Workers are Being Manipulated
By: Todd Smekens
Blog – I’ve spent the last seven years in research and writing mode. My first goal was to research the media landscape – media critic. More specifically, why doesn’t the free press operate like a free press? Why isn’t the Gannett newspaper which predominates Indiana towns correctly holding government leaders to task? My research moved from Muncie to Indianapolis to Washington to the globe. The study evolved from the free press to our democracy and our capitalistic economic system. They are all interconnected. Why are our systems and institutions so dysfunctional and the people they serve so unhappy?
When I first stumbled upon Albert Einstein’s 1949 article titled, “Why Socialism,” I only grasped a few concepts. When he pointed out that voters/citizens couldn’t make informed decisions because all the major institutions were owned by Oligarchs, I was intrigued and went down that path for several years. While I research his concepts, all worker protections were being rolled back in Indiana by Mitch Daniels. After more research, the attacks on labor unions and the workforce was a result of a broader conservative movement implemented by Milton Friedman and other economists financially backed by Charles and David Koch. The scheme was convincing the American people that jobs moved overseas because unions drove wages too high. Their con game on many Americans.
Killing off unions turned out to be a small part of a major global movement called Neoliberalism birthed by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. However, Albert Einstein recognized the problem with our society and its systems back in 1949:
Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an “army of unemployed” almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers’ goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence. Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all. The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before.
This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism.
This was written over seventy years ago. Due to Oligarchs using their power/money to shape government policy, capitalism has only grown more “evil.” Our economic system and system of laws/policies benefit the donors/Oligarchs. Remember the phrase, “Those who have the gold make the rules.”?
Another point from the above Einstein quote was productivity. I’ve written countless articles showing where all productivity gains over the past several decades have gone to CEOs – not workers. In Indiana, our wages are stuck in the 1990’s even though our productive capacity has increased steadily. Einstein’s astute observation is spot on with all the trends today, “Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all.”
This is the problem. We aren’t a democracy or even a representative republic. We are an Oligarchy where those with the highest economic wealth use their influence to absorb both the free press and public servants. The checks and balances on power installed in our constitution no longer exist. As Einstein pointed out, they were gone in 1949 when he wrote his article.
What was his solution?
Basically, instead of letting markets dictate winners and losers, Einstein recommended a planned economy – mainly democratic socialism. It aligns our morals and human instincts with planned societies. What’s best for the whole versus what’s best for the individual. Read his recommendation carefully with my emphasis added:
I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.
What a concept! Our Oligarchic driven society has taken us in precisely the opposite direction. We’ve focused on competition which satisfies part of our instincts, while completely ignoring our social instincts. Unions helped fill our communicative connection to a community. Without it, we are just towns of individuals competing in a marketplace. How shallow and empty.
Is it any wonder Einstein called capitalism “evil.” Don’t worry; he called communism evil as well because it overemphasizes society without addressing our instincts. If you set up systems which go against the human instincts, you’ll not make a happy nation. The people will be unhappy and unfulfilled and wish to escape via drugs and alcohol along with other escape mechanisms.
The Scandinavian countries have figured it out which is why they always top the Happiness Index. Align society to fulfill the individual. Who cares about systems which produce billionaires if the majority of people are miserable and don’t see the point?
If we prefer a happy life over a meaningless life, we have to create better systems that will accomplish those goals. New structures and systems are even more critical as we merge into a global society. This is what the people want. The Oligarchs are using their money and power to block these progressive movements. Their only interest is the bottom-line because the “market” bases their performance on profits – maximizing shareholder value is the goal taught in every business school across the country, and it’s misaligned.
In the meantime, our corporate state will impose obstacles preventing the people from organizing their collective political power to move the country in another direction. This will take years, but the people will prevail. I’ll explore his recommendations on how to restructure our educational system in a future article.
Our Oligarchic controllers require a significant amount of propaganda to cover up their machinations. Our media is performing that role. Instead of informing us citizens so we can make better, more informed decisions, they dictate the narrative. The American press is nothing more than Empires public relations department. When you consider our sitting president calls all media #FakeNews besides Fox News, you know the propaganda is working.