But How DID Economic Inequality Get So Skewed?

From Album 5

So, once again we’ve got one of our mighty corporate big shots going all Godwin — funny how our sensitive they can be, considering they’re supposedly forever fighting cutthroat competition — anyway, maybe Ken Langone just doesn’t realize how, well, regimented placed like Home Depot can be.

For decades now productivity gains have gone strictly to the top…while strict has become the watchword for the rest of us, strict as in STFU and keep working. I’m very fortunate these days to have a job that I like in a field I like, where I’m treated more or less as a human being. But it wasn’t that long ago when I was a cog in the corporate wheel, constantly exhorted to be more productive (to the point where I was taking up to 20 or more 200mg ibuprofen tablets just to keep the pain manageable); we were regularly told how we were a “cost” to the company (i.e., we should be grateful to have jobs at all)…not that I was on the day shift, but 9 to 5 had long ago become 8 to 5 (I guess lunch was “time-theft”). Even bathroom breaks were monitored, at least for time: each month we were given a grand total of one hour.

Something tells me Mr. Langone doesn’t even require a key to his private facility, much less permission to attend to personal business. And yet, at the first mention that maybe, just maybe, we exist not to be corporate drones, and that modest increases in taxes on those who’ve sucked up the lion’s share of productivity benefits…for things that would benefit ALL of us…suddenly we’ve become…the worst of the worst.

Hell, imagine what Langone might do if, god forbid, we really took something from him, like his jet…or his executive washroom.


5 thoughts on “But How DID Economic Inequality Get So Skewed?

  1. I want to start a tumbrel-oiling and guillotine-sharpening business, but my fear is that I’d make so much money providing those services that I’d end up in the top 1%.
    Quite a dilemma.

  2. At my current place of employment it is super common to refer to people as “resources”, eg, “In order to finish these projects we’re going need another resource.” It drives me wild every time I hear it.

  3. I think what I like best of all are the bosses and managers who insist that your every minute be accounted for, but if they decide the afternoon is too pretty to be inside, or if the morning came too early in the day, well, the office will get along just fine without them for a few hours. But YOU had better be at your station, answering the phone on the first ring, or he’ll know the reason why.
    I had one boss who was prone to slipping out early on Friday afternoons, but who almost always found a reason to call the office about 4:50 or so, “just to check his Monday morning calendar” or “did he leave his cell phone on his desk.” You could almost set your watch by it.

  4. Look, people like Langone had the business and mainstream press singing their praises for years. They’re rich! That makes them geniuses! They’re better human beings than the rest of us! Why? We don’t know… but they are! They’re… Masters of the Universes! Yeah, that’s the ticket!
    Etc., etc., etc.
    And, then, 2008 came, the inevitable happened and “WOW!” turned to “jump, you fuckers.” They must have gotten whiplash from the change in opinion.
    Well, now that they’ve weathered the crisis, their share of income gains is back to obscene and their wealth is headed for the exosphere again, they figure, we’re due for some serious stroking now, right? Where are the hosannas?
    Not forthcoming. Too many people hammered into powdered dust by their financial antics and not likely to recover anytime soon. A lot of people changed their opinions of the MOUs when their own dreams ended up in front of a firing squad of bankers and CEOs like Langone.
    So, Langone can think he and his “class” are being mistreated all he wants, but, I’d like to see a poll with the following two options: a) would you like to see whiny billionaire Ken Langone’s head on a plate?, or, b) would you rather kiss Ken Langone’s Armani-swathed ass?
    I have a feeling that Langone wouldn’t like the results. We could start the poll with his employees.

  5. @gratuitous –
    I once worked at a company where the official work hours were 7 – 5 Monday through Thursday and 7 – noon on Friday. It would have been just super except that my supervisor scheduled a recurring group meeting for Friday at 2. We supposed to feel grateful that we got a long lunch that day.

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