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July 16, 2008

Why Do We Allow This System?

-- by Dave Johnson

I have been writing about the Campaign to Improve Assisted Living -- please visit their website.

I'd like to talk about the larger picture. The other day I asked Who Is the Corporation

So here is the thing. When you talk about a corporation doing something, who are you talking about? In reality you are talking about a few PEOPLE, not some anonymous corporation, PEOPLE. And when you talk about the people of a corporation you are not talking about Bob in Sales or Mary in Accounts Receivable. They are not the people who make decisions -- they aren't even asked. They are told from the top how it is going to be. When you talj about a corporation doing or saying something you are really talking about A FEW PEOPLE and the things these people do and say are not for "the company" they are necessarily for THEMSELVES. Corporations do not have voices or thoughts or ideas, a few people who have control of the resources of the corporation do, and always, always act for their OWN gain.
Today let's take a look at Why?

Here we have a country that allows vulnerable elderly people to be treated as a product to be harvested and workers to be treated as economic units or annoying costs to be replaced if they are not efficient enough. The average worker faces longer working hours for less pay and fewer benefits each year.

How did we get here? When did we decide to have a system like this? Did we ever decide?

Who benefits from this system? In the case of Atria Senior Living Bruce Wasserstein benefits. Other executives at Atria and Lazard benefit. Does anyone else? Why do we allow it?

We used to have kings and feudal lords who "owned" almost everything and told everyone else what to do. People rose up, battles were fought and eventually a compromise was reached. England still has a Queen!

In America workers faced brutal conditions because a few powerful wealthy people controlled the economy and the mines and the mills and the factories. Over time unions formed and fought this and a compromise of sorts was eventually reached. And over time those unions have been eroded and things have been slipping backwards. That is a gross simplification, but here we are.

When do We, the People start to decide what kind of economy we want? In Europe and much of the rest of the world people get five weeks vacation, health care, child care, and rights. That is because the people there understand that they are in an ongoing fight between the people and the powerful, and they still have strong unions. In America a very few get fabulously wealthy, supported by the work the rest of us -- here and in the outsourcing countries -- do.

When will We, the People decide that WE want a better system for US? I suggest taking a look at the SEUI's Accountability Project. This campaign is intended to help all of us, not just their own membership. It's a start. But in your own actions and thoughts, start demanding more. Start demanding that the few ultra-wealthy and the corporations butt out of our system. We are We, the People and We are supposed to be in charge here.

This post was sponsored in part by The Campaign To Improve Assisted Living.

Posted by Dave Johnson at July 16, 2008 8:02 AM

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