So the money is there, the competitive pressures are taking shape, and the path is not that hard to find, so why are we poised on the brink of desparate measures?
Think about what the corporate management did in the 80s and 90s. They padded their compensation schemes by building inflated pyramids of support staff with hyped make-work in the 80s as women entered the workforce in large numbers, in short they saw us coming just like they did at the turn of the last century when the black rural workforce was migrating to the city for jobs. The economics of their bad decisions forced years of 'downsizing', yet top management salaries only increased with their slick hype about how much skill and strength it required to accomplish these massive dislocations. Stockholders, the media, the government and the onlookers all bought it. No one demanded accountability for the bad decisions that created the unsustainable hierarchy. On the contrary, this new turmoil was the basis to increase top management's compensation on top of the padding.
The stats now on wages show where the productivity benefits due to the increased workloads of the remaining staff are going. Guess what.
The corporations are now greedily sitting on the earnings after cutting American labor out of the equation when the productivity benefits were reaped by their downsized crews with oversized workloads. Top management thrives on short term profits from our demise and will blame 'the consumer' now for 'lack of confidence' as their basis of deciding to pursue just business as usual for the duration, after they've dumped their workers, stolen their pensions and extorted high prices for shoddy merchandise and services. They will then 'need' Herculean measures again to cope with the turmoil coming from Peak Oil when we, the consumer, fail to ante up for higher priced oil-driven waste using even more of our home equity, so top management's calculating their required increases in compensation for their anticipated herculean efforts, while avoiding the heavy thinking and risks of making moves now while they could afford it.
Anyone who's thinking that we can get government's attention to pick up the tab or even pry the stashes of ill-gotten profits open and direct the spending of the loot, just hasn't been paying attention. Government is owned by the corporations and is so corrupt and cynical about manipulating voters and ignoring rights that neither protesting nor voting will change their allegiance. Their tactics have recently included lying to us, playing mind games, stealing our votes, acting out service charades while playing shellgames with legislation, and even mass murder of our own people on our own soil. Their PR machines have us believing that we must shore up their institutions or mayhem will ensue, we must stay on the treadmill or our American lifestyle will disintegrate, or at least the part around you will fail and you will fall through the cracks into dereliction.
There are so many things wrong, everywhere you look, that not only is the list staggering but the direction we are being driven is terminal. What do we do to turn this ship around? Is Peak Oil just another disaster coming that is complicated and further made unavoidable by the failures of peace and justice? I think not. I think it offers us an advantage in reclaiming peace and justice IF we are faster and more clear sighted than they are. We can be and this is how I see the game working.
First let's think of Y2K. Surely you don't believe business, industry and government would have been prepared in time. Maybe you do, but you'd be wrong. I came from inside the computer world and I will tell you that when people began taking the Y2Kers seriously and the public was showing signs of making those sorts of purchases and serious decisions anticipating disaster, that's when business, industry and government woke up and put out panic calls to every programmer they could dredge up, including recalling all the old cobol programmers out of retirement (all of whom, including a lot of the rest of IT are now back on the street and jobless). And they still JUST BARELY made it. Social Security was doing its parallel testing of their immense systems in the fall before Y2K, and a lot of the banking and other industries were wrapping up in November and December, with agreements they'd signed among themselves that any laggards were on their own if they weren't done in time, they'd simply be disconnected from the network. Cut the losers loose.
If you think that it was business as usual during this chaos, let me remind you of a few of the FACTS... So much of our business and industrial capital and investing was wrapped up in this putsch to get through Y2K, that all other projects were on hold, to the extent that we managed to be so restrained in our investment risk-taking at the end of those pre-Y2K years that the wave of repercussions from the Asian market's collapse in '97 didn't catch us with our venture capital at risk, so nothing here 'fell' catastrophically like it did in Asia. Unlike the history of the waves of repercussions of the Great Depression, which arrived on the heels of reckless post-war optimism and swept around the world over a period of years.
And if you have forgotten, let me refresh your memory of what was happening in the 'alternatives' marketplaces. The physical stores that sold woodstoves and old tech for the home were so inundated with demand that people were stealing their shelves empty, by the armload, and the stores had to implement security measures, they had never needed security before. A lot of church groups had formed their own Y2K preparedness groups and were making plenty of waves in their communities as well as within their congregations, including shaking up the sleepers.
With a LOT of corporate and government PR efforts as well, we ultimately got through it with minimal, and mostly non-identified spinoff problems, hence we're SO COOL, it must have been nothing... back to normalcy... make sure people don't realize how close we came, pretending we didn't come so close is a requirement. The establishment was always in control of things, our wellbeing is best left in their capable EXPERT hands. Don't believe it.
Although Y2K shows a successful mobilization, the public's belief that it was a false alarm is a handicap, so we must vary our approach. We also have a vague and arguable and somewhat disguisable deadline this time, with the people in charge of the clues having a vested interest in deception. So we must outmaneuver them, apply our pressures, and all the while be making our own lives sustainable. Let's add up the situation, the main facts of life.
-- Business will do nothing that isn't good for business AND good for management.
-- Government will do nothing that business doesn't want.
-- Their media, their mindgames, their incessant propaganda have pushed and seduced us into a lifestyle and system that requires considerable effort to peel off the blinders, awaken action and push back.
-- Even when confronted, with the evidence of their corruption and greed, they will resort to mindgames on anyone paying attention and push their own agenda through as if the content of the evidence says something altogether different than it does.
-- When absolutely backed into a corner, government will make grudging, apparent efforts at appeasing activists -- though always compromised with phony subsidies, hamstrings on activists, and plenty of loopholes for big business, plus assorted pork to get re-elected -- then blame the activists for things going sour.
Which leads to a set of broad tactics:
-- Make business-as-usual highly unprofitable
-- While making it plain that we will accept only sustainable options based on conservation and renewables
-- Cut the funds government has to operate with, so that government cannot supply business with what we deny them
-- Take the high ground where neither business nor government can do us harm.
-- Take the role of leader, not protester.
I've got three targets in mind that use the pieces we've uncovered in a framework consistent with our broad tactics and facts of life. Come view the plan. At last.
From the SOS Art Show for Peace and Justice at the Mockbee Galleries in Cincinnati
on Sunday April 30th
by J. Raichyk, PhD, mathematical decision analyst and AEA CoChair. Alternate Energy Association Club(AEA)