On Earning a Living

Simply earning a living is getting harder to do in this economy, with jobs disappearing by the thousands, on a daily basis. Corporations are outsourcing as much as they can to what is euphemistically called the cloud. There are countless people who sign in to places like Amazon Turk, in order to do work that might pay two or three cents an hour, if they are lucky. Now, they have been broken down to meaningless bits, much like breaking the process of building furniture or cars down to assembly line procedures, so that one person can stand in a line-up of people doing nothing but tighten the same bolt all day long, in every car, or every chair that goes by. For a while, our unions did ensure that those people earned enough to be able to live. That ended in the 1960s and 70s, when the unions were systematically torn down, and what is left of them too often panders to the corporate elite.

Now, the unions have been all but completely crushed. It is now an actionable crime to own factories within the United States that pay their workers a living wage. The industry standard in the Twenty-first Century is sweat shops and prison labor. The rest of us are considered to be part of the cloud, that may be continuously cleaned out for money and labor, but never paid, or if we are paid, what we receive is less than subsistence level.

So, entrepreneurs, especially the ones working alone, who are attempting to establish viable businesses, are up against a tremendous amount in terms of finding clients who are able to pay them for the work they do. I have talked with many writers and editors who claim they are having an increasingly difficult time getting paid by so-called corporations for their work. They also have a much harder time finding clients who are able to pay them for the work they do.

The July/August issue of UTNE featured two articles about the struggles young college grads are having paying back their loans; Minimum Rage, and The PhD Now Comes With Food Stamps, and keeping a roof over their heads. Statistics for this phenomenon are easy to find.

All of this points to the fact that somehow we need to develop alternative currencies, so that we can afford to do the work we would like to do as the economy we have depended on all our lives is being systematically pulled apart. Corporate lawyers have seen to it that our government pays them to send jobs overseas. Contracts for infrastructure repairs on our streets and bridges are going to Chinese construction firms. The excuse given by our elected politicians for this behavior is that there are no longer people in the United States who know how to do this kind of repair. The truth is that Chinese workers are paid so little that it is cheaper to import them to do this work, than it is to pay workers a living wage here at home.

One or two people cannot fight this trend alone. Even fifty or a hundred people would be squashed within moments. Protests, with their marchers, shouters and sign carriers are no longer enough. It will take concerted action — civil disobedience, combined with the steady build up of alternative economies. Secession. Secession? Yes, secession. And knowing that 40 to 45-percent real unemployment that this country carries is not our individual fault. Yes, individually, we have made mistakes on the job. Who hasn’t? There are always things we could have done better. We could have been more suave and more productive. We might have been able to hang onto our jobs a few months, or even a few years longer — if only. But it is not our fault that it is now United States corporate policy to hire United States citizens as little as possible.

What are your experiences? Tell me about them. I am collecting information for interviews and perhaps a book.

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About Genevieve

Genevieve is a ghostwriter, specializing in memoirs, biographies and novels for her clients, since 2002. She loves her work, Her blog is a hodge podge of whatever happens to be on her mind when she sits down to write. Her essays may be about anything from family life, to politics, to good grammar. Come read it at http://thebestword.net/wordpress/ and leave a message.
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