Class Warfare Blog

February 22, 2016

The New Slavery

The goal of the plutocrats now running U.S. society, including our governments, is now abundantly clear: they endeavor to institute a new age of slavery. This was made evident in an editorial in today’s N.Y. Times with the compelling title of “A Rising Call to Promote STEM Education and Cut Liberal Arts Funding” By Patricia Cohen (Feb. 21, 2016).

Wait, that doesn’t sound so radical, does it? It does if you know a few facts. For one there is no reason to favor STEM education over any other. There is no shortage of qualified applicants for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) jobs. The unemployment statistics show this in the numbers of recent graduates who cannot get jobs in their fields as does the basic fact of economics that if there is a shortage of workers of a particular type, their wages increase (to attract the few that are available). Wages in this field are changing no faster than the others. The “shortage” of STEM job candidates and STEM college graduates was cooked up by plutocrats to support their demands for more visas to allow STEM foreign workers into the U.S. Recently Disney was caught laying off 20 of its I.T. employees to be replaced by foreigners on work visas, for example. There was no “shortage” other than the one created by the firing of the current workers who, by the way, were earning performance bonuses so it is hard to argue they were substandard.

The plutocrats really like these workers on visas, as they work for less, which drives down wages for all of the other workers in their category and they don’t complain, because if they lose their job they lose their visa and “bye-bye U.S.”

“Welcome to the new slavery. The chains are invisible but real. Sit down and shut the fuck up.”

What is telling are the arguments being used, basically “STEM good, humanities bad.” They argue that public money shouldn’t be spent on students who would be working at the lower paying jobs that a humanities education affords. (I hear echoes of “effing hippies” from the 60’s.) This argument is, of course, bogus. Currently humanities college graduates in the U.S. have starting salaries that are roughly equal to the median salary of all Americans. This means those humanities grads, all things being roughly the same as they have been in the past, will be earning above average wages for the rest of their lives, which means they will pay above average taxes and the taxes in excess of the average amount repay the public for the education expenditure several times over. So, guarding the public coffers is a bogus argument.

Also, the plutocrats are basically saying that we should use data regarding what people are making now to focus our attention regarding what is important in an education. This makes no sense in an economy in which people’s jobs are changing so fast that the average worker can expect to have seven different jobs in their working life, many of which have not yet been invented. (If you used the job description “social media consultant” ten years ago, what would people have thought?)

It is clear the kind of future the plutocrats plan. They expect citizens to “sit down and shut the fuck up” while they run the country however they wish. If citizens are to have choices of political candidates it is only ever between candidates that offer no threat to the status quo. If a candidate does offer a threat, say recommending free education and higher taxes on the rich (Go, Bernie!), he is to be quashed as strongly as possible by a candidate propped up by the plutocrats.

To enforce this vision of the future, the plutocrats are using chains of debt. For example, many political upheavals in this country have been supported by college students. A few changes in the tax code and voilà now total college student debt exceeds total credit card debt (think about that). A student looking at a mountain of debt that needs to be paid off cannot afford to blemish his ability to get a good paying job with an arrest record, etc. so, college students have been defanged.

Additionally, teachers and teachers unions have opposed plutocrats (even to the point of voting for Democrats), so now they are demonized and beleaguered on all sides and are no longer a political force.

Welcome to the new slavery. The chains are invisible but real. Sit down and shut the fuck up.

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15 Comments »

  1. Excellent. Thanks, Steve.

    Like

    Comment by Zach — February 22, 2016 @ 9:11 am | Reply

  2. It sounds like a conspiracy, but I suspect its simply a bunch of business all looking at the same cost-cutting option. Is there any way to find out if this is being taught at institutions such as Harvard business?

    Like

    Comment by john zande — February 22, 2016 @ 9:34 am | Reply

    • I just started reading a book (*Killing the Host* by Michael Hudson) and he claims that college econ departments have already drunk the Kool-Aid, many years ago and now teach a form of economic s that leaves out what people need to hear most. Business schools, I suspect have sponsors and business “leaders” who contribute to their “knowledge,” and well biases, etc. A well known form of bonding is to use the same language as the group you want to bond to, tell the same kinds of jokes, etc. So, to have a good reputation in the business community, you need to go along to get along. Anyone claiming that “the Emperor has no clothes on” will ordinarily find himself friendless, grant-less, and out of favor with his/her colleagues.

      There are some aspects of conspiracy in this, although one could label them as something else. The conservative think tanks were created to feed line to the likes of Marco Rubio and other Republicans who have bought in completely. Then there is ALEC which feeds “pre-approved” legislation into state houses. I don’t think we are dealing with a cabal so much as a large group of people with common economic interests who are in favor of skewing the field so all the money rolls downhill into their pockets. Business ethics are nowhere in sight, greed is.

      On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 9:34 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 22, 2016 @ 9:43 am | Reply

      • It’s a game of follow the leader

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        Comment by john zande — February 22, 2016 @ 10:01 am | Reply

        • Well, like a pack of starving dogs heading to a food dish. Greed is apparently a very powerful motivator. I think the leader is whomever is currently in front of the charge, not really leading at all but giving a target to the others following to keep up and stay the course.

