Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Privilege Not a Right

With the job situation so rough in America right now, there's a lot of discussion going on about jobs. Just about everyone agrees that we need more jobs here, but people are not discussing what value a job really is. Considering that the majority of jobs being added to the economy pay less than the average jobs they are replacing. And consider that many of the jobs being added are positions that pay based on speed, not skill.

As this article points out, the idea of the American Job is changing. It is no longer something people feel is their right, but is turning into a privilege. And when something is a privilege, it is not something people expect or demand, but are simply thankful to have. If that's the mentality, as the article shows, workers are willing to put up with much more for much less.

It  used to be that a job was something that the American People demanded. It used to be a badge of honor to have a good-paying job, especially in the blue-collar world. Now, those jobs are becoming so scarce that to have one makes people feel as though they are somehow beholden to their employers, when it used to be the employers that were beholden to the employees.

When you make a job a privilege, you take away any sense that it is a right, and people stop fighting for it, but are simply thankful for what they have. What happens when they no longer have to give a minimum wage, or when everything is production based? Read the article. Look at what happened in that one setting when pay was based on how quickly you worked. And forget about demanding better pay or treatement because there's somebody else who will do the work without complaint.

The American worker is being consistently devalued in their own country. Jobs are moved overseas, or come with fewer benefits and less security. They come to the few, and those few are left at the mercy of their employers, who know they now have more control over their workers than ever, because they are less likely to rock the boat when they know they're lucky to have a job to begin with.

In this environment, coupled with low economic demand and increased automation technology, employers have every incentive not to hire and to keep unemployment high. As long as they meet the present demand, there's no difference.

So how do we change that? How do we revert back to the frame of mind that says a job is not a luxury and should not be treated like a gift? I'm not sure of the answer. Any suggestions?

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