<body bgcolor="white"><!--'"</title></head>--> <script type="text/javascript"> //OwnerIQ var __oiq_pct = 50; if( __oiq_pct>=100 || Math.floor(Math.random()*100/(100-__oiq_pct)) > 0 ) { var _oiqq = _oiqq || []; _oiqq.push(['oiq_addPageBrand','Lycos']); _oiqq.push(['oiq_addPageCat','Internet > Websites']); _oiqq.push(['oiq_addPageLifecycle','Intend']); _oiqq.push(['oiq_doTag']); (function() { var oiq = document.createElement('script'); oiq.type = 'text/javascript'; oiq.async = true; oiq.src = document.location.protocol + '//px.owneriq.net/stas/s/lycosn.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(oiq, s); })(); } //Google Analytics var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount','UA-21402695-19']); _gaq.push(['_setDomainName','tripod.com']); _gaq.push(['_setCustomVar',1,'member_name','1lit',3]); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 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return false } </script--> <style> .adCenterClass{margin:0 auto} </style> <div id="tb_ad" class="adCenterClass" style="display:block!important; overflow:hidden; width:916px;"> <a href="http://adtrack.ministerial5.com/clicknew/?a=637394" title="build your own website at Tripod.com" style="float:left; width:186px; border:0"> <img src="http://ly.lygo.com/ly/tpSite/images/freeAd2.jpg" alt="Make your own free website on Tripod.com" style="border:0; display:block" /> </a> <div id="ad_container" style="display:block!important; float:left; width:728px "> <script type="text/javascript">document.write(lycos_ad['leaderboard']);</script> </div> </div> </div> <script type="text/javascript">document.write(lycos_ad['slider']);</script> <!-- added 7/22 --> <div id="FooterAd" style="background:#DFDCCF; border-top:1px solid #393939; clear:both; display:none; width:100%!important; position:relative; z-index:999999!important; height:90px!important"> <div class="adCenterClass" style="display:block!important; overflow:hidden; width:916px;"> <a href="http://adtrack.ministerial5.com/clicknew/?a=637394" title="build your own website at Tripod.com" style="float:left; display:block; width:186px; border:0"> <img src="http://ly.lygo.com/ly/tpSite/images/freeAd2.jpg" alt="Make your own free website on Tripod.com" style="border:0; display:block; " /> </a> <div id="footerAd_container" style="display:block!important; float:left; width:728px"> <iframe id="lycosFooterAdiFrame" style="border:0; display:block; float:left; height:96px; overflow:hidden; padding:0; width:750px"></iframe> </div> </div> </div>

 

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1Lit.com Ezine May 2005 Issue

 

 

From Job Creators to Wealth Creators

 

An extract from 'No Logo' by Naomi Klein

 

The London Observer newspaper called No Logo 
'The Das Kapital of the growing anti-corporate movement'

As we have seen, it has only been in the past three or four years that corporations have stopped hiding layoffs and restructuring behind the rhetoric of necessity and begun to speak openly and unapologetically about their aversion to hiring people and, in extreme cases, their total exodus from the employment business. Multinationals that once boasted of their role as "engines of job growth" - and used it as leverage to extract all kinds of government support - now prefer to identify themselves as engines of "economic growth." It's a subtle difference, but not if you happen to be looking for work. Corporations are indeed "growing" the economy, but they are doing it, as we have seen, through layoffs, mergers, consolidation and out sourcing - in other words, through job debasement and job loss. And as the economy grows, the percentage of people directly employed by the world's largest corporations is actually decreasing. Transnational corporations, which control more than 33 percent of the world's productive assets, account for only 5 percent of the world's direct employment. And although the total assets of the world's one hundred largest corporations increased by 288 percent between 1990 and 1997, the number of people those corporations employed grew by less than 9 percent during that same period of tremendous growth.

Born in Montreal in 1970, Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and author The most striking figure is the most recent: in 1998, despite the stellar performance of the U.S. economy and despite the record low unemployment rate, U.S. corporations eliminated 677,000 permanent jobs-more job cuts than in any other year this decade. One in nine of those cuts came in the aftermath of mergers; many others came from the manufacturing sector. As the low U.S unemployment rate suggests, two-thirds of the companies that eliminated jobs created new ones and laid-off workers found alternative employment relatively quickly. But what those dramatic job cuts demonstrate is that a stable, reliable relationship between workers and their corporate employers has little or nothing to do with either the unemployment rate or the relative health of the economy. People are experiencing less stability even in the very best of economic times - in fact, these good economic times may be flowing, at least in part, from that loss of stability.

