Hasta la victoria siempre

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Capitalismul, cauza muncii in exces si a consumerismului, inamicul vietii sociale

Jeffrey Kaplan a publicat in numarul din mai-iunie 2008 al revistei Orion un excelent articol numit „The Gospel of Consumption and the better future we left behind”. Kaplan subliniaza importanta pe care o are consumul exacerbat pentru marile afaceri si cum de aici porneste munca in exces, deterioararea vietii sociale, consumerismul si exploatarea muncitorilor din tarile sarace, alaturi de distrugerea rapida a resurselor naturale.

Marii capitalisti si cresterea consumului

„Despite the apparent tidal wave of new consumer goods and what appeared to be a healthy appetite for their consumption among the well-to-do, industrialists were worried. They feared that the frugal habits maintained by most American families would be difficult to break. Perhaps even more threatening was the fact that the industrial capacity for turning out goods seemed to be increasing at a pace greater than people’s sense that they needed them.
It was this latter concern that led Charles Kettering, director of General Motors Research, to write a 1929 magazine article called “Keep the Consumer Dissatisfied.” He wasn’t suggesting that manufacturers produce shoddy products. Along with many of his corporate cohorts, he was defining a strategic shift for American industry—from fulfilling basic human needs to creating new ones.”

Iata ca Charles Kettering, director de cercetari la general Motors, a fost printre primii care sa vina cu ideea, in 1929, de a-i tine pe consumatori nesatisfacuti. Astfel industria americana, capitalista, s-a reorientat de la satisfacerea nevoilor umane de baza la creearea de nevoi noi.

„In a 1927 interview with the magazine Nation’s Business, Secretary of Labor James J. Davis provided some numbers to illustrate a problem that the New York Times called “need saturation.” Davis noted that “the textile mills of this country can produce all the cloth needed in six months’ operation each year” and that 14 percent of the American shoe factories could produce a year’s supply of footwear. The magazine went on to suggest, “It may be that the world’s needs ultimately will be produced by three days’ work a week.”

Secretarul de stat al muncii din 1927, James Davis, a recunoscut ca industria textila a SUA putea produce toate textilele necesare in jumatate de an, iar 14% dintre fabricile americane de pantofi erau suficiente pentru a satisface intreaga cerere interna de pantofi. Se nastea astfel posibilitatea ca nevoile intregii umanitati sa fie satisfacute intr-un timp record, ceea ce ar fi insemnat munca extrem de putina pentru intreaga societate.

„Business leaders were less than enthusiastic about the prospect of a society no longer centered on the production of goods. For them, the new “labor-saving” machinery presented not a vision of liberation but a threat to their position at the center of power. John E. Edgerton, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, typified their response when he declared: “I am for everything that will make work happier but against everything that will further subordinate its importance. The emphasis should be put on work—more work and better work.” “Nothing,” he claimed, “breeds radicalism more than unhappiness unless it is leisure.””

Cine au fost insa deranjati de o asemenea posibilitate? Afaceristii, ingrijorati de scaderea profiturilor si de „radicalismul” populatiei, care ar fi putut sa se multumeasca cu un consum redus in paralel cu un timp liber de multe zeci de ori marit.

„By the late 1920s, America’s business and political elite had found a way to defuse the dual threat of stagnating economic growth and a radicalized working class in what one industrial consultant called “the gospel of consumption”—the notion that people could be convinced that however much they have, it isn’t enough. President Herbert Hoover’s 1929 Committee on Recent Economic Changes observed in glowing terms the results: “By advertising and other promotional devices . . . a measurable pull on production has been created which releases capital otherwise tied up.” They celebrated the conceptual breakthrough: “Economically we have a boundless field before us; that there are new wants which will make way endlessly for newer wants, as fast as they are satisfied.””

Asadar, spre sfarsitul anilor 20, advertisigul a inceput sa fie vazut ca „salvarea” marilor afaceri, creand nevoi artificiale.

