. Read my other diary to understand more. God protect us. We need help from someone and I've given up on our politicians.

People...we are in deep shit.