Naming public things

Why oh why do we continue to glorify politicians?  We elect them to do a job, they do the job, often poorly, then we name streets, bridges, airports, parks, schools, and buildings after them, and we give them awards.  This makes as much sense as glorifying street sweepers or doctors.  Even worse, because street sweepers and doctors tend to do useful work.  What kind of sick society do we live us that compels us to put politicians on pedestals?  The next time your local community wants to name something, attend the meeting and suggest we name it after Irena Sendler, or someone like her.

Corporations are ‘job creators’ only as a last resort

My subject line is a quote from Jerry Davis of the University of Michigan.  And from Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times:  “By the turn of the 21st century, a company’s overall market value was no longer tied to its payroll. In 1962, the largest corporation by market capitalization was AT&T, with 564,000 employees; in 2012, it was Apple, with 76,000 employees. Big employers are now typically retailers and food service firms, which employ armies of part-time and low-wage workers; the largest employer among big companies today is retailer Wal-Mart, with 2.2 million workers.  Shifting inputs from built-in-house to built-outside and then ordered just in time revolutionized manufacturing. The same trend is being followed with labor, rather than raw materials or parts. That’s Uberization — the company doesn’t even outsource labor, it just orders workers at the moment they’re needed.”

He goes on to say “Society as a whole may also have to recognize that the responsibility of social welfare, whether healthcare or retirement, will have to be borne more by government, a trend that started as long ago as 1935 with Social Security, continued with Medicare in 1965 and proceeded with the government subsidies provided to insurance purchasers by the Affordable Care Act. If corporate employers and their shareholders are intent on shedding their traditional roles as bulwarks of the working person and the family in order to keep more wealth for themselves, there really is no other way to make them pay.”

I think these guys have hit the nail on the head.  I was with NetApp a couple of years ago, a company with then, 13000 workers.  Almost half were contractors.  This is clearly a trend.  Work used to be defined as a career, then moved to a job when people came to see that company loyalty was no longer rewarded, and now, it’s becoming a task.  I’m not sure we can or should do anything to reverse this, but Mr. Hiltzik is correct, government will have to intercede on behalf of the worker/citizen.

This is huge.