The Dragon

Economy and finance are not my specialties. However, trying to live in a universe where money and finance rule the world is what I have to cope with everyday.

Is it possible that companies only look at their own benefits when it comes to workforce? They always want to increase their profit. I have never ever heard of a company that was satisfied with its earnings…
Now my question? Is a company an entity that breaths, sleeps, eats and decides on its own? Sometimes I come to think that companies are like the old dragons in ancient legends… They devour towns, burn crops and eat the princesses… =:-O But weren’t dragons created by human imagination? And aren’t companies founded, managed and brought to success by human beings?  Why is then so that money and profit matter much more than the well being of humans? This well being I’m referring to is not wealth or fame, it is only the right to have a job that allows you to live and feel human by doing so.

This weekend in an article in the newspaper “Die Welt” (only in German):

http://hd.welt.de/ausgabe-b/specials2-b/article126322364/Deutschland-riskiert-Erfolg-und-Wohlstand.html

Germany talks about risking its success and wealth by introducing a minimum wage, an earlier retirement age of 63 instead of the current 67 and by improving the rules for temporary work (Zeitarbeit). I ask myself again, is “Germany” a person or even “human”? Can “Germany” think and decide on its own?

It’s very comfortable to talk that way and to forget about the individuals, the single persons who constitute a company, a school, a country. It is also understandable that individuals have to build groups, find and share common interests, but are economic wealth, money and power really the common interests that we want to share as human beings?

In the article they (…or should I rather say “Germany” ?) are also worried that many companies will have to reduce their costs… again. How does this usually happen? By firing more people. They get rid of people in order to reduce the high costs that a fix wage would cause. Imagine the margins they are talking about! They are not planning on reducing the salaries of the managers or the costs of the top executives with company cars, business or first class airline tickets, evenings in expensive restaurants, etc. No, “they” prefer to get rid of more ‘workforce’ to continue enjoying the privileges of their high positions. Now, who are ‘they’? Those who have a well to very well paid position and have all the benefits, simply those who decide. Who is the ‘workforce’? The worst paid ones and also the temporal workers who have to accept a lower pay and worse working conditions than the contract workers in a company.

It is also true that we cannot find fairness in the world, and that we should not always compare ourselves with others, especially, if we cannot change anything at all. However, what I try to point out is that talking in an impersonal way: the company, the management, the country, we easily ignore that the unit of each one of this conglomerates is a person, yes, a human being, and not the capital, the money, the shares, the votes, or whatever…
We cannot either change society nor the economy, but I think that the economy has developed into a ferocious dragon that needs more and more victims to survive…

Another crucial topic in Germany is that most of the companies, top or middle, complain about not being able to find adequate candidates to hire… And we, qualified ‘workers’ older than 40!, are not even given the chance of starting in one of those positions and are denied the opportunity of showing “them” that we are able to learn fast. Because of our “advanced age” we also bring a lot of experience and many of the so called “soft-skills” so popular nowadays…
Currently, I know of some engineers, scientists, lawyers, … me… and other highly qualified ‘human beings’ who are struggling to find a job. So, what is happening? What kind of super being are the companies looking for? You usually find out that the ideal candidate should be flexible, well to highly educated, qualified, and, if possible… good looking, too!? 😉 And of course between 25 to 35 years old. In that case, I agree, there aren’t that many.

If I then consider the age pyramid in Germany, look at the picture… Then I ask myself, why do “they” insist on mostly hiring young people in a country that is not that young??

Image

From the “Sueddeutsche Zeitung”, 2010. (Männer = men; Frauen = women)

One of the consequences of this economic decisions is that there are a lot of time work companies who offer you a contract with them so that you can work as a hired workforce for another company to the lowest price. This contracts often offer less holidays and no long term contracts.
All these people with such time work contracts don’t appear in the unemployment statistics, where Germany makes a good figure compared to the countries in Southern Europe. Students who have finished and are looking for a job are not included in the unemployment statistics. People who aren’t registered as “looking for a job” in the Job Agency don’t count either. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbeitslosenstatistik#Nicht_in_der_Arbeitslosenstatistik_enthaltene_Unterbesch.C3.A4ftigung

Considering all these exceptions we may then understand why the unemployment rate is not that high…

I mentioned in one of my older comments that in this new economy I feel like in a modern slave market: you’re sold or given away, and maybe if attractive enough, you’re bought to the worst conditions and the cheapest price. If only Spartacus would come fast to save us!

However, I’ll take it easy and try not to get angry when I read such articles. I have just read in the blog of Enrique Boeneker, an excellent writer, that “bad news + anger = heart attack” .

http://boeneker.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/el-que-se-enoja-pierde-el-mundo-desde-mi-bici-lxxvi/#comment-80

As a conclusion, trying to change things that cannot be changed is impossible, I’ll try to accept them… However, I don’t know, if I’ll read the newspaper again…

I’ll better leave it here now and… Let’s hope for better times!

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4 thoughts on “The Dragon

  1. Hi Madri ! Always a pleasure to read your articles ! Maybe I have an answer for one of your questions. You are right, an institution is ruled by many human beings. They “work” together as a group, growing as a unique identity : a company, a country etc. When I discuss these things with my fiancé, he likes to remind me this : “Do you know how to calculate the IQ of a group ? Take the lowest individual IQ and divide it by the number of members in this group.” That makes me laugh a lot ! But I think in the case of a company, it really could be true. Yes, money is know the most important thing for those who manage the world. Another friend put this Indian quote on his facebook page : “Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.” Unfortunately, many people are too busy thinking and making money that they don’t see this. The only thing I can propose is to act and do what YOU think is right. We only act at our little scale but if one day a majority of people act right, I think things could be changed. I think we won’t see it work because it will need several decades or maybe centuries but I’m not hopeless, it will happen. And, anyway we’ve seen the fragility of the current system (1929 crisis, and 2008 crisis) so we know it’s nonviable. Thing is, when will the leaders of every country will understand this and stop trying to save this system (and give the banks everything they want…Even when THEY messed up !!!) just for a handful of dollars more ? I don’t think they will, so WE have to act in our way and support alternative systems. Change will come from us and not from them 🙂 XOXO !

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  2. Hello, Tona! Great article, and I am very glad that you changed your blog to WordPress. You will see it is far more flexible, intuitive and, of course, ease to manage.
    Regarding your article, Jorge Luis Borges said once that countries do not really exist, they are only abstractions created by the human mind. Unfortunately for all of us, these abstractions lead our lives. Now the trend, as far as I have seen, is that of the Indie produce. Indie stands for independent. The fact is that small businesses, which their reach is local or even regional, and that satisfy very specific needs are flourishing all over the world. Most of these Indie can be find in food, clothing, beverages, but also in music, literature (print on demand and ebooks have helped this) and any other kind of art also are being successful. The problem (which is not, at least not for me) is that you have to act like the “one man show” for at least a while until your project starts to pick up.
    I agree with you that the world, as it is, is not feasible, but we have to find proactively the proper ways not only to survive but to prosper as well.
    Thanks so much for the link! I felt honored to be included in this article, and much more when you called me “an excellent writer”.
    Please receive my best regards!

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