The Dignity of Labor

Depressing and obvious:

“Employers once wanted long-term relationships with their workers. At many companies, that’s no longer the case. Businesses are asking employees to work harder without providing the kinds of rewards, financial and psychological, that were once routine. Employers figure that if some people quit, there are plenty of others looking for jobs.

‘Wages are stagnant, jobs are less secure, work is more intense — it’s a much tougher world,’ said Paul Osterman, co-director of the MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research. ‘Employers have become much more aggressive about restructuring work in ways that push for higher levels of productivity.’”

There was a time not that long ago when you could, with a straight face, argue that one of the strengths of the American economy is the flexibility of workers who didn’t expect cradle-to-grave job security from a single company like they did in the 1950’s or 60’s.  If you had the professional chops, go somewhere where they’ll pay you more.  Hell, in the 90’s it was practically a badge of honor to jump ship as many times as possible.  It meant you were in demand.

Cue 2013, and it’s clear that some of that old-fashioned job security is something people are now so desperate for.  It’s a society-wide race to the bottom.

Why nurture an employee and make sure they and their family are reasonably well off when somebody is willing to do the job for half as much with no benefits?

Hell, one of America’s most “successful” companies (Walmart) actually helps their employees sign up for food stamps.

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