Friday, August 19, 2016

The Omen of Lost Shirts

David Hunt, PE
Before I begin – a disclaimer. I abjure without reservation physical attacks, intimidation tactics, etc., nor am I suggesting or recommending any sort of insurrection or vigilante actions. However, I’d like to lead in with the following quote from an on-line political newsletter I stumbled upon:

Destroy people’s hopes for a better life and you make riot, revolution, anarchy, and war inevitable.

Think about that quote in the context of these three articles, Drop in real wages longest for 50 years, says ONS, Shocking data revision by feds: Americans’ wages dropped 4.2% instead of rising in the first quarter, and Working 60 Hours A Week At 3 Part-Time Jobs And Still Living Paycheck To Paycheck among a legion of similar pieces over the last few years. And then consider this, specifically that “Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency.” And this quote about the AI/robot jobpocalypse (bolding added):

Harari calls it “the rise of the useless class” and ranks it as one of the most dire threats of the 21st century. In a nutshell, as artificial intelligence gets smarter, more humans are pushed out of the job market. No one knows what to study at college, because no one knows what skills learned at 20 will be relevant at 40. Before you know it, billions of peopleare useless, not through chance but by definition.

Let the above data points sink in. And then consider what I consider a fundamental point of human nature: You cannot take away what people already have and expect them to not get angry. Nor can you proffer a replacement as you’re taking something away, and if they decide they don’t like it, hector them about how you “know” it’s a better choice so they need to just accept it and adapt - without them getting furious, that is.

So consider this essay a tocsin about alarming possibilities.

Shirts, Porches, and Salty Language

I was struck some time ago by a picture of two Air France executives being set upon by protesters over layoffs. The protestors assaulted them, ripped their shirts off and – possibly – intended even worse before they managed to escape and obtain police protection. The specific details of the layoffs are only circumferentially related to my central point: executives of a company announcing layoffs were physically assaulted.

In a similar vein, consider one specific protest that happened during the height of the “Occupy” movement: protesters angry at Bank of America’s (BoA) foreclosures descended – not on the company’s facility as I would opine would be a legitimate location – but to the home of one executive. Not content to trespass on the lawn, they stepped onto the porch itself, frightening the man’s son who was at home (bolding added):
But when hundreds of loud and angry strangers are descending on your family, your children, and your home, a more apt description of this assemblage would be "mob."Intimidation was the whole point of this exercise…

And lastly, consider two different levels of emotional display clearly evident in this video of a Carrier executive announcing the coming closing of both the Indianapolis production facility and the distribution center. First, immediately relevant, is the very visible and barely-controlled fury at the announcement.

The second, the executive’s reptilian coldness in reading – and sticking to – a script (even if, inside, he felt uncomfortable about it), I’ll discuss a little later.

Just Short of Boiling

Unless you’re comatose you have heard that companies are replacing, wholesale it seems, American workers with H1-B visa holders. For example, Disney called their IT personnel into a meeting; many of these persons were top performers, having received excellent performance reviews with some winning top corporate honors. They were informed that their jobs were being transferred to cheaper foreign workers, told that their severance pay relied on their staying to train those workers before they were shown the door… and then they were...

Read More HERE

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