Emerging Tech optimize

Conspiracy theories and large corporations

With the ease of modern communication, it's easy to believe that major corporations are manipulating world affairs. The fact is, they're not organized enough to do that.

Conspiracy theories are an interesting aspect of modern life. While these types of tall tales have certainly been with us since the beginning of time, increasingly faster communication in an overly complex world seems to make conspiracies easier to spread and all the more believable. When I can answer my US-based iPhone in China and speak to someone in New York over a crystal clear connection, the other party never knowing I'm not a couple of postal codes away, is it that far-fetched to consider some large corporation or government is manipulating world affairs?

I have fairly limited experience with government, but in the case of large corporations, I can tell you that the answer is a rather dull "highly unlikely." Like many here, I studied IT and management at a large university, and a good portion of our coursework was case study-type material, showcasing the complex and highly efficient accomplishment of marquee corporations. I entered the workforce filled with visions of fearless leaders commanding a cadre of dedicated employees, who effectively conquered whatever technological or managerial challenge was thrown their way. I rapidly learned that most large corporations are more Keystone Cops than Untouchables, and I distinctly remember this image began to be debunked in my mind.

I was speaking with someone in IT management at a Fortune 500 company about their internet efforts, in the early days of online commerce when things like XML and "commerce portals" were going to change business forever. This manager was proudly presenting the company's efforts in the area, and I expected to be wowed by compelling technologies and highly efficient processes. The slideshow flickered to a process diagram, which effectively showed the web portal, an "interface," and then the company's 30-year-old mainframe order management system. When someone asked about the "interface," the gentleman explained, without missing a beat, that the web portal printed all orders on a dot matrix printer, without verification or validation, and then someone walked the printout to another room, handed it to a colleague, who then keyed the order into the mainframe. Moments later, I finally understood the term "sneakernet"!

Large organizations seem incapable of two critical elements for any successful conspiracy: impeccable organization and impenetrable secrecy. If you have worked in a large organization, you have likely experienced a sense that the place was always three steps away from disaster, careening wildly through time and economic cycles and changing strategic direction like a glitterati changes his or her outfit. Clearly these are not the hallmarks of an entity that carefully controls world affairs over a span of decades. Technology giants, whose very existence depends on keeping information about their next products away from consumers, are plagued with leaks, and it's rare that a company's latest and greatest product hasn't been photographed, analyzed, and reviewed by the press weeks before its official release.

While entertaining to consider an occasional conspiracy theory, it's remarkably rare to find a large company that can develop, keep secret, and effectively execute an annual strategy, let alone a nefarious plot. One cannot help but think of Occam's razor, the idea that when faced with several competing causes for an event, the most simple explanation, or one that requires the fewest "leaps of faith," is usually correct. If your career is not advancing in the desired direction or if your department or company seems directionless, there might be a problem with your management style, versus resources being diverted to a secret ring of executives plotting the demise of humanity.

Taking grand conspiracies out of the equation can be surprisingly liberating. If you work in an environment where everyone is plotting against you and every career move you make is thwarted by mysterious, organized adversaries, your prospects are grim at best. If your advancement is hampered by a few missing skills, correction is imminently within your domain and might be as simple as a course or two and some career development. In short, most conspiracy theories are neither grand nor able to render victims powerless.

About

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company, and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology, as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. Patrick has...

