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Juste de Juste: Pyramid of Five Men (c. 1543)

"Those who share the most toys, never really die."

Stinginess seems to have always been one of the more reliable indicators of Success. The Successful seem to become Scrooges while the more humbled remain generous Jacob Marleys. This apparent paradox, where those most able to afford, dedicate themselves to hoarding rather than sharing, has become the very foundation of modern economics, where, even more than in ancient and even antebellum times, wealth flows upward toward those least in need of it and away from those most struggling to supply it. The whole system seems some combination of heartless and needless, unnecessary, one of those anomalies we should have collectively figured out how to resolve, but we have not. Instead, we seem to be sliding even further from resolution.

I've never understood why any sentient employer would fight their employees forming a union.
I have a degree in business, and it seems and always seemed to me to be the best policies encourage the sort of engagement unions bring. I'd prefer my employees to be my equals, owners more than dependents, stewards more than supplicants. We should be capable of sitting across a table and reasoning through superficial contentions, even the more existential ones. We should be able to untangle pretty much any contradiction we'd care to untangle. So why the animosity from the management side? Why the hiding behind deceptive financial statements and the near absolute dedication to efficient operations when everyone already knows that efficiency is just another way of insisting upon 'effin' chinciness, a glitzy cheapness fooling nobody.

It's as if the entire management sector was schooled exclusively in Austerity, The Creation And Eternal Maintenance Of, for everybody except for themselves. Management might be deemed worthy of those bonuses but give similar rewards to line workers, and they're seen as subject to an induced laziness as if paying them well would erode their work ethic. Not so with the executive, who seems to be ever more productive the more treasure he receives. It's not lost on any credible historian that the basis of so much of what passes for modern management was passed down to us from antebellum slavers, who managed their "resources" with the same slavish dedication they invested in their horses. They could have easily afforded to pay their slave workers a relatively lavish living wage and even thrown freedom into the bargain had they not been blinded by tradition: misogyny, racism, and a poisonously evangelical capitalism.

Our modern masters of industry still seem stuck in that traditional Stinginess. The richest corporations, headed by the wealthiest people in the history of this world, dedicate themselves to cutting off their noses to spite their faces. They're presently initiating a series of layoffs, "right-sizings," escorting their primary sources of wealth to the door in shame to shave a few percentage points off their overhead numbers. No material benefit will likely result, and society will pick up most of the expense, society, and the suddenly unemployed workers. The alternatives they characterize as socialism without even once considering what that term might mean and how some different orientations might much better create lasting prosperity for everyone and even greater wealth for themselves. Heaven forbid that competitors ever have to stop competing, for such mindless pursuits amount to their sole competitive advantage, a useless skill in any larger, more perceptive, or more compassionate world.

Evil is the persistent insistence on shortage in the presence of incalculable wealth. Each of us seems born with unimaginable upside. However, the herd seems quickly sorted into those destined to be winners and those more likely to be losers when it could be sorted exclusively into various grades of winners. We could easily afford this, and everyone could benefit. I'm not even suggesting a Utopian Heaven on Earth, but merely a world fueled by compassion and understanding rather than by jealousy, greed, and the resulting Stinginess. The Stinginess we see seems completely unnecessary. Were we wiser, we would not tolerate such insolence from the wealthiest. We would refuse to contort ourselves to pursue mammon, ultimately benefiting nobody. Those who share the most toys, never really die.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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