Or Stupidity, depending on your perspective.

 

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Refrigerators are getting smarter, and expensive. / Photo by The Opinant.

 

Capitalist are a greedy bunch. All they care about is making a buck, sticking to the little guy, and buying $40 Million yachts so they can sail around the world tossing plastic bags into the Ocean to kill poor Sea Turtles. (because Rich People are also mean.)

Lets face it, nobody likes Rich people. Well, unless you are a rich person, then you point at other rich people and tell everyone they are the greedy ones. But you? You are the nice sort of rich person. That other guy is mean. He hates Sea Turtles.

About 99.9% of all rich people have dealing with Big Pharm, Big Oil, and Tobacco companies. You know, 401K plans. They are an evil lot who sit in boardrooms and decide the fate of the world, laughing at Climate Change and probably have pet rattlesnakes sitting on their laps as they come up with ideas to suck the life savings out of the little guy. Oh, they smoke cigars. The expensive kind, White Owls.

Beyond the Rich Reptilian Overlords are their myriad of companies they keep a watch on. They scrutinize every payment, every receipt, every second of overtime, and mostly? What color of socks you are wearing that day. Because if most of their workers are wearing white tube socks with red stripes? That might mean a trend is coming, and they will gladly shell out billions into Jon’s Red Striped Tube Sock company stocks.

Never let a profit go to waste.

In reality? Rich people, and their corporations do not work that way. Well, maybe the rattlesnakes, but no. They aren’t like that at all.

 

What motivates Corporate Greed.

 

Money. Because in reality? If you are in business? You need to make money. If you don’t? You are not in business for long. Profit from your business will help you keep up with changing markets for your product, let you expand into new markets, and buy equipment, hire workers, yada yada yada. You get the picture. If you don’t earn a profit, you will die as a business.

This form of capitalism is as old as it gets. When cave men traded neat looking arrowheads for those cool looking beads. Not much has changed. Trade arrowheads that chip too easily, or can’t be put on the end of spear? You might as well kiss those cool beads goodbye.

While a free market system has a fair amount of good to it, there is also some bad. Earl over there may sell knock off arrowheads, and Clem make sell fake beads…because he has discovered plastic! We see this a lot nowadays. And since we do? Competition has become a Blood sport.

 

Lets motivate our workers!

 

One way of getting ahead in the dog eat frog (because dogs don’t eat dogs folks) world of Corporate Capitalism is to keep your workers motivated. Have your managers offer workers incentives to produce better products, give ideas on how to save the company money, find ways to cut costs. And if you do? We will give you, the manager, a bonus.

Uh oh.

Enter the stupidity. Modern companies have come a long ways from arrowheads and bead trade. They compete on a global scale, have a mountain of government regulations to slog through, feel the ever pressing pinch of tighter and tighter profit margins. And they need those profits desperately to survive in this world. Because corporate profits make investors happy, and happy investors are the life blood of corporate America.

One incentive companies offer management is bonuses for cost savings. While on the surface this sounds like a sound practice, it isn’t. Companies are oblivious to human nature, and people, not corporations, are greedy. (Well, they don’t mind a few extra bucks in their bank accounts after it is all said and done sort of greedy.)

So, this practice has led to cutting costs at all costs. If you are going to get a $2000 bonus for saving the company $20,000 that fiscal year? You are definitely going to find something to cut. Trim a little here, a little there and Voila! You now have that $2000 bonus and can take your wife (husband) and kids to Disney World. Or at least to the local water park and then get yourself those new golf clubs you’ve been eyeing.

Yet when you’re done saving the company money, you may find those under you are grumbling a lot. See, to save that money you let the machine that needs to be upgrade get by with cheap repairs. You also took away their steel-toed boots allowance and now their feet hurt, some of the workers have taken to wearing sneakers, but you ignore that little OSHA problem because it saves money. You skipped out on the pest control guy contract, and now you have to borrow the CEO’s pet rattlesnake to take care of the rat problem. The cost cutting was a wonderful idea, but the lure of easy money was just too tempting. Oh and by the way? No need for snow removal, Spring will take care of that pesky snow problem.

 

We choose the Best and Brightest to run our company. And they are cheap too!

 

You could also save money by not promoting Stan. Stan has been with the company for 10 years now, he’s about mid-grade in pay. Very knowledgeable and the workers like him. He will pull the team together, but you are going to have to bump up his pay, and well, he makes good money now.

Better option, hire a kid out of Business College that has absolutely no practical experience in the work place and put him in charge. Everybody will hate his guts, they will slow down production, some may leave for other jobs, and eventually you won’t have any experienced workers in the plant. Yet the kid was cheap. Less pay than Stan was making. Good idea, and hiring the kid over Stan? Well that saved the company $20,000! Woo hoo! Disney World here we come!

And since the kid came up with the idea of Spring snow removal? We can just give Stan an early retirement, save the company money. We can hire two inexperienced workers who will cost the company thousands in lost production and damaged equipment but for the price of one Stan! Wonderful idea!

Has anyone seen the CEO’s rattlesnake?

 

Of course you could just use the Damn Lie.

 

There are 3 types of lies. Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. I would add political promises, but lets stay on topic. Statistics work, but if you know anything about statistics you know they can be fudged.

If you can’t save money by borrowing the CEO’s rattlesnake, nor replacing Stan with the kid fresh out of college, you can just tweak the numbers. It’s not lying…well not really. Just a little percent here, and a little percent there, and you have met your numbers for the quarter. Four quarters equal a fiscal year, and if done with flair and a sense of hard work? You will receive that little extra something at the end of the year. Because we all know, the numbers matter most of all. Especially to Investors.

 

We are killing ourselves by these practices.

 

Ultimately, these practices of rewarding errant behavior will come back to haunt us. We are stuffing our corporations with middle-managers that have not a speck of practical experience. In a few years, those middle-managers will become the top managers. Then things will really go to hell in a handbasket. But, the metrics will look good, and the middle-manager will have saved the corporation some $150,000 on handbasket’s, so it will all work out okay.

While a company must make a profit to survive, making a profit only for the purpose of making a profit is not capitalism. In reality it is a form of bureaucracy which in turn leads itself to socialist views. Those managers, and middle-managers, work in concert to keep this pyramid scheme of bonus related cost savings going. They pump up employees with good feeling ideologies, buzzwords, and equality for all speeches and actions. Stan? The mid-grade pay employee who got passed over for the college kid? We can’t have him working here, because we just can’t have these stand out Stan’s making everyone else look bad. So, it was a good move to hire the college kid. Better idea to retire Stan and replace him with two inexperienced workers.

Corporations have turned a blind eye to the weaknesses of the system that they helped create, and when the poop hits the rotating oscillator? Well now, there are always workers to take the fall. Because managers can use the workers metrics, fall back on individual statistics that didn’t meet the required piece rate. And that worker who acts too much like Stan? The one that wants to stand out and show you (s)he’s got what it takes? Yeah, them! Get rid of them! Because conformity is the new norm. Individuality, dedication, and perseverance be damned.

Then again, that worker didn’t read the handbook. Especially chapter 2, paragraph 4, subsection ii in the handbook. The part says ‘Blame the Worker for a Nice Fat Bonus’. 

 

 

[The Opinions expressed in this blog are for entertainment purposes only. No corporation nor greedy rich person was harmed in the making of this blog. Do not feed Sea Turtles plastic bags. RECYCLE PLASTIC BAGS. Also, despite my assertion, CEO’s do not keep pet rattlesnakes. Well, none that I know of. ]