41 comments
MargaretBartley
MargaretBartley

Seriously. If you think that laws, treaties, and world events are unaffected by the selfish, criminal interests of the multinational corporations and the extremely wealthy people who control them, you have some serious homework to do before you spout off your ignorance in public. Ever heard of ITT's role in the overthrow of Allende? Exxon's role in driving up energy costs? You think the trade agreements that send manufacturing and high-tech production to Asia in return for US agri-business dominance of bio-engineered food has nothing to do with the US trade delegation that was composed mostly of people from corporate Agri-business? Cheri Seymour just came out with a new book, Last Circle, talking about the connection between the mob, various US administrations, and drug, gun-running, and money laundering. Most of it done through corporate cut-outs. The CIA and people in the intelligence community have been deep investors in Silicon Valley businesses for over a decade now. All the incompetence at the lower ranks mean is that this is not their main focus of interest. Do you think a sloppy chef or lazy waitress at a Las Vegas casino means the crime family on the East Coast that runs the casino is sloppy with their international arms trades, or isn't monitoring what's going on with some tax legislation? I can't decide if you are really ignorant of these things or not. I know IT people are proud of their political naivete, but this is taking things too far!

FreePres7
FreePres7

No Conspiracy......Tongue firmly In Cheek: * ABC, CBS and the Courier Journal are exempt from federal election laws because of an arragement worked out in a smoke filled room in Washington D.C. in 1974 a year before the Federal Election Commission Was chartered. It was called a "Press Exemption" and you can read it at 2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i). You don't think newspapers and broadcasters would have promoted election finance laws that would restrict their political speech and press rights do you? What is a "press exemption"? It is a law that [1] creates exemptions and restrictions [2] it is a law that designates who is exempt and who is restricted. A "Press Exemption" creates superior and inferior speech and press Rights. It transfers unrestricted Rights to newspaper and broadcast businesses and restricts the speech and press rights of flesh and blood persons "We The People"! Who is insisted on a "press exemption"? Did a large number of Americans contact their congressman and insist they give newspapers and broadcasters more freedom to influence elections and ballot issues than they have? Did a large number of Americans contact their congressman and insist they pass legislation to restrict their "Inalienable" speech and press "Rights"? INALIENABLE: Incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred *1961 Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary Of course all of these changes have occured under the "rule of law" with the "conscent of the people"..... they did ask for the "conscent of the people" before they "transferred" those "INALIENABLE RIGHTS" from people to businesses didn't they??? What agency of our government has authority to change the meaning of words?

