Thursday, October 29, 2009

Civil rights in the workplace