          On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 10:01 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Comment by Steve Ruis — February 22, 2016 @ 10:04 am | Reply

          • Ah, but don’t forget, its not seen as inherently dangerous because, well, “Hey, we’re just a small company, one company, it doesn’t really make any difference…”

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            Comment by john zande — February 22, 2016 @ 10:05 am | Reply

            • The same attitude goes to people taking “souvenirs” at public monuments (like at Stonehenge “There is so much rock, they won’t miss a little chip!”).

              This is because there is no structure supporting corporations having a social conscious. Could not corporate law require such? We think of people without a conscious as being flawed sociopaths/psychopaths but are perfectly comfortable with “corporate persons” lacking a conscious.

              On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 10:05 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by Steve Ruis — February 22, 2016 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  3. […] The New Slavery […]

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    Pingback by The New Slavery | oogenhand — February 22, 2016 @ 11:55 am | Reply

  4. Oh, my. Your final statements : the chains are invisible but real. Sit down and shut the fuck up. You have described each and every one of the many long years I tried to expose the abuses of NCLB and then R2T inside our school and inside our inner-city district—-and got nowhere fast. That really is the modern day school reform mantra: Sit down and shut the fuck up.

    Like

    Comment by ciedie aech — February 22, 2016 @ 12:40 pm | Reply

    • The entire “school reform” movement is based upon the same flawed logic. The plutocrats (The Gates, the Broads, etc.) want us to shut up and let them run things they ways they know they should run. They think teachers are motivated by money, as if we were salesmen. That we would embrace scripted lessons(?!). That teachers have been a liberal voice opposing the plutocrats moves essentially teed up education for the onslaught. It was trigger by plutocratic resentment that they had to pay taxes to support public education, yet couldn’t take a tax deduction for their kid’s private school tuition. So, they hijacked the voucher movement and the charter movement to turn them into “agents of change” (aka weapons) against the public schools. So, teachers are demeaned as being greedy (WTF?) hogs at the public trough when it is the privatizers who can’t wait to get their muzzles in that trough. Unions, of course, because they oppose plutocratic rule, have been marked for extinction since the ink on the New Deal was drying.

      If you can, don’t give in to their poisonous rhetoric, keep your chin up, and forge on.

      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 22, 2016 @ 12:55 pm | Reply

      • I like how you write with such passion and yet still manage to clarify the issue well; while I put years into trying to express my experiences with test-score destruction into my book, I still feel like I’m missing so many clues as to why I, and so many other teachers, have been so horribly abused.

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        Comment by ciedie aech — February 22, 2016 @ 1:04 pm | Reply

        • It is hard not to take it personally, but as far as the billionaires are concerned, you are a bug on the windshield of life. Disruption is necessary, they say. I am a proponent of progress. Keep what is good from past practice and earnestly try to make things better, then keep the better. It is a simple way to go. It is how science works. But these business types, especially the uneducated ones, seem to think that tradition is just “the way we have always done things” and they have made a summary judgment that public education is an abject failure (based upon what evidence I do not know because the evidence that is real does not support them).

          Back when I was teaching I heard universal condemnation of our public schools (stating wit a Nation at Risk, which we find out after the fact was a bogus) but simultaneously a lauding of our colleges and universities. Students from all over the world were coming here for educations and all of the Harvard and Yale educated plutocrats could hardly attack their alma maters, now could they? I kept asking why this was so, why it was we could create such wonderful public colleges and universities but not very good public schools. Mostly I laid any shortfalls at the feet of “reformers” who got “reforms” legislated (“New math”!) based upon essentially what were whims. And, the fact that when you corrected for socioeconomic status of the students private schools did no better than public schools in educating kids.

          Basically we are suffering from reform movements. But them what do we know, we are bugs on the windscreens of life.

          On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 1:04 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Comment by Steve Ruis — February 22, 2016 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

  5. Jeezuz. First they outsource the good paying jobs to cheaper foreign labor markets now they’re importing that cheap labor to our shores and putting us in bread lines. This can’t go on much longer.

    Like

    Comment by lbwoodgate — February 22, 2016 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

    • Yeah, my ex-wife ended up being required to train her replacement who had a Ph.D. *and *a lower salary than she was making (with an M.S. and a long successful track record). This was 20 years ago, but has been mostly sub rosa for that long because we have been distracted by sparkly bits and shiny lights (Look, look!)

      At one point in time Toyota of Japan listed as one of its prime directives “to provide good jobs for their employees” as that was a path to prosperity. Now American CEOs say “fuck the workers, keep the shareholders happy.” Why? Because the effing CEO’s golden parachute is in the form of stock shares!

      How much longer this can go on is the real question. I can’t believe that people aren’t out of the streets with pitchforks and torches at this point!

      On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 1:29 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — February 22, 2016 @ 1:55 pm | Reply


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