Repeal
Repeal

"The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." -Alex Carey, Australian social scientist who pioneered the investigation of corporate propaganda (see Taking the Risk Out Of Democracy, Univ of New South Wales, 1995) Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process." Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, 1907 Restoring Equal Rights Under the 1st Amendment Campaign laws are sold to the public as necessary to level the playing field and prevent powerful, moneyed special interests, like corporations, from having undue influence. The problem is media corporations are moneyed, powerful, owned by special interests and dependent on the advertising dollars of other special interests. Is it any surprise corporate media is the biggest promoter of campaign laws and have succeeded in redefining the individual rights of freedom of assembly, press and speech as the unrestricted rights of corporate media. Conservatives and liberals agree corporate media is biased and dispute which newspapers and broadcast networks are prejudiced. But both political persuasions purchase ads with the corporate media to promote candidates and issues. Hence editorials for or against candidates and issues, by the staffs of corporate media, must have political value. So I ask Congressmen and Senators, why are corporate media exempt from campaign laws that regulate and restrict participation by individuals and groups? I do not believe Democrats or Republicans can defend that position. I ask politicians to demonstrate they are serious about returning to a more limited and Constitutional government by passing the proposed legislation below. This legislation costs nothing and leaves the Federal Election Campaign Act and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act in place but defanged: Rough Draft of Proposed Legislation Whereas flesh and blood "Persons" wrote our federal "Bill of Rights";. Whereas, at the time our federal "Bill of Rights" was adopted, enumerated "Rights" were understood to exist only for flesh and blood "Persons"; Whereas the "Rights" of flesh and blood "Persons" cannot be inferior to the "rights" of "legal persons"; Whereas 2 U.S.C. 431 (9) (B) (i), commonly referred to as the "press exemption", exempts "legal persons" newspaper businesses, broadcast stations, magazine businesses and periodic publications from federal election finance laws which restrict the speech and press "Rights" of flesh and blood "Persons"; the citizens of these United States; Federal Election Finance laws shall be revised to include the following definitions: (1) Press - means any citizen of the United States that engages in any form of public communication. (2) Media - means any citizen of the United States that engages in any form of public communication. (3) Newspaper - means any form of printed material that includes any advertisement or other information for the purpose of public distribution, including information printed on paper, billboards, signs, fliers, web pages, and other electronic print material. [Instructions for the court and the Federal Election Commission: The purpose of this legislation is to clarify that the speech and press rights of the flesh and blood residents of the United States are no less than the speech and press rights of legal persons taking the form of newspaper and broadcast businesses operating in the United States.] FEDERAL CAMPAIGN LAWS ARE CONTRARY TO THE 1ST AMENDMENT: Like minded citizens assembling together using speech and the press to demand a redress of grievances from government is the definition of a political campaign? The First Amendment prohibits Congress from making any law infringing on the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. The Constitutions of the 13 Colonies protected fundamental freedoms of speech, press and assembly but delegates to the Constitutional Convention were afraid of the potential power of an over reaching federal government. So they wrote the 1st Amendment. In fact there are no federal elections only elections for federal office held in the States. Regulating elections is the prerogative of the States and not an enumerated power of the federal government. Since F.E.C.A was passed in 1971, incumbents have been reelected at a higher rate than politburo members were reelected during the cold war. And corruption has gotten worse since the passage of FECA and BCRA. ANONYMOUS SPEECH IS AN AMERICAN BIRTH RIGHT: Prior to the revolution, the King of England wanted the platen of every printing press in the colonies to have a unique mark to identify every page printed so he could track the source of dissent. Anonymous speech is an American birth right! If enforced, laws like HR 5175 would have prevented the pamphlet Common Sense from being published and American might never have over thrown the British. COORDINATION IS NOT A CRIME: Coordination is the act of making different people or things work together for a goal or effect. In all walks of life coordination is considered a virtue, desirable, sought after. Coordination equates with grace and efficiency. Can you imagine telling members of a sports team it is against the rules to coordinate their efforts to win? Can you imagine a regulation that restricted employees of a corporation from coordinating their efforts to mount a successful ad campaign or provide excellent customer service? But federal campaign laws attempt to make coordination a crime! FEDERAL CAMPAIGN LAWS EXEMPT THE COMMERCIAL PRESS BUT REGULATE INDIVIDUALS WITH PAMPHLETS: The corporate media exemption is a perfect example of how federal campaign laws have corrupted the process in favor of special interests. Corporations did not have rights under the Constitution until a Supreme Court clerk added a footnote to the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company decision, 99 years after the Constitution was ratified. Freedom of the press was originally the right of flesh and blood citizens and equal protection under the law is a fundamental concept. But the Federal Election Campaign Act exempted for profit media corporations from regulations and reporting requirements that restricted the rights of grass roots organizations to print and speak. FECA and BCRA have created regulated and unregulated classes crowing a ???Royal??? corporate press that drowns the voice of citizens who want change. Is it any wonder that federal incumbents and corporate media are the biggest supporters of new and stricter campaign laws that insure reelection n for the former and monopoly for the latter? But if a politician must pay newspapers and broadcasters to carry his ads, how can positive or negative editorials by those same media outlets not have value? And corporate media are dependent on the advertising dollars of the same special interests campaign laws claim they want to protect the electorate from. In the words of E.W. Scripps: ???A newspaper must at all times antagonize the selfish interests of that very class which furnishes the larger part of a newspaper's income... The press in this country is dominated by the wealthy few...that it cannot be depended upon to give the great mass of the people that correct information concerning political, economical and social subjects which it is necessary that the mass of people Shall have in order that they vote...in the best way to protect themselves from the brutal force and chicanery of the ruling and employing classes.??? Lovell v. City of Griffin SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 303 U.S. 444 Argued February 4, 1938 Decided March 28, 1938 The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. These indeed have been historic weapons in the defense of liberty, as the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others in our own history abundantly attest. The press in its historic connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion. What we have had recent occasion to say with respect to the vital importance of protecting this essential liberty from every sort of infringement need not be repeated. Near v. Minnesota, supra; Grosjean v. American Press Co., supra; De Jonge v. Oregon, supra.[note 2] Whatever differences may exist about interpretations of the First Amendment, there is practically universal agreement that a major purpose of that Amendment was to protect the free discussion of governmental affairs. This of course includes discussions of candidates, structures and forms of government, the manner in which government is operated or should be operated, and all such [384 U.S. 214, 219] matters relating to political processes. The Constitution specifically selected the press, which includes not only newspapers, books, and magazines, but also humble leaflets and circulars, see Lovell v. Griffin, 303 U.S. 444 , to play an important role in the discussion of public affairs. ------------------------------------------------ UNITED STATES v. ASSOCIATED PRESS et al. Nos. 57, 58 and 59. Argued Dec. 5, 6, 1944. Decided June 18, 1945 It would be strange indeed however if the grave concern for freedom of the press which prompted adoption of the First Amendment should be read as a command that the government was without power to protect that freedom. That Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society. Surely a command that the government itself shall not impede the free flow of ideas does not afford non-governmental combinations a refuge if they impose restraints upon that constitutionally guaranteed freedom. Freedom to publish means freedom for all and not for some. Freedom to publish is guaranteed by the Constitution, but freedom to combine to keep others from publishing is not. Freedom of the press from governmental interference under the First Amendment does not sanction repression of that freedom by private interests. Media Corporations are Special Interests Do you believe newspaper or broadcasters would promote election reforms that restrict freedom of speech and the press if they had not first met in smoke filled rooms with lawmakers and worked out the details of legislation exempting them from those restrictions? If this appears to be the kind of special interest corruption that election laws were suppose to prevent, IT IS! Prior to 1975 citizens were not required to register with the Federal Election Commission before publishing their political opinions and the Republican and Democratic parties were allowed to endorse their candidates in newspapers owned and operated by their political parties. 2 U.S.C. 431 (9) (B) (i) divides use of the printing press a free press into two categories: The regulated majority...... every living U.S. Citizen, political party and political organization and the unregulated commercial media including foreign owned newspapers operating in the United States. 2 USC 431 (9) (B) The term "expenditure" does not include - (i) any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, unless such facilities are owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate; PS ??? I recommend Bradley Smith???s article ???The Myth of Campaign Finance Reform???, http://nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/the-myth-of-campaign-finance-reform and Herb Titus article at http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/Constitution_Issues/cfr.htm. If you want to see the liberal view I suggest: http://storyofstuff.org/citizensunited/.

