Monday, April 13, 2009

The Punches Just Keep On Coming

I’m letting go of art and kitsch for this post to get down to the nitty gritty reality that people across this country are losing jobs, out of business signs are popping up on every corner, real estate is a complete bust and the American car industry is almost non-existent.

So the question on everyone’s mind is: how did we get here? How did we arrive at this point?

I can answer that by quoting either Republican or Democratic ideologies or by spitting out economic theories by John Maynard Keynes or Adam Smith. But why repeat what’s already been said and written? Especially since, at the end of the day, I truly believe it comes down to one very simple thing: Greed.

Why did the automotive industry ask for bailout money in their jumbo jets? Greed. Why did people ask for loans they could never pay back? Greed. Why did the real estate industry build houses they could never expect to sell? Greed. Why has tax evasion exploded in the last couple of years? Greed.

It’s plain and simple and what astonishes me is that people continue to be greedy and are indulging in practices that hurt the overall economy and will hurt them in the future as well.

Take, for example, the company I work for. Today, a total of eleven people were laid off. This is the third round of layoffs in less than a year’s time span. The CEOs and other higher ups decided that, instead of taking a pay cut, they would just lay off a couple of people and increase the workload of those that remained.

My translation of that decision: forget quality and increase quantity. Produce: you are a money making machine.

I admit - for those that don't know me - that my political ideologies stem from extremely leftist views. But I don’t believe that a person can ever be too radical when it comes to consideration, selflessness and generosity. If each of us was willing to make some type of some small concession - maybe a pay cut or perhaps decreasing our working hours - then layoffs would either stop occurring or happen less frequently.

I think these harsh economic times should be used as a moment where we reveal the best we have to offer instead of the worst. How will history judge us? My answer: either as a generation so steeped in greed that we ruined ourselves or as a generation that took a long and hard look at our past decisions and used our mistakes as an opportunity to incite social and political change.

4 comments:

  1. I appreciate your attempt at being nuetral but the republicans and democrats have equally ruined the economy. Obama's plans (keynes) are horrible and history has refuted Keynesian policies but the Republicans are hypocrites when they oppose Obama's spending because they voted for wasteful wars. Both parties should be tossed out of America, the federal reserve should be abolished, Clinton, Bush and Obama should be arrested for treason. Anyone who voted for Obama, Bush, Reagan or Clinton has no right to talk about the economic problems.

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  2. Anonymous, can you suggest a better alternative? I'm not saying I agree or disagree with your statements. But you do express an opinion that needs to be backed up with thoughtful rhetoric. Besides, as you mentioned, my post was not intended to attack any particular ideology. It was intended to follow the 'act locally, think globally' motto.

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  3. Hi Larrissa I am not from the Keynes school of economics either and my alternative would be Ron Paul. He isn't perfect but on the big issues that matter he would have made a big difference. Government spending is out of control and has been for three decades. Anyway as far as your blog - I am from the Friedman/Austrian school and even I agree with you. These corporations refuse to go without luxury vacations and will fire employees so they can keep their frivolous perks. I saw it at K-Mart when I worked at their headquarters before they merged with Sears. The CEO was making $11 million per year while they were laying off tons of people making $30,000 per year. Disgusting. Good Blog though and I hope you don't suffer too much from the greed of your bosses.

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