Tuesday, January 11, 2005


The move to privatize social security -- or create "personal" accounts in the administration's Newspeak that the media cheerfully reproduces -- attacks one of the few areas of socialization of risk left for ordinary people.

Social security was a cornerstone of the post-depression contract between business, labor, and the government. It represented a safeguard against communism and socialism.

Why is the current corporatized government not afraid of worker unrest? Is it because communism is dead? Because they have dismantled unions?

Why don't the spate of corporate scandals inhibit them? Enron? Worldcom? Tyco? Or the galling contrast betweeen the golden parachutes/indulgent pensions for execs (who perhaps worked for a company for a few years) and those of ordinary workers who may have worked decades, their entire working life for the firm?

Executive compensation is unhinged from any straightforward concept of labor, certainly in terms of time -- it is not alienated labor by the hour. The term plunder appears. The executive elite distribute rewards among themselves as if it were monopoly money -- millions here and there, now and in the future. (I just read the New Yorker article on Eisner & Ovitz: a bad and illegal hire results in millions for both and a few hundred thou for the fellow who brokered it.)


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