seanferd
seanferd

Conspiracies occur all the time, but they are hardly required to produce the effects which people like to attribute to conspiracy.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

Last I read here, he was explaining that 'offshoring' and 'outsourcing' were GOOD for Americans in general and IT in particular. Uh huh. Now he's pushing a straw-man argument that corporations (which are the major daily TOOL of those interested in leading a worldwide corporatist state--interNational Socialism) are, themselves, the 'conspirators', and then shows us idiots that corporate structure is too comically inept. Mr. Grey thus sidesteps the true circumstances: those who would control us are in charge of a large variety of corporate endeavors through board membership, management of stockowning 'investment funds', and policy-making foundations. He avoids this obvious state of affairs by positing that if you were in a pedestrian/vehicle collision, the driver didn't run you down; the car did. By itself. The driver's as blameless as you. I'm not shooting at you; my gun is....Congrats, Mr. Grey. Now I know that David Rockefeller et al AREN'T out to rule my life; just each and every one of their blind, autonomous corp's, foundations, and paid-off politicians are (by accident, with no raison d'etre). Now I'm ready to line up for my RFID implant, bank where I'm told, and die when the jewel in my palm starts glowing red. Patrick Grey must be hoping this garbage essay (and his last one) will earn him an invite to Bilderburg this time. He wants to be counted with the human collaborators in John Carpenter's 'They Live'. edit: Sorry; I see it's 'Gray', not 'Grey'. How appropriate..........