Pericolele consumerismului, observate de timpuriu

„FROM THE EARLIEST DAYS of the Age of Consumerism there were critics. One of the most influential was Arthur Dahlberg, whose 1932 book Jobs, Machines, and Capitalism was well known to policymakers and elected officials in Washington. Dahlberg declared that “failure to shorten the length of the working day . . . is the primary cause of our rationing of opportunity, our excess industrial plant, our enormous wastes of competition, our high pressure advertising, [and] our economic imperialism.” Since much of what industry produced was no longer aimed at satisfying human physical needs, a four-hour workday, he claimed, was necessary to prevent society from becoming disastrously materialistic. “By not shortening the working day when all the wood is in,” he suggested, the profit motive becomes “both the creator and satisfier of spiritual needs.” For when the profit motive can turn nowhere else, “it wraps our soap in pretty boxes and tries to convince us that that is solace to our souls.””

Arthur Dahlberg observa pe buna dreptate ca in cazul in care ziua de lucru nu va fi redusa la patru ore, vor aparea efecte secundare dezastruoase precum industrializarea excesiva, risipa adusa de competitie, advertisingul sufocant, imperialismul economic, implementarea ideologiei materialiste.

O lume mai buna era posibila: cazul W. K. Kellogg

„ There was, for a time, a visionary alternative. In 1930 Kellogg Company, the world’s leading producer of ready-to-eat cereal, announced that all of its nearly fifteen hundred workers would move from an eight-hour to a six-hour workday. Company president Lewis Brown and owner W. K. Kellogg noted that if the company ran “four six-hour shifts . . . instead of three eight-hour shifts, this will give work and paychecks to the heads of three hundred more families in Battle Creek.”
This was welcome news to workers at a time when the country was rapidly descending into the Great Depression. But as Benjamin Hunnicutt explains in his book Kellogg’s Six-Hour Day, Brown and Kellogg wanted to do more than save jobs. They hoped to show that the “free exchange of goods, services, and labor in the free market would not have to mean mindless consumerism or eternal exploitation of people and natural resources.” Instead “workers would be liberated by increasingly higher wages and shorter hours for the final freedom promised by the Declaration of Independence—the pursuit of happiness.”
To be sure, Kellogg did not intend to stop making a profit. But the company leaders argued that men and women would work more efficiently on shorter shifts, and with more people employed, the overall purchasing power of the community would increase, thus allowing for more purchases of goods, including cereals.
A shorter workday did entail a cut in overall pay for workers. But Kellogg raised the hourly rate to partially offset the loss and provided for production bonuses to encourage people to work hard. The company eliminated time off for lunch, assuming that workers would rather work their shorter shift and leave as soon as possible. In a “personal letter” to employees, Brown pointed to the “mental income” of “the enjoyment of the surroundings of your home, the place you work, your neighbors, the other pleasures you have [that are] harder to translate into dollars and cents.” Greater leisure, he hoped, would lead to “higher standards in school and civic . . . life” that would benefit the company by allowing it to “draw its workers from a community where good homes predominate.”
It was an attractive vision, and it worked. Not only did Kellogg prosper, but journalists from magazines such as Forbes and BusinessWeek reported that the great majority of company employees embraced the shorter workday. One reporter described “a lot of gardening and community beautification, athletics and hobbies . . . libraries well patronized and the mental background of these fortunate workers . . . becoming richer.”
A U.S. Department of Labor survey taken at the time, as well as interviews Hunnicutt conducted with former workers, confirm this picture. The government interviewers noted that “little dissatisfaction with lower earnings resulting from the decrease in hours was expressed, although in the majority of cases very real decreases had resulted.” One man spoke of “more time at home with the family.” Another remembered: “I could go home and have time to work in my garden.” A woman noted that the six-hour shift allowed her husband to “be with 4 boys at ages it was important.”
Those extra hours away from work also enabled some people to accomplish things that they might never have been able to do otherwise. Hunnicutt describes how at the end of her interview an eighty-year-old woman began talking about ping-pong. “We’d get together. We had a ping-pong table and all my relatives would come for dinner and things and we’d all play ping-pong by the hour.” Eventually she went on to win the state championship.
Many women used the extra time for housework. But even then, they often chose work that drew in the entire family, such as canning. One recalled how canning food at home became “a family project” that “we all enjoyed,” including her sons, who “opened up to talk freely.” As Hunnicutt puts it, canning became the “medium for something more important than preserving food. Stories, jokes, teasing, quarreling, practical instruction, songs, griefs, and problems were shared. The modern discipline of alienated work was left behind for an older . . . more convivial kind of working together.”
This was the stuff of a human ecology in which thousands of small, almost invisible, interactions between family members, friends, and neighbors create an intricate structure that supports social life in much the same way as topsoil supports our biological existence. When we allow either one to become impoverished, whether out of greed or intemperance, we put our long-term survival at risk.”

