Monday, November 14, 2016

The Working Hard Class And...

...What Just Worrying About Jobs Leaves Us With.

This is another juxtaposition of two threads of thought bubbling up through the infosphere now.

On the one hand, as indicated by a piece done in the Harvard Business Review by Joan C. Williams, is the idea that Liberals and Progressives need to understand that the real middle class sees themselves as the Working Hard class. They've grown resentful of elitist professionals because they don't respect people who make their living telling them what to do when those same professionals don't understand the essential work ethic of the traditional working male breadwinner. The don't care about minimum wages for the bottom level of workers, or rights of minorities, or even unions for that matter, because these issues don't have anything to do with providing steady, truly middle income jobs; jobs for people who see themselves as the only ones who understand not only what hard work is, but who live the ethic of disciplined self denial. The people who also admire the rich because they must have had the same ethic in order to get that way.

Then there is the story out of Oklahoma now of just how much effect that waste water dumping back into the oil wells created by fracking have caused. This effect being, of course, the alarming increase of earthquakes that the pressure of waste water dumping has created.

What is interesting here is that we have not only a physical equivalent of what has happened to politics at the national level (earth shaking in its own right), but also the highlighting of a predicament faced by the political leadership there; a leadership, as the article indicates, is owned by the oil companies of Oklahoma. Even with the ground shaking away the infrastructure all around them they are loath to make waves that might upset the benefactors of so many jobs in Oklahoma. Jobs that I am sure have a good number of the white working class. The same folks who admire the rich for giving them jobs in the first place, as well as for whatever supposed efforts they did to get that way.

I would like to propose another class of people. This would be a minority class unfortunately, but they still need to be recognized. These are folks who have come from both the middle, and upper middle class, who are informed (as well as being educated), and have worked very hard to stay that way. Folks like myself, for instance, who worked days to put himself through the first two year college session (so that I could be a better writer, as well as someone who could read history and understand it). Someone who then got a little help (through the old CETA program) with the second stint at a Junior College, but who did so in one year because I already had most of the credits required from my first two years of college; taking on that further education so that I could understand what information processing was all about (getting an Associate of Science degree in Data Processing).

I mention this  only to illustrate that people who work at being informed, and trying to understand what is going on around them, work pretty damned hard as well to do so while still keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table; especially in the IT world where ten and twelve hour days, six and seven days a week, can be a regular occurrence.  And I mention that because I want to make it clear that folks in the middle do not have an exclusive on any supposed righteousness with a strong work ethic. As well as to suggest that just working hard does not give you a pass on being ignorant of what is going on around you.

This deficiency is important now because ignorance can, and will, kill you. More importantly, it can, and will, kill the planet we live on. The fact of the matter is that just wanting good jobs, and not wanting to rock the boat for those who create those jobs, is simply not going to cut it any more. Whether its lead in your drinking water because municipalities are either too underfunded, and/or too corrupt, because money stays with rich, and usually goes out to keep them that way; or because an industry group has either become too big to fail, or so big they can charge you whatever they want for what you need, for whatever profit they desire; make no mistake. It is your ignorance that empowers them, and which gives them the ability to make you work yourself into the ground for pennies on the hour compared to what they get in return.

And the bottom line for all of this is the economic operating system that allows it. The operating system that became obsolete the minute virtually any skill started to have to compete with machines skilled by electrified data retrieval.

If you want to talk about jobs why don't you try to start imagining that work ought to be oriented around communities actually providing for ourselves; doing the managing and the maintenance, so that we could make our own goods for living. As well as to imagine that we would represent ourselves in deciding policy and laws that we would then vote on. We could do that now precisely because we have the means to use technology in our best interests, balancing personal involvement with automation.


What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class

NOVEMBER 10, 2016

Oil And Gas Industry Ensnarled in Spate of Oklahoma Earthquakes