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

All these people serve on serveral boards on different several corporations. So say some butt head decides that feeding the homeless to the hungry will save money. He suggests it at a corporate meeting and they try this novel tactic. IF it works then this idea gains traction and it is slowly passed from board to board like plant cross polination. From the outside it looks like some foul deeds have been committed in concert through a conspiracy, but like you say they aren't that organized to plan this it just happens.

Vortex4
Vortex4

The reason so many manufacturing jobs leave the U.S. is that multi-national corporations, with zero loyalty to America, have pushed through idiotic free trade laws that make us compete with horribly exploited workers. We need a national trade policy like other countries have, but there is a successful corporate conspiracy to prevent this from happening. All that "The Olive Tree and the Lexus" stuff is crap, because the author conveniently failed to note that Japan subsidized Toyota.

Ricewilliamj
Ricewilliamj

I'll make this short because this is something I've studied at great lengths...They're not trying to necessarily control world affairs. I think people get caught up in this New World Order. It's about economic control. They lobby politicians, who deregulate them or get them damn near exclusive contracts and they make billions of dollars. It's not a conspiracy. It's just how the richest 5% continue to get richer. They don't sit around in rooms trying to create one world governments because they think it's great. They sit around in smoke filled rooms trying to buy international politicians so they can move goods through and make more money. It's the money Lebowski.

tmcclure
tmcclure

I just read a post on gun ownership. Now we are discussing corporate conspiracy theories. Then yesterday I read a post on the top 10 tablets. Number 2 on the list didn't even exist. TR, is there some bad kool-aid being passed around?

bobp
bobp

A few people with big donations to politicians (and under the table kick-backs to them) can do a lot when the power and policies of government are against their opponents and in favor of their company and/or industry. Example: Where is corporate welfare authorized in the Constitution? No where! Fleecing the American people.

rpollard
rpollard

I wonder why this article originated???

bjubar
bjubar

When I was climbing the corporate ladder at a Fortune 50 company, I would have sworn our leaders were too disorganized to conduct any kind of conspiracy. But then I landed an assignment that had me supporting the Strategy Board -- I was a "fly on the wall" through many closed-door sessions -- and I was shocked by what I witnessed. Yes, corporate strategies struggled when those executives tried to implement them... but mainly because they had to get all of the mid-level managers involved, and those folks would find ways to derail projects that they thought might harm their individual little "kingdoms". However... when it came to the highest-level deals between giant corporations or lobbying for policy changes at the state or federal level, I was amazed at how sneaky, ruthless, and well-organized those top-level executives were. And many of those dealings I heard discussed at the Strategy Board originated at Country Clubs and Cocktail Parties. The highest of the high-rollers ran in the same circles, and that's where the deals seemed to incubate. And regardless of whether or not a particular "deal" seemed good for our company, it was definitely designed to be good for the career(s) of the executive(s) working on it. It's amazing what a small group of wealthy, powerful, well-connected people can do when it's their own wealth, power, and well-connectedness on the line.

