Saturday, 22 August 2015

Working in a Neo-Feudal Corpocracy

Reports about the Work 'Culture' at Amazon puts the spotlight on one aspect that the current version of a Free Market Economy (dubbed 'Capitalism') seems to carry to its logical conclusion: in a world devoid of any moral yardstick the ego of the few controlling the profit maximising at all cost company people are just disposable inputs.
This form of Capitalism has worked surprisingly well for a long time (but so has slavery and feudalism) as the people at the helm (owners or their agents) had some sense of noblesse oblige and were also restrained by some inner moral or societal compass.
Capitalism will always have an image problem as its success seems to be reliant on a Darwinian model of markets: One side wins when the other side loses, i.e. if you want ever-rising profits you have to squeeze the people working for you. But the invisible hand does not work as Adam Smith thought. His model of the economy might work for the neighbourhood bakery. It assumes perfect competition and free entry to the market. When you and your employer clash you just walk down the street and open your own bakery.
And while this model works to some degree - nearly all businesses have competition - it only works to a degree.
As long as the 'Capitalist', the owner of a firm, calls the shots when dealing with an atomised workforce there will not be a proper balance in the business world. In the case of Amazon only a united representation of the workforce will be able to deal with actual or perceived abuses.

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