Job creation as part of the corporate mission, particularly the creation of full-time, decently paid, stable jobs, appears to have taken a back seat in many major corporations, regardless of company profits. Rather than being one component of a healthy operation, labor is increasingly treated by the corporate sector as an unavoidable burden, like paying income tax; or an expensive nuisance, like not being allowed to dump toxic waste into lakes. Politicians may say that jobs are their priority, but the stock market responds cheerfully every time mass layoffs are announced, and sinks gloomily whenever it looks as if workers might get a raise. Whatever bizarre route we took to get here, an unmistakable message now emanates from our free markets: good jobs are bad for business, bad for "the economy" and should be avoided at all cost. Although this equation has undeniably reaped record profits in the short term, it may well prove to be a strategic miscalculation on the part of our captains of industry. By discarding their self-identification as job creators, companies leave themselves open to a kind of backlash that can come only from a population that knows that the smooth sailing of the economy is of little demonstrable benefit to them.

According to the 1997 report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), "Rising inequalities pose a serious threat of a political backlash against globalization, one that is as likely to come from the North as well as from the South.... The 1920s and 1930s provide a stark, and disturbing, reminder of just how quickly faith in markets and economic openness can be overwhelmed by political events." With the effects of the Asian and Russian economic crises in full swing, a UN report on "human development" issued the following year was even more severe: noting the growing disparities between rich and poor, James Gustave Speth, administrator of the United Nations Development Program, said, "The numbers are shockingly high, amid the affluence. Progress must be more evenly distributed." You hear this kind of talk more and more these days. Ominous warnings about a simmering antiglobalization backlash cast a shadow over the usual euphoria of the annual gathering of corporate and political leaders in Davos, Switzerland. The business press is littered with more uneasy forecasts, such as the one in Business Week that noted, "The sight of bulging corporate coffers co-existing with a continuous stagnation in Americans' living standards could become politically untenable." And that's America, which has a record low unemployment rate. The situation becomes even less comfortable in Canada, where unemployment is at 8.3 percent, and in European Union countries that are stuck with an average unemployment rate of 11.5 percent.

In 'No Logo', Klein patiently demonstrates, step by step, how brands have become ubiquitous, not just in media and on the street but increasingly in the schools as well. The global companies claim to support diversity but their version of 'corporate multiculturalism' is merely intended to create more buying options for consumersAt a speech delivered to the Business Council on National Issues, Ted Newall, chief executive officer of Nova Corp. in Calgary, Alberta, called the fact that more than 20 percent of Canadians live below the poverty line a "time bomb that is just waiting to go off." Indeed, a little side industry has developed of CEOs falling over each other to proclaim themselves ethical clairvoyants: they write books about the new "stockholder society," publicly berate their peers at luncheon addresses for their lack of scruples and announce that the time has come for corporate leaders to address the growing economic disparities. Trouble is, they can't agree on who is going to go first. The fear that the poor will storm the barricades is as old as the castle moat, particularly during periods of great economic prosperity accompanied by inequitable distribution of wealth. Bertrand Russell writes that the Victorian elite in England were so consumed by paranoia that the working class would revolt against their "appalling poverty" that "at the time of Peterloo many large country houses kept artillery in readiness, lest they should be attacked by the mob. My maternal grandfather, who died in 1869, while wandering in his mind during his last illness, heard a loud noise in the street and thought it was the revolution breaking out, showing that at least unconsciously, the thought of revolution had remained with him throughout long prosperous years."

A friend of mine whose family lives in India says her Punjabi aunt is so afraid of an insurrection of her own household staff that she keeps the kitchen knives locked up, leaving the servants to chop vegetables with sharpened sticks. It's not so different from the growing numbers of Americans moving into gated communities because the suburbs no longer provide adequate protection from the perceived urban threat.



© Naomi Klein and St. Martin's Press/HarperCollins. All rights reserved.

You may purchase the paperback of 'No Logo' from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.



The above excerpt is part of the 1Lit ezine special issue on globalisation and capitalism. Click here to go to 1Lit.com

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