Tag Archives | Corporations

The Myth of Work Vs. The Reality of Abuse

ProductionVia Modern Mythology:

In the wake of yet another collosal political and social disappointment, I’d like to touch on an issue which, frankly, could be the topic of a book. And it’s a book that, if it hasn’t been written already, should be written. It needs to be written, and more importantly, it needs to be talked about.

Every culture has myths about work. What is acceptable for an employee or employer, what the nature of that relationship should be. It is in the benefit of the employer to have myths throughout the workforce that tie their very identity and sense of self worth into how well they meet that employers demands, and if there aren’t forces in place, either enforced through government oversight or the unionization of the workers in some configuration, these myths can run rampant. There is, after all, a word in Japanese for working one’s self to death. (They also apparently have a word for eating one’s self to ruin. But that’s another story.)

(Matt Damon speaks out on the importance of teachers):

This process is not inherently good or bad. As I said in the chapter on initiation in The Immanence of Myth, the prescriptive nature of indoctrination may sound ominous, but many of us know what humans become when left to be feral creatures. They can hardly be called human, at all.

However, this process can still break down in any number of ways…

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The Final Nail In The Supply Side Coffin

md_horizTaxes are low and corporate profits are high, but nothing is trickling down to the American worker.

If politicians are going to continue kowtowing to every whim of the rich, can they at least think of a new excuse? Via Salon:

The theory of supply-side economics tells us that if you cut taxes on rich people and corporations, the moguls and businessmen will take their windfall and invest it, creating jobs and accelerating the rate of economic growth. The benefits of a light hand on the upper class, therefore, will “trickle down” to the working man and woman.

Ever since Ronald Reagan first attempted to make supply-side economics a reality and proceeded to inaugurate an era of persistent government deficits and growing income inequality, it has become harder and harder to make the trickle-down argument with a straight face. But we’ve never seen anything quite like the disaster that’s playing out right now.

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Disney World’s Army Of Intern Burger-Flippers

disneyAt the world’s most beloved theme park, thousands of interns serve the fast food, operate the rides, and mop up children’s vomit in what is billed as an “educational experience.” Is this the economic model of the future? Via Guernica:

Like other employers, Disney has mastered how to rebrand ordinary jobs as exciting opportunities. “We’re not there to flip burgers or to give people food,” a fast food intern told the Associated Press. “We’re there to create magic.” Yet training and education are afterthoughts: the kids are brought in to work. Having traveled thousands of miles and barely breaking even financially, they find themselves cleaning hotel rooms, performing custodial work, and parking cars in the guise of an academic exercise.

Like many a corporate titan, Disney likes to give the impression it’s in the education business. Disney University, born in 1955 as the company’s training division, predated McDonald’s Hamburger University, Motorola University, and others, prefiguring what Andrew Ross has called “the quasi-convergence of the academy and the knowledge corporation.”

In its scale, the Disney program is unusual, if not unique.

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Is Myth Dead?

MythAn excerpt from the upcoming Immanence of Myth anthology:

It may seem that the word “myth” has lost its meaning to us as a psychological or spiritual term. No, the situation is more drastic than that. Myth has become the opposite of fact, something that is generally accepted but untrue; “it is a myth that reading by flashlight ruins your eyesight.” The popular television show on the Discovery Channel, Myth Busters, uses this definition, attempting to disprove “myths” with something vaguely resembling science. The myths of antiquity are looked upon as quaint stories, despite the fact that they have shaped our cultural history. It is neatly overlooked that myths remain at the center of the bloody stage of modern religious, national, economic or ideological dynamics, not to mention our personal and everyday lives.

The fact that the word “myth” has become synonymous with untruth belies an underlying shift in the Western epistemological focus over the past several thousand years.

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Subway Passes McDonald’s As Dominant Global Fast Food Empire

4391792054_68563dfe0aIn the grim future years to come, we will be mandated daily to eat not a McDonald’s burger, but a Subway sandwich. Some credit for Subway’s ascension goes to the chain’s willingness to expand fast food franchising to nontraditional locations such as schools, churches, and bodies of water. CNNMoney introduces our new corporate overlords:

Subway has surpassed McDonald’s to become the world’s largest restaurant chain in terms of units, the sandwich company confirmed Monday.

Subway had 33,749 restaurants around the globe at the end of 2010, said company spokesman Les Winograd. McDonald’s had 32,737 at year end, according to a February regulatory filing from the burger giant.

“Last year was actually pretty average for us, growth-wise,” Winograd said. “We aim to open between 1,000 and 2,000 locations globally each year.”

About half of the company’s unit growth is overseas, Winograd said. Subway now has more than 1,000 locations in Asia, and it just opened its first store in Vietnam.

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Corporations Versus Individuals: The End of the Left/Right Paradigm

Nolan chart. Source: Camilo Sanchez (CC)

Nolan chart. Source: Camilo Sanchez (CC)

Looks like the New World Order isn’t going to be a global Big Socialist Government (unless, perhaps, you count corporate socialism). Barry Ritholtz wrote in September of last year:

Every generation or so, a major secular shift takes place that shakes up the existing paradigm. It happens in industry, finance, literature, sports, manufacturing, technology, entertainment, travel, communication, etc.

I would like to discuss the paradigm shift that is occurring in politics.

For a long time, American politics has been defined by a Left/Right dynamic. It was Liberals versus Conservatives on a variety of issues. Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice, Tax Cuts vs. More Spending, Pro-War vs Peaceniks, Environmental Protections vs. Economic Growth, Pro-Union vs. Union-Free, Gay Marriage vs. Family Values, School Choice vs. Public Schools, Regulation vs. Free Markets.

The new dynamic, however, has moved past the old Left Right paradigm. We now live in an era defined by increasing Corporate influence and authority over the individual.

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Vermont Proposes Resolution To Ban ‘Corporate Personhood’

0Talk about a victory for common sense, in the face of one of the most harmful and breathtakingly idiotic judicial precedents in U.S. history. AlterNet reports:

A year ago today, the Supreme Court issued its bizarre Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections as a form of “free speech” for the corporate “person.” Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the dissent, had the task of recalling the majority to planet earth and basic common sense.

“Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires,” wrote Stevens. “Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”

Fortunately, movements are afoot to reverse a century of accumulated powers and protections granted to corporations by wacky judicial decisions.

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