This is my fourth post under the banner of Seeing Things in a Different Light which refers to the time when my lights had been dimmed while I was recovering (I’m still recovering) from surgery on a detached retina in my one and only eye.
In economic down turns it is not uncommon for Big Government goes into blame shifting mode and place the blame on free market capitalism, the big corporations and, of course, the evil rich. No one has been more adept at this blame shifting than the Obama administration.
In spite of the unscrupulous behavior of some of the Wall Streeters, we conservatives know that capitalist are responsible for making America the greatest country that has ever been.
Although I, as a life long believer that there is no better economic system than free market capitalism, reject the position of Obama out of hand, I have upon reflection of my own experience in the corporate world come to the conclusion that capitalist in general have not well understood the importance of their workforce.
For the sake of this discussion, let me replace the word “capitalist” with “corporate management”. Since my work experience was all in the mining industry, which is similar to manufacturing, my comments will reflect that experience.
So let restate my concern. In my opinion, corporate management has failed to understand the importance of their workforce. It is my opinion that management should look upon their workforce as a capital investment in the same way they look upon the machinery in their factories. Management understands very well that they must take very good care of their machinery if they are to produce their products in the most efficient manner and maximize their profits or return on investment or maximize shareholder value or whatever other success scale you want to use. But, in far too many cases, management does not see the importance of taking care of their workers.
This current economic down turn we are in is a good example because there is something peculiar taking place. Although unemployment is horrible and companies are laying off workers and the housing market is still in the toilet and gas and food prices are skyrocketing, we see that our corporations are making record profits. From a capitalist point of view, that is a good thing.
What are our corporations doing with their record profits? Some of it is being held in reserve and in this particular economic environment that makes sense. Some of it is paid out in dividends to their shareholders and that makes sense. Some of it is used to reinvest in plants and machinery and that makes sense. and, some of it is used to reward management with bonuses and that too makes sense. But, management doesn’t seem to see any need to share a bit of those record profits with their non-management workers and I think that is a mistake; but, it is nothing new. The hourly workers and middle manage are suffering. Many have seen the equity in their homes disappear. Their wages, in general have not kept up with the rise in their cost of living. These people are angry people like Obama will play on that anger to the detriment of the capitalist; the corporations. The decision not to share their profits with the non-management workforce, in my opinion, is a failure to take care of a very important part of the corporation’s capital investment.
Okay. You can agree or disagree on whether corporations should share some of their profits with the workers. I believe it is in their best interest to do so. But, let me move on to a different point.
What is one of the greatest complaints that employers have about their employees or prospective employees? I believe it is the lack of a decent education. They complain that their employees have abysmal reading comprehension, they can’t write a complete sentence, their math skills are almost non-existent and, worst of all they don’t know how to think for themselves.
Yes, the socialist infiltrated and took over our education system decades ago and are responsible for the poor quality of our graduates today. But, corporate managers (capitalist) are smart people on a whole. They saw what was happening long before the rest of us did. So, since they have a need for well educated employees, why didn’t they protect their interest and do something about it? They, for their own interest, should have been working in their local communities, with community leaders, with the schools and, using publicity to inform the parents. They should have been demanding in the media that the education must produce a better product if the employers were going to be able to continue employing. I believe there is much they could have done and should have done because it would have been in their best interest.
Employers have been complaining for years that there is a shortage of skilled labor: machinist, pipe welders, electronics specialist and, etc. Since no one else is supplying this product they need, why haven’t they done something about it? Why haven’t they done more to work with the education system and/or private entities. In other words, why haven’t they invested in trade schools. It would have been in their best interest.
I could go on and on but I think you see where I am going. Capitalist are supposed to be very good a looking after their own self interest. But when it comes to their workforce, an element so key to the success of their businesses, the capitalist have failed for years to look after their self interest.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?