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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Saturday 3 March 2012

Buyer Beware: If Your Trade is Money, You Still Have To Deal With People

What disturbs you most about this picture; that people are walking by nonchalantly, or that the homless guy has a pet he can't take care of?  We revist this at the bottom.

 I got all excited about the title of this article – then saw how clearly its author wasn’t connecting the dots herself.  It was, to say the least, disappointing.

Francis’ approach is not an atypical one for someone with an aggressive, pro-capitalist mentality.  She talks about economy and policy through a focus on commodity prices, the tax base, export markets, etc. 

The only time she talks about actual people is through a financial lens.  Health care costs, education costs, social expenditures outpacing economic growth, etc.  Immigrants are equated with additional taxpayer expenses.

“Tough-minded” folk like Francis take the approach that it’s a dog-eat-dog world, you have to stay competitive to get ahead, etc.  The only people we should encourage are the ones willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.  When it comes to business or politics, caveat emptor is the name of the game.

Of course, it’s this mentality that led to the spectacular rise and rapid decline of the capitalist system, just as it spurred the growth of and has now spurned support for the Conservative Party of Canada.

The big “risk takers” in the capitalist system aren’t the bravest – they’re the trickiest.  They’re the ones who find ways to download the consequences of risk to those with less money or less guile; that is, the lower-class, the disposable employee, the uneducated who spend without proper planning.  This might have been a model that worked back when Western feudalism or early in the industrial age, but it doesn’t cut it any more.

In the days where the rich sold products made on the back of cheap leabour to each other, crime was a bigger issue, as were epidemics.  The more condensed communities got, the worse the problem became.  Conversely, as public health care and centralized social service delivery grew, life got better.  Income disparity shrank as education, diversity, health and safety were regularized.  This trend led to the development of the modern middle class; the very group that is currently being squeezed.

As the “tough-minded” people sought ways to get ahead, they found increased justification for doing so at the expense of their less hawkish social peers.  What has resulted?  An increasingly polarized society with both ends embittered against each other.

Yet, the 1% simply cannot exist without the 99%.  You can’t run a business without people; you can’t compete in today’s emerging markets without properly developed and accommodated cognitive skills.  Labour is a transaction – a person sells their skills to an employer who benefits from the resulting products or services.  In this case, it’s the employer who needs to keep “buyer beware” in mind; if you’re not willing to invest in your human resources, it’s your own productivity that will suffer.
If you said that the homeless guy isn't fit to have a pet - what say you to the countless employers who are routinely causing stress-related illness in their employers, reducing their own productivity?
It's time for a systematic rethink.

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