I came across this HuffPo article this morning and it looks like the kinda thing that's gonna go "viral" or whatever we silly millennials call it, what with all the flashy scroll effects and pixel art. It's a good compilation of the reasons why we millennials are screwed out of the lives we were promised if we just worked hard, and it aaalllllmost gets to the crux of the issue before pulling back as though the "c" word were as naughty as it sounds like it should be when you say "'c' word."
I guess it's called "Generation Screwed." There's not really a title at the top due to all the fanciness.
The decline of the job has its primary origins in the 1970s, with a million little changes the boomers barely noticed. The Federal Reserve cracked down on inflation. Companies started paying executives in stock options. Pension funds invested in riskier assets. The cumulative result was money pouring into the stock market like jet fuel. Between 1960 and 2013, the average time that investors held stocks before flipping them went from eight years to around four months. Over roughly the same period, the financial sector became a sarlacc pit encompassing around a quarter of all corporate profits and completely warping companies’ incentives.
The pressure to deliver immediate returns became relentless. When stocks were long-term investments, shareholders let CEOs spend money on things like worker benefits because they contributed to the company’s long-term health. Once investors lost the ability to look beyond the next earnings report, however, any move that didn’t boost short-term profits was tantamount to treason.
The new paradigm took over corporate America. Private equity firms and commercial banks took corporations off the market, laid off or outsourced workers, then sold the businesses back to investors. In the 1980s alone, a quarter of the companies in the Fortune 500 were restructured. Companies were no longer single entities with responsibilities to their workers, retirees or communities.
All true. Very true. At this point I'm waiting, just aching for that c-word to pop up, because it seems to be on the tip of the author's tongue. But then he goes on to talk about the rise of contract jobs and student loan debt, ending on some vague platitudes about how if we work together we can make some programs that will put some nice bandaids on the problems caused by the real culprit which is FUCKING CAPITALISM.
The author of this article talks a lot about how our financial system and economy and workplace norms have changed and says that we need to adjust with it. What he misses is the fact that the reason Wall Street went this way is because capitalism is spiraling out of control, as is inevitable. Capitalism couldn't be sated by real money. There's just not enough of it. In order to keep expanding and consuming ever more, we had to start dealing in imaginary money. That's what the stock market is. That's what it's for. The circulation of imaginary money is actually the final stage of capitalism. We've been in late-stage capitalism for a long time now, and we millennials are the lucky fuckers who get to deal with the worst of the consequences of it falling apart. Us and the generations that come after. Poor bastards.
Yes, there are ideas about new kinds of unions and new laws that could help the new class of contract workers so that companies can't just call us that in order to give us nothing. And yeah, they might temporarily help us. Until the rich find a new way to screw us over. That's how it goes. The rich invest a bunch of their mass amounts of money into screwing us, we get pissed and fight back, we gain a bit of ground back, and then get complacent while the ruling class plots how they can do a better job of screwing us. It's been happening for decades, and overall, things have gotten worse and worse over time since the 1950s.
Worker's rights haven't seen real gains since the 1930s. We got those because of strong union participation and willingness to fight against police and maybe use a little *gasp* violleeennnceee.
So the ruling class choked all the strength out of unions, gave immunity to the police and made it a death sentence to even look at the cops wrong in some cases, plus cultivated a culture where their form of violence is right and anything against them is the wrong kind of violence. Plus, as much power and wealth as the rich had over the working class back then, they have a shit load more now.
Sooooo what now? Can we really fight against them when they've spent all this time working on making us as powerless as possible while we've just been working to try and have a decent life? You think they're gonna let a couple new laws and weak unions stop them from taking everything from us? Capitalism will let them, until its inevitable collapse.
I just hope at that point people will finally realize that capitalism is the problem and needs to be replaced with something not destined to consume until it implodes. Though it would be nice if they realized it before that. Thanks.