Astfel, in 1930, Compania Kellog a venit cu ideea reducerii programului zilnic de munca la 6 ore si angajarii unui numar mai mare de muncitori. Initiativa a fost primita cu entuziasm de colectiv, oamenii fiind mutumiti cu plata mai mica dar, in acelasi timp, cu sporirirea timpului liber. In acest fel viata sociala, comunitara, a inflorit.

Unde s-a ajuns in realitate

„Our modern predicament is a case in point. By 2005 per capita household spending (in inflation-adjusted dollars) was twelve times what it had been in 1929, while per capita spending for durable goods—the big stuff such as cars and appliances—was thirty-two times higher. Meanwhile, by 2000 the average married couple with children was working almost five hundred hours a year more than in 1979. And according to reports by the Federal Reserve Bank in 2004 and 2005, over 40 percent of American families spend more than they earn. The average household carries $18,654 in debt, not including home-mortgage debt, and the ratio of household debt to income is at record levels, having roughly doubled over the last two decades. We are quite literally working ourselves into a frenzy just so we can consume all that our machines can produce.”

Aproximativ 70 de ani mai tarziu, lumea capitalista a facut alegerea gresita, alegand munca in exces si consumerismul in dauna timpului liber si socializari. Rezultatele? In 2005, cheltuielile casnice erau de 12 ori mai mari decat in 1929. Americanii cheltuiesc de 30 de ori mai mult pe bunuri precum automobilele; 40% dintre familiile americane cheltuiesc mai mult decat isi permit; familiile obisnuite au datorii si credite de aproape 19.000$.

„Yet we could work and spend a lot less and still live quite comfortably. By 1991 the amount of goods and services produced for each hour of labor was double what it had been in 1948. By 2006 that figure had risen another 30 percent. In other words, if as a society we made a collective decision to get by on the amount we produced and consumed seventeen years ago, we could cut back from the standard forty-hour week to 5.3 hours per day—or 2.7 hours if we were willing to return to the 1948 level. We were already the richest country on the planet in 1948 and most of the world has not yet caught up to where we were then.”

Kaplan are dreptate sa scrie ca am fi putut munci mult mai putin si trai perfect confortabil. In 1991, cantitatea de bunuri produse in Aaerica era dubla fata de cea din 1948. Astfel, ar fi fost suficienta ziua de munca de 2,7 ore ca sa fie mentinut nivelul material american din 1948, moment la care SUA era cea mai bogata natiune si ar fi fost in top chiar si in zilele noastre.

„Rather than realizing the enriched social life that Kellogg’s vision offered us, we have impoverished our human communities with a form of materialism that leaves us in relative isolation from family, friends, and neighbors. We simply don’t have time for them. Unlike our great-grandparents who passed the time, we spend it. An outside observer might conclude that we are in the grip of some strange curse, like a modern-day King Midas whose touch turns everything into a product built around a microchip.””