zefficace
zefficace

Maybe you the author should watch "Inside job" (it's on Netflix), then ask if large corporations can "manipulate" the system.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Was it a conversation at the pub? I'm not sure how you got from "some large corporation or government is manipulating world affairs" to "If you work in an environment where everyone is plotting against you" but it sounds like paranoid schizophrenia. Perhaps you were just drunk. I agree that the internet is filled with wild consipracy theories that are out of touch with reality but the internet is also filled with real evidence and historical documentation of actual conspiracies. I think that is why people readily believe wild theories. Truth is stranger than fiction. The real ugly truth of American history is rich with the corruption of the rich. Many things that actually happened seem so absurd that the absurd seems plausible. I conclude that your article ammounts to a large sweeping straw-man attack that lacks real world examples outside of your limited experience with clumsy corporations. There are many organizations that are capable of pulling off large conspiracies that have huge effects on the world. (control is an illusion) 1. The US Senate 2. The US Congress 3. The US Presidential cabinet 4. The NSA 5. The CIA 6. The FBI 7. The KGB 8. The IDF 9. ENRON 10. GE 11. Goldman Sachs 12. JP Morgan (Morgan Stanley) 13. The Vatican 14. Rupert Murdoch All of the entities I have named are guiltly of both real conspiracies that are documented and those that are in question. Shall I go on? Check out WikiLeaks. For every coverup I hear about I assume there are a few that will never see the light of day.

Repeal
Repeal

Margaret, Would you kindly tell me what your post is in reply to? Campaign Reform is the Ultimate Corporate Conspiracy Repeal2 hrs ago. "The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." -Alex Carey, Australian social scientist who pioneered the investigation of corporate propaganda (see Taking the Risk Out Of Democracy, Univ of New South Wales, 1995)

reelskills
reelskills

i'm sure the loss of manufacturing jobs has nothing to do with over-priced labor which is arbitrarily set by those with no respect for basic economic sense (unions).

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

"In the criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to break the law at some time in the future" If what they are planning in this smoke filled room is illegal then it is a conspiracy by defenition. Something you have studied at great lengths. The richest 5% are involved in embezzlement, insider trading, human trafficing and a long list of things I have never even heard of. We might need to make a few new laws just to stop them from finding new ways to rob you.

spdragoo
spdragoo

Considering that, prior to the days of email & the Internet, I *never* received any chain-mail letters, & saw very little hardcopy info regarding conspiracy theories...but ever since the Internet, my exposure to such ridiculousness is way too high.

Con_123456
Con_123456

Although not about any latest technology, it is still related to issues around jobs and career of IT professionals.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Comes from, "polis", meaning life in the big city. You are just now noticing?

Con_123456
Con_123456

I wonder why your comment originated??? :)

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Apparently it was not common knowledge then, as it is now, that the golf course is a place of business.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

where someone had reported Toni Bowers to the NRA-ILA and gloated about how she can look forward to her and her employer receiving a lot of heat. Nasty.

Dyrwydi
Dyrwydi

I do find it odd that your first 8 "organizations" do not apply to this article. Additionally "conspiracy to commit fraud" is not anywhere close to "conspiracy to control world affairs."

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Click on the title of this discussion thread to get to it.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Next time you get in to an airplane I want you to know that some of the guys making parts for boeing right now are making $20 an hour or less. Right here in the USA. Is this person overpaid? Should we make machining a minimum wage job? The underpaid will soon find better work leaving the unskilled to build your aircraft. It's a miracle they don't all drop out of the sky and if you spent some time in QC you would agree with me.

spdragoo
spdragoo

Yeah, since corporate managers & executives have *always* shown they have their workers' best interest in heart, & are *always* willing to pay their employees the wages & benefits they deserve based on their education, experience & past performance. /sarcasm.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

That's because the intarweb is leaking the Truth that They would've want to Keep Secret! That's why they desTroyed Al Gore's politcal Career, since he Invented the Intarweb!!! And then they Bought his Silence with a Nobel Peace Pie! It all fiTs toGether! Mwahahahahahaaaa! Sorry about that, I'm all better now ;)

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Does not apply? He started his article talking about manipulating world affairs. The first 8 organizations actually do that. Then he ended the article talking about people plotting against him at work. My first point was that he was all over the place. Furthermore there are conspiracies to commit fraud that do, in fact, have an effect on global affairs. The current global economic crisis is a great example. The organizations I named were involved in creating this global crisis and it does have an impact on world events. Care to elaborate on what exactly you thought the article was about and how I am off base?

