Your Sunday Rage

Decaying middle-class incomesFewer and fewer jobs that pay a decent wage for hard work? Higher and higher health-insurance premiums? (Or maybe your job just disappeared altogether, along with that great HMO coverage.) Sure does suck to be you, American worker, even if you toil in a sector that is supposedly run by good-hearted Prius owners.

But hey, at least you can admire the gated communities going up on the edge of town, browse Stanford’s website (they’ll even let you take an online course), maybe cruise the Whole Foods parking lot and try to guess which shoppers buy what percentage of their grocery list there, knowing that at least a few of your betters are doing just dandy.

Here comes the LA Times to cheer you up some more. From a Sunday feature story with a somewhat euphemistic title, “The Tougher Workplace”:

Employers once wanted long-term relationships with their workers. At many companies, that’s no longer the case. Businesses are asking employees to work harder without providing the kinds of rewards, financial and psychological, that were once routine. Employers figure that if some people quit, there are plenty of others looking for jobs. […]

The workplace is even tougher for the millions of Americans who have lost the security of a steady paycheck, as companies rely more on temporary staffing agencies. Temp jobs used to be a gateway to permanent employment. Increasingly, they have become a way of life. About 25% of the workforce is temporary, according to research firm Aberdeen Group, up from 17% in 2009.

Woah, slow down, Upton Sinclair! You could take the glass-half-full angle, and see this as an economic environment where workers are given the opportunity to explore creative employment pathways they didn’t even know existed. One man’s untreated chronic illness is another man’s steroidal profits.

For more on the brave new neo-liberal paradise we’re slouching toward, check out this great new documentary.


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