Sunday, January 15, 2012

Jobs, labor, disrespect

Moral: Wherein we look at Rick's words on the Bifurcated Society of which we are all (except for the fat cats sitting in their reverie while being divorced from the real world) now intimately aware.


From whence the jobs given that we've optimized out-sourcing (out-housing) to the max and that the newer positions seem to require a high level of numeracy (a bane, if we looked at it -- by the way, this is from one who is quite enough versed in mathematics -- yet, knows the importance of a quasi-empirical stance) which then reduces a whole set of people into uselessness?

At the same time, though, what is consider sub-human, touch labor, has been given to imports who will work for slave wages. And, infrastructure has been allowed to decay. Go to any city and try to not puke (it is sickening - and, we think that we're the epitome - we go around the world and try to impose our views -- as if we're that which mankind yearns for - that is, until they get over here to see the reality). Look at the status of all that work done by people (the ancestors of current Americans) in programs (CCC, for example) that were meant to keep people employed while improving our living situation. These people were not, nor were you, the progeny, degraded by this honest type of labor. Sheesh! America, without a proper infrastructure -- including the cyber type, does not live up to the potential.


My pity go to those who are so rich that they can't smell their solid output. Please, go live, without any assistance, sometime, in a hell-hole of a barrio, slum, or what have you (which, we might say, was created through the actions, and decisions, of your ancestors). To be reasonable, let me re-iterate that near-zero applies here (yes, your gain came at the expense of many others -- including the planet itself -- oil companies thinking that they own this natural resource -- pure crap).

By the way, we'll get back to looking at this using symmetry in an unorthodox manner.


Rick mentions his thought that virtual manufacturing could help. My caution would be to add constraints that prevent us from driving people like machines through computational models. In fact, this already happens.

Picture this! Sitting at a tube is someone who could not lift a 50 lb weight, yet that person is allowed, through scheduling and other means, to guesstimate how long a physical task will take (mind you, never having done that thing his/her self) and to plan some sequence that is outrageously inhumane and categorically stupid.

Aside: A corollary is someone sitting at a scope, applying gaming skills, and offing people (how to show? -- that is metaphysically atrocious, from several angles). Then, we give them medals?


I'm not a Marxist, but that guy had some things right (the twerps who run businesses, many times, are without any talent beside the ability to squeeze profit out of the workers and the customers without any thought for tomorrow -- and our great-grandkids' future) in several cases. He, by the way, used creative destruction. Somehow, the right-wingers usurped the thing (ah, interlopers everywhere one looks).


I haven't seen it, but we need some type of solution to be defined that makes sense in creating a balance. One would work with one's mind and body, every day. In fact, the latter would be done on something useful, not running to the gym and wasting one's energies. Then, the lower safety net would need some attention. However, we also need limits on the uppers (yes, like Warren, et al). Now, any type of coercive approach would be problematic. So, providing the ways to view this, with wisdom, would help some see the errors of their ways. Warren gave away a lot of his money. My question to him would be this: does he think that this act counters the karma (not strictly used, rather a commonly known term that suggests the reality) related to all of the near-zero side-effects that his decisions have accrued over the years? Same goes to Bill Gates. I've already brought this up to Jobs.

Well, I'll ask Mitt about that, too. Bain? Oh, I keep reading bane (especially, hedge funds).


We can look at Wichita, KS for an example of disrespect. Boeing is pulling out. Some say that the withdrawal started when McDonnell Douglas was bought by Boeing. Their head, Harry, didn't like KS for some reason. One thing in the later 1990s demonstrated this. He was actually booed by his workers at a meeting where he was trying to argue against the union's attempt to extend their services to a larger set of workers. Some remember the threats to pull out.

Turns out that six years ago, a few local managers allowed the beginning of this by helping with a buyout (private capital). So, a whole bunch of Boeing was sold off. The unions were toyed with. Thousands lost their jobs and pensions (that's a story for another time). At that time, many workers fled to the Boeing side in order to not have to deal with the new company.

Over these years, the tanker deal was worked out. Remember that Boeing was able to get the Air Force to withdraw its contract with Airbus and its American partner? In the rerun, Boeing won. Of course, KS people worked on the contract and expected to be part of the resource mix. Turns out, of late, that, no, there won't be any work at the Wichita plant.


To put that in context, remember that there were thousands, many of them good, workers who gave heart and soul to the Company. Everyday, we have people in situations where their love, in this sense, is unrequited (managers love a company, or is it the money?). For many, financial independence is far from their grasp. Why? It seems that the cards are stacked against this. First of all, going into a company is analogous to becoming an indentured servant. Then, whatever creative talent that you have is grabbed by the company as if it owns you as chattel, almost. That's understandable somewhat (isn't the argument, they make the job available, you don't have to take it -- disrespectful view, that it is), but then when people are squeezed dry, they're plopped out on the street.

With the recent downturn, we saw many who lost employment in their later years; building an adequate basis for the older years is something that needs to be done throughout a lifetime. In many instances, recovery after losses (the whole idiocy of 401K dropping their value is one thing that did not have to happen) is not possible due to several factors.


Boeing, of course, has a right to move. Yet, one wonders if there were any lessons learned by managers with regard to ethics (problems splashed across all of the papers, at one time). In 2005, the ethics consultant was touting this as the basis for ethical behavior. Guess what this is or was? I don't know if the consultant is even used nowadays. Some seem to think of ethics in terms of case-based considerations (situational, in nature) that are hard to pin down. Well, 'this' was the golden rule. Yes, imagine such a business environment (we could actually get to something similar with a Magna Charta, with labor getting more respect).


06/08/2014 -- Does time tell?

12/15/2012 -- Coase, on the subject of firms.

06/08/2012 -- Stiglitz talks inequality with Conard.

06/07/2012 -- We cannot recapture the innocence lost by the 'flower' generation who now glower with power. But, we can heed Hitch about speaking truth to power. Too, we can think of the burdens being put on future generations that are of a new type; even those exploiting the situation do not understand the depth of these problematic economical notions. One concept to apply is 'irreversible' process.

05/30/2012 -- As covered by flightblogger.

05/04/2012 -- A recent filing relates to this theme.

01/17/2012 -- Yesterday's USA Today had a good editorial about private equity, motivated by the interest in Bain because of Mitt's prominence. We'll have to look more at this. They (the pes) make their money,  oodles when things go well; they make a little less otherwise (but, in this case, the cost is offloaded to all of the workers who lose jobs, pay, pension, and insurance. The atrocity? The pe techniques can actually end up eating away pensions of the little guy!) Hawker, in Wichita, is a recent example that is still unfolding. As well, the issue mentioned Apple's problem with sweatshops. What was Steve thinking? 

Modified: 06/08/2014

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