I see statements by people against Occupy Wall Street saying that without capitalism we wouldn’t have Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. (well… had). And without those two, we wouldn’t have all these good jobs around. This is a funny argument because the Occupiers aren’t against capitalism.
The reality is though, that these two men, in concordance with the rest of the I.T. industry have both created and destroyed jobs here in the U.S.. Yes there are far more computer jobs today than there were in 1980, however there are also far fewer computer manufacturing jobs. And this is where the anti-Occupy crowd’s argument falls down.
The Occupiers are looking for a fair shot at the middle class American dream. But companies like Microsoft, Apple, Dell, and HP have sent all of the manufacturing jobs overseas. The capitalist who the Occupiers should be looking to is more someone like Henry Ford.
Apple, Dell, HP, and Microsoft are guilty of off shoring jobs to the lowest common denominator so they can line their own pockets with more money. Henry Ford understood that his workers were the most loyal of his customers. He paid his line workers, an unheard of at the time, $5 a day for manufacturing work. This was more than double that of any other auto manufacturer. He also reduced the work day from 9 hours to 8 hours. This meant that he was able to run a 3rd shift instead of just 2. With these changes, he was able to turn his manufacturing process into the most efficient in the world AND at the same time create a large middle class capable of affording his own products.Steve Jobs on the other hand, pays his Chinese workers so little that the only way they have of bettering themselves is 14 hour days and they STILL cannot afford the products they produce. They live in dormitories at the plant and the work is so long and tedious that it has now become necessary to make workers sign a “No Suicide Pledge” (there were 11 suicides in the first 5 months of 2011). Steve Jobs uses the plant in China because they don’t have pesky “worker’s rights” laws to prevent this kind of treatment just so Apple can post even bigger profits. If Jobs had opened the factory in the U.S. instead of China, Apple may not have been as profitable (as a percentage) as it is today, but far more people would be able to afford its products.
And that brings up the next argument from the anti-Occupy crowed. Lower the minimum wage and eliminate workers rights laws. For example, a McDonalds that is already properly staffed to cover the number of customers they have, adding more employees at a lower wage does nothing for the bottom line. The owner of the McDonalds doesn’t need to add employees at ANY wage if there aren’t additional customers. So what does lowering the minimum wage do? It makes the workers poorer, the owners richer, and the employment rates go unchanged. Worldwide we can already see what no minimum wage and no workers rights leads to: 11 suicides in 5 months at the Apple factory for the workers who are housed there and work 14 hour days. Henry Ford paid DOUBLE the prevailing wage to his workers and was able to make huge profits. This inspired not only devout loyalty by his employees but also the ability recruit the BEST and KEEP them. In the process he created an entirely new market to sell his products to while lowering the cost of vehicles for everyone nationwide. His workers were now able to afford houses, cars, and things we now consider basic accommodation that were luxuries back then…. like refrigeration.
Not everyone can be Doctors, Lawyers, or Computer Engineers. Those who aren’t gifted with those thinking abilities should still be able to earn a living from their labors… for that we need manufacturing jobs here. The result will be the re-birth of the lower and middle class WITHOUT the need for government assistance to just eat.
There are three things important to Capitalism: Capital, Jobs, and Consumers. The 1% has attempted to keep more capital for themselves by eliminating jobs in this country. They have off shored and outsourced every last bit of labor they can. In their shortsighted quest to inhale even more money, they have forgotten that people with jobs are also consumers, so eventually, this policy will come back to bite them in the ass.
Wanting to be part of the middle class with a good job and stable home is not some Marxist plot. The rich have tried to erase the middle class for their own gain. OWS is a response to that.