An employee is a cost center. Everybody is replaceable. Somebody above you is trying to get rid of you to save costs. You have to understand what you are and make sure that you're always adding value, so that you're the last person to be whacked.
--- Kevin O'Leary, "Shark Tank"
I caught some of "Shark Tank" for the first time the other night (it was an old episode), and I was absolutely appalled by one segment.This nice young couple came out with a nice, attractive sippy cup that had a bendable straw which allowed your kid to get all the liquid out of the bottom of the cup, it was made with BPA-free plastic that wouldn’t disrupt your kid’s hormones, and it was made in the good old U.S.A. — on purpose. This couple wanted to make an American product. Good for them!
Vulture capitalist Kevin O'Leary was quite insistent that the product should be made in China because it was cheaper. Hanna Lim explained that moms often go into children’s stores and say, “Show me what you have that isn’t made in China.”
O'Leary looked annoyed. Why would they do that? he wanted to know. (Oh, I dunno, maybe their long-established habit of lying about hazardous ingredients so they get contracts to make products CHEAPER FOR PEOPLE LIKE HIM?) You could tell he didn’t believe her, either. Just another bleeding heart, getting in the way of his God-given profit margin.
And it never even occurred to him that many of us are willing to pay extra to keep jobs in America. Because the only thing he thinks about is money, money, and more money.
Back when I was a department head for a Fortune 500 company, there was a story in the Times that impressed me enough to cut it out and keep it for many years. The author talked about the ethics of the bottom line -- that when officers and managers demanded certain impossible standards -- cheaper prices, impossible deadlines -- what they were really saying to their employees was, "I don't care how unethical you have to be, just get it done." Then they had the luxury of saying later, "I'm shocked that someone was cutting corners like that."
The author said they were just as guilty, because they made unethical behavior inevitable. (See "Jamie Dimon.")
If the only thing a vulture capitalist should care about is the bottom line, and abstract concepts like the greater good only get in the way, why stop there? Why not sell human organs, or run a specialty brothel for pedophiles? After all, when your job is shareholder value, why draw these artificial moral lines?
This kind of thinking, and the fact that these moral ciphers are hailed as heroes, is just another reason why we’re so very fucked.
On the bright side, it also makes it even more likely there will be some corrections when the class war pendulum swings back the other way. So we got that going for us, which is nice.