Thursday, June 29, 2006
Bosses stealing from the poor. Maybe Marx was right.
It's gotten bad in America. If you thought the greed and scandals of the 90's was over, think again. It's so bad the Wall Street Journal is coming out against it.
Folks like John Stossel may think it's ok to play the 'red card' still, but it's not just critics of capitalism that are concerned this time.
What the defenders of capitalism are so upset about is the impact of executive retirement pay on the viability of retirement systems in general.
With one of the best incentives for long term loyalty missing, what can the prognosis be for the long term viability of the established order?
Check out these WSJ headlines:
Hidden Burden As Workers' Pensions Wither,
Those for Executives Flourish
Companies Run Up Big IOUs, Mostly Obscured, to Grant Bosses a Lucrative Benefit
The Billion-Dollar Liability
"The Managerial Revolution" accounts for the failure of lassie-faire capitalism to develop into socialism. What doesn't make sense is why owners have allowed this insurrection to proceed to the point that the managers are now become owners of capital themselves.
"Benefits for executives now account for a significant share of pension obligations in the U.S., an average of 8% at the companies above. Sometimes a company's obligation for a single executive's pension approaches $100 million."
We could be just living in another 'Robber Baron' period in history. But I have an alternative theory. First, I would contend that the peace bought by capitalists during the great depression is coming to an end. America is caught up in a globalization movement that lowers wage demands by the poor. The managerial class has become truly decadent. Even the outrageous legal golden parachutes aren't enough. Many CEO's are willing to bend the law for the near billion dollar payouts.
Second, witness the middle class destroyed. All we have to do is watch the fall of General Motors. We are slowly being split more and more into the "haves and have-nots." Most of the new 'information' jobs pay much less than manufacturing jobs. The pension system most people rely on in retirement is dangerously underfunded. And most experts agree that the pension system is dead.
It's not only the middle class that is in danger, many of the rich are watching their profits being syphoned off by the class they put in charge of making profits for them. What sort of system is the new managerial class ushering in for us? A system which brings with it low pay for most, criminal pay for the highly educated elites who manage . Those elites will bring with them a overly confrontational and broad system of monitoring for the average worker and consumer. We must hope that the next mangerial revolution fails.
Marx on the destruction of capital:
As soon as this process of transformation has sufficiently decomposed the old society from top to bottom, as soon as the laborers are turned into proletariat, ... as well as the further expropriation of private proprietors, takes a new form. That which is now to be expropriated is no longer the laborer working for himself, but the capitalist exploiting many laborers. This expropriation is accomplished by the action of the immanent laws of capitalistic production itself, by the centralization of capital. One capitalist always kills many. Hand in hand with this centralization, or this expropriation of many capitalists by few, develop, on an ever-extending scale, the co-operative form of the labor-process, the conscious technical application of science, the methodical cultivation of the soil, the transformation of the instruments of labor into instruments of labor only usable in common, the economizing of all means of production by their use as means of production of combined, socialized labor, the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world-market, and with this, the international character of the capitalistic regime.
Along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too grows the revolt of the working-class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself. The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralization of the means of production and socialization of labor at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. Thus integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.