spdragoo
spdragoo

First off, I said he works in a plant that repairs turbine shafts for GE engines. I didn't say he worked for GE -- even though GE does have a manufacturing plant just a few minutes away -- just as teh repair tech that replaces an axle on your Ford/Chevrolet/GMC/Chrysler/Toyota/Nissan/Kia vehicle isn't necessarily employed by the vehicle manufacturer. Second, the businesses aren't always interested in selling "top-of-the-line" products. Yes, superior products are expected to perform better, last longer, & be more durable than other products... but at a certain point the increased cost of the item starts adversely affecting your sales. It's great if, say, you can show that your product is 50% more reliable than the competition's model... but once your product starts costing 50% or more beyond the competitor's price, consumers start picking the competitor's model instead because "it's a better deal". And that's not even factoring in manufacturing time -- which, while somewhat important for finished goods, is *extremely* important for parts suppliers. If you need 10,000 widgits a month to build your particular product, which company's widgits will you buy: Company A's $5 widgit (monthly production > 10,000 widgits), or Company B's superior (twice the quality of Company A's) $10 widgit (monthly production 2,000 widgits)? Picking Company B as your supplier means that you won't meet your own production goals --- and since there's no guarantee that the other pieces of your product have the same "superior" quality, so using Company B's widgit won't double your product's quality. And trying to mix both widgits means a) having to now diversify your product into "regular" & "superior" lines (something your advertising department wasn't ready for, & could have an impact on your overall sales), or b) dealing with the knowledge that you had to raise the price on all of your finished goods to cover the increased widgit cost, even though only 20% of the products were "superior" enough to warrant a higher price. As for special interests & their effects on government... pretty much everyone except the average worker has a lobbying groups. Farmers, manufacturers, financiers, big business, oil companies... you name it, there's a lobbyist for it. Not sure why you're focusing on union influence, which is primarily focused on Democrat-ticket politicians, when other big lobbies tend to be bipartisan in their vote purchases -- sorry, I mean "political contributions". As for my feelings on unions... I've worked both in private & public sector, with both union & non-union jobs. I've seen co-workers in both sectors fired for improper & unprofessional actions. I've seen plenty of hard-working workers in both areas... & I've seen plenty of people in *both* sectors that do the bare minimum necessary to keep their jobs & avoid being fired for their terrible productivity. Are unions perfect? No, of course not. But try telling people that corporations & their executives have perfect track records -- or that somehow their record is superior -- & people will laugh hysterically in your face.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

There is a set value placed on your position. There is also an ammount of money approved by a bean counter that does understand the work you do. At the end of the day your job may not even exist in your country. A "living wage" includes all living expenses. We are talking about: food, clothing, shelter, transportation and communication. Do you have kids? Would you like to? These are just basics. Do expect more from your employer?

reelskills
reelskills

Am i underpaid? Probably, according to some standards. But do i personally choose my employement? Yes. Does my employer owe me anything other than fair treatment, respect, honesty and a paycheck? No. We are all free to negotiate our worth like mature adults. We are also free to rely on others to do the negotiating on our behalf. I choose the former because i believe that competition is the best way to measure your earnings capacity. While i believe that unions have contributed to society by educating us about the rewards in balancing work with life, i feel that the time has long come and gone where we need to protect workers from competition and dabble in wage and price fixing - the economics just don't bear out in the end.