In final, mania muncii in exces a insemnat distrugerea vietii sociale implinite, din moement ce oamenii au ales sa munceasca in loc sa socializeze. materialismul, promovat de marile afaceri, este cauza fundamentala a acestui declin uman.


„Of course not everybody has been able to take part in the buying spree on equal terms. Millions of Americans work long hours at poverty wages while many others can find no work at all. However, as advertisers well know, poverty does not render one immune to the gospel of consumption.
Meanwhile, the influence of the gospel has spread far beyond the land of its origin. Most of the clothes, video players, furniture, toys, and other goods Americans buy today are made in distant countries, often by underpaid people working in sweatshop conditions. The raw material for many of those products comes from clearcutting or strip mining or other disastrous means of extraction. Here at home, business activity is centered on designing those products, financing their manufacture, marketing them—and counting the profits.”

Kaplan face bine sa precizeze ca nu toate familiile americane au luat parte la nebunia comercialista, milioane muncind in exces doar pentru a-si asigura nevoile de baza. Totodata, consumerismul american e sprijinit in mare masura de exploatarea la care sunt supusi de marile firme muncitorii din tarile sarace, cu forta de munca ieftina.

Strategiile diavolului

„The new managers saw only costs and no benefits to the six-hour day, and almost immediately after the end of the war they began a campaign to undermine shorter hours. Management offered workers a tempting set of financial incentives if they would accept an eight-hour day. Yet in a vote taken in 1946, 77 percent of the men and 87 percent of the women wanted to return to a thirty-hour week rather than a forty-hour one. In making that choice, they also chose a fairly dramatic drop in earnings from artificially high wartime levels.
The company responded with a strategy of attrition, offering special deals on a department-by-department basis where eight hours had pockets of support, typically among highly skilled male workers. In the culture of a post-war, post-Depression U.S., that strategy was largely successful. ”

Iata deci ca in 1946, 77% dintre barbati si 87% dintre femei isi doreau revenirea la saptamana de lucru de 30 de ore, preferand salariile mai mici. managerii companiilor i-au atras insa cu cresteri salariale, impiedicandu-i astfel sa aleaga optiunea corecta. Dezastru a urmat:

„Despite the enormous difference in societal wealth between the 1930s and the 1980s, the language the mavericks used to explain their preference for a six-hour workday was almost identical to that used by Kellogg workers fifty years earlier. One woman, worried about the long hours worked by her son, said, “He has no time to live, to visit and spend time with his family, and to do the other things he really loves to do.”
Several people commented on the link between longer work hours and consumerism. One man said, “I was getting along real good, so there was no use in me working any more time than I had to.” He added, “Everybody thought they were going to get rich when they got that eight-hour deal and it really didn’t make a big difference. . . . Some went out and bought automobiles right quick and they didn’t gain much on that because the car took the extra money they had.””

Asadar, cresterea veniturilor nu a adus decat beneficii iluzorii, in schimb a deteriorat serios viata familiala si sociala.

E timpul ca populatia sa realizeze situatia in care se afla si sa spuna un NU hotarat muncii in exces si consumerismului. Marii patroni sunt singurii care vor avea de pierdut, in acest fel slabindu-se acest sistem infernal si anti-uman numit „capitalism”. Frugalitatea, satisfacerea nevoilor materiale fundamentale, timpul liber si socializarea sunt caile spre fericirea autenmtica, nu munca in exces si materialismul.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Industrial Society is destroying necessary things [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land] for making unnecessary things [consumer goods].

"Growth Rate" - "Economy Rate" - "GDP"

These are figures of "Ecocide".
These are figures of "crimes against Nature".
These are figures of "destruction of Ecosystems".
These are figures of "Insanity, Abnormality and Criminality".

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature [Animals, Trees, Air, Water and Land].

Chief Seattle of the Indian Tribe had warned the destroyers of ecosystems way back in 1854 :

Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you realize that you cannot eat money.

To read the complete article please follow any of these links.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Delhi, India