(Picture of my friend Omar – retirement in Gambia was not easy)
The recent scandal involving one of Canada’s banks outsourcing jobs at the expense of their own employees epitomizes the societal deconstruction that is taking place. The fact that government is doing the same is most disturbing. This phenomenon is not unique to Canada, as the so called developed world creates the largest human scrap pile in history.
It is demonstrated by the current situation in Europe, where in some countries people are experiencing conditions worse than the great depression. Nothing appears sacrosanct to the financial and corporate demolitionists, not even people’s hard earned savings, as evidenced in the recent banking fiasco in Cyprus.
Political gridlock in the United States is shifting the most advanced country in history to the brink of fiscal and social collapse as politicians bend to the whims of the billionaires who control the economy.
The Canadian government, besides its sinister immigration policies, has made legislative changes that neuter government services, destroy the very basis of scientific research and are creating new banking regulations that allow them to emulate the Cyprus bank expropriation of people’s savings.
This deconstruction of society is blamed on the people themselves, because they have taken advantage of the programs created by previous governments and businesses to make life easier for all.
The roots of this transition can be traced back to the 1970s and 80s, an era where the middle class was blossoming and the gap between the rich and poor was the smallest it had ever been. Obviously, this balance was untenable to the few who wanted it all.
Thus began the unraveling of the modern society created after the most devastating war in history.
Unlike now, instead of drastic cutbacks, the fiscal architects utilized more subtle means, including the benefits and social programs that had been hard won.
Corporations and governments alike began to push people into early retirement by using incentives and bonuses to make people redundant. Pension schemes designed to provide a secure income to people at 65, when financial needs would be less, became golden handshakes to people who would accept redundancy.
This was compounded with legislation passed in the 1990s allowing corporations to not fully fund pension plans, even though they were being overloaded with early retirees. Most government pensions were unfunded and paid out of general taxation revenue, which could be increased at will. Freedom 55 became the cry as people naively accepted what they thought was a bonus (and for some it was).
Today’s reality is that most pension funds are underfunded or bankrupt. Many have been propped up or assumed by governments, adding to their own growing debt loads.
Technology also played a role in societal decline, despite its more beneficial aim. Innovation, developed to ease the burden of human labour, became a chosen weapon to remove the human component of employment and bring enhanced profits.
Even this was not enough. The realization dawned that the third (undeveloped) world had huge reserves of labour who could be employed for little remuneration. This brought on the outsourcing of labour and a transfer of production that rapidly escalated. Outsourcing has become the norm for even low paying non-skilled employment, once the only hope of the poor and destitute.
The latest tactics utilized easy money to create a huge financial bubble. The ensuing mega bailouts by taxpayers shifted more wealth, disparaged pensions and savings and contributed to this downward spiral.
The marginalized and the disenfranchised continue to grow, as does the despair.
The elderly are now a burden, youth are without jobs or hope and the middle class is being squeezed out of existence. Even professionals, educators and skilled workers alike now struggle to find meaningful and secure employment. This vicious circle of disparity is threatening the very basis of our society and will set back human progress for generations; if it recovers at all.
It appears that those most wealthy are on the precipice of having it all.
Fiscal wealth is artificial at best, a construct of those who must control. It has been built on a foundation of capital growth which expanded because the poor were given more access to it. As the ways and means for all to participate and contribute are reduced, the very basis of this growth in capital is imperiled.
It was this widely shared and circulated fiscal wealth that provided the improvements to education, innovation, technological and social development and created our civil (and more civilized) society that is now under siege. It was not the concentration of wealth, in the hands of a few, as is being witnessed today.
This appears lost to those with financial wealth, but apparently little wisdom.
So as more and more people are dumped on the societal human scrap pile of despair increasing anti-social behavior, violence and upheaval, perhaps it is time to contemplate the foundations that gave the developed world its prosperity.
Written By Bill Pardy
April 24, 2013