Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Nothin' To Say

But that's never stopped me before...

I really don't have a damn thing to write about, but I'm bored, so here goes, anyway...

Actually, I was thinking about the state of our nation, and the way our society has become oriented as of late. I brought this up in a conversation with a coworker. She said she was disgusted with corporate America - Executives who get paid more and more and take huge payments and packages when the leave a company, while the workers labor for 40 years and get nothing: I compared the leaders of corporate America to the infamous 'Robber Barons' of the 19th Century. She thought about that for a moment, and then told me that she disagreed; I told her, "You're wrong, and here's why..."

My friend's argument lay in the fact that the so-called Captains of Industry of the late 19th century gave much to the country: She noted that, "Those guys donated Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, Carnegie Hall, The Astor Library, the Cooper Union, and a couple thousand of Carnegie's libraries across the United States," and all that's true. Her point was that today's Robber Barons don't do that, and as such, are just taking and not giving. She's right about that, but wrong about the Barons...

The term 'Robber Baron' is an interesting one, the roots of which are not commonly agreed upon. The prevailing nod seems to be a reference to medieval royalty who generally stripped their commoners of everything that wasn't nailed down, and made the term usury status quo. In any case, the term wasn't invented for Andrew Carnegie and company in the late 1800s. And I don't think anybody was calling Carnegie, John Jacob Astor, Henry Frick, Jay Gould, J.P. Morgan, John Rockefeller, or Cornelius Vanderbilt, 'Robber Barons' in their day - I doubt you'd have gotten away with that and remained employed or healthy all that long...

More to the point, I've never read or heard anything that convinced me that The Robber Barons gave a damn about their fellow man in general during their lives, and although they did contribute to charity, (And in some cases became downright philanthropic in their later days), none of them gave away more than a tiny fraction of the immense wealth they kept. One could probably argue that Bill Gates has and will given away much, much more than that whole bunch combined...

More to the point for me I guess, why I don't buy that there's a whit of difference between the current bunch and the Barons themselves is this: Business and industry shows us, each and every day, that they collectively don't give a damn about mankind or the common good. The current Captains of Industry find more and more ways to take virtually everything from workers, and to keep their amassed riches: Look at this complete asshole who ran Enron into the ground having the gall to sit in the witness stand and claim he knew nothing about the company's condition when he left, when it collapsed completely four months later. He tries to blame it all on a few E.V.P.'s and claim they caused it between the time he left and the meltdown... What a complete crock of horseshit... "How many millions do you still have, you prick?" is my question for him and Ken Lay, and all the rest of these pompous jerks. I've done refinances for several blue collar types ruined by Enron's collapse - They lost everything, and weren't allowed to sell off their stock when it was going from three figures to pennies, because of selfish jerks like him... I don't want to get into any of the myriad of other examples, because it just pisses me off too much.

Industry and business do nothing for the world; they merely enrich themselves. The stock market does nothing but reflect itself: It is absolutely not even a dim reflection of business in this country, and that, firends and neighbors, is exactly the scenario which lead to the crash in '29. Workers are sacrificed without a thought, and the gap beween rich and poor widens more every day. As far as I'm concerned that aspect of society has advanced not at all: There's no difference between these jerks and the Barbarian Hordes of old - They rob, cheat, steal, kill, and employ extraordinary disregard for the well-being of man and pervasive dishonesty in nearly everything they do. The only difference is that they wear better clothes and have more advanced weaponry, but cleaning up nicely doesn't mean they're any more civilized. Am I idealistic, jaded, out of touch, and unrealistic in this perspective? No, I'm a Christian who expects people to care about one another, no matter what they do for a living. Every day that passes makes that more and more a necessity for the long-term survival of mankind. We as a species can't afford selfishness, ignorance, abuse, misuse, and uncaring industries and governments - We keep going that way, we'll all die sooner than later.

And the road jams up with credit, and there's nothing you can do,
It's all just bits of paper, flying away from you.
Oh look out world take a good look, what's come down here;
You must learn this lesson fast, and learn it well.
This ain't no upwardly mobile freeway,
Oh no, this is the road to hell.

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