Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May Day USA

"The human story needed to be told, the full story, not just financial exploitation, but the devaluation of human life that can happen under the control of an employer..."
  -- Robert Canino, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Working life can be healthy & productive; teamwork toward a better world. But too many workers are unable to find such jobs. Instead they accept poor work with little opportunity. Such labor can quickly mire a worker into a cycle of permanent dependence. They're then highly susceptible to depression and illness; families & communities also suffer.

Employers are hurt when labor cannot be trusted. An entitlement or victimization mentality among workers can fester for years as a sour attitude and lack of job loyalty, but also erupt as a crippling lawsuit that closes an enterprise and puts everyone out of work. No society can operate long with a large proportion of wretched poor. President Obama has sadly devalued the word "hope" -- but aspiration must somehow be nurtured throughout society.

The Nordic model of workplace health has developed from solidly-grounded education. Sweden's Social Democrats, for all their problems, built a far-sighted system of community organization in support of basic human rights. The more egocentric & mercenary Moderate Party now pushes privatization. Plum benefits then accrue naturally to the wealthy & well-connected. Pervasive merchandizers peddle dreams - and often don't deliver as promised. Our communities become "buyer beware" zones - with more choice and more scams. All painfully learn to be guarded, cautious consumers. Fortunately, Sweden's foundations are not too easily eroded.