reelskills
reelskills

First, to assume that GE could even pay minimum wage is fallacious to begin with. For argument's sake, let's pretend that GE actually wants to make a profit like most folks who go into business. In order to make a profit they must produce a superior product than their competitor. In order to produce a superior product they would need superior (highly-trained) machinists - would they be able to get superior machinists at minimum wages? Very doubtful, unless your definition of highly-trained doesn't match up with actual level of training required. It would be quite a feat in mental gymnastics to conclude that it is even possible for GE to pay minimum wages to replace your brother in-law unless, GE isn't really too concerned with staying in business. Second, in an ideal world where special interest groups don't collude with politicians to set arbitrary wages, people with the best skills would get the jobs and pay they deserve,while others would have an incentive to improve their skill sets or go into industries where their skills are more readily needed. The fact is, when unions and government collude to set wages and benefits they rarely, if ever consider the natural fluctuations in labor supply, demand for specific skill sets or the impact on costs and competitiveness. By allowing unions and government to set wages, you are effectively creating perverse incentives for people to pursue careers in industries where they might not had the wages not been artificially set. These employment bubbles in manufacturing, and construction are a drain on an economy because jobs are artificially protected and were they not to be, you would see people migrating into industries that have a demand - kind of like the dot.com hiring frenzy. Hey, i don't have anything against anyone wanting to join a union but when that union colludes with government on the taxpayers' and business owners' dime - i have a problem with it. Besides, the only people who have anything to lose are those unwilling to keep their skills current and put their own self-interest before that of the country (in the case of public unions) or company. Those who have something to gain are those with ambition, advanced skills and those who appreciate wage and employment negotiation amongst mature adults.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

That is what I am saying. These greedy execs need to respect the working class and pay them a decent living wage. "over priced labor" is insulting. I hope mr. "reelskills" here is underpaid for his work and told that his job is going to be outsourced.

spdragoo
spdragoo

He's a highly-trained machinist, working at a company where his primary project is repairing GE engine turbine blades -- most of which came from & will be reused in helicopter turboshaft engines for the US military, as well as some civilian customers. Were they to start only paying minimum wage, though, he'd immediately quit & look for a job at another employer... & the current employer, assuming they didn't go out of business for lack of employees to do the work, would have trouble keeping customers once their minimum-wage, highly *unskilled* workers start churning out poor-quality work.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Now I believe I understand what you are saying but I still don't know why. Let me point you to the first paragraph of the article, last sentance: "is it that far-fetched to consider some large corporation or government is manipulating world affairs?" The "or government" part suggests that government agencies are relavent to the discussion. Another thing that makes it relevant is that the CEO of Goldman Sachs became the US treasurer during the Bush jr. administration. Under his watch the bailout forced the government to give billions of dollars to Goldman Sachs. This looks like an agreement between government officials and corporate executives to establish a strong conflict interest in policy making. A conflict of interest is against the law thereby qualifying as a "conspiracy". This is not a theory but a simple observation. Did anything criminal occur here? Was it really planned out in detail? I guess there is an argument for lawyers here but I know where I stand on this issue. For the record, the political machine does not limit or hinder business. Large corporations influence the government to sway things in their favor as seen in the bailouts and no-bid contracts. The government has not forced corporations to look elsewhere to conduct business it is the shareholders that demand an increase in profit margins beyond what is possible without changing the workforce. It is pure greed that leads to offshoring. Do not blame the unions or the taxes because that is the rhetoric of the people who already have 90% profit margins vs. 10% cost of business. It's absurd. The only unreasonable "personnel cost" is the upper execs who skim large portions of the corporate wealth off the top and then complain that there is not enough money left to run the business. These people will fire a 60k per year employee just to give themselves a 60k per year raise. I'm afraid that we are now off topic.

Dyrwydi
Dyrwydi

Sorry for the confusion - my comment about your first 8 "organizations" is that they are not corporations. This article is about private/public companies, not political entities. Regarding fraudulent activities that effect the world economy - Enron for example - are done without regard for world affairs, and therefor do not apply either. The writer is not saying that corporations do not conspire, he is simply saying that the grand scale which Hollywood so often depicts corporations as plotting at do not apply, in a general sense, do to a lack of internal organization. Regarding your point about the current global economic crisis is a great example, yes, but it has little to do with corporations and more to do with political machines trying to limit free enterprise through hand-outs, bail-outs and aggressive taxation, thereby forcing corporations to look elsewhere to conduct business. Your point about the writer being all over the place is well founded, and not a point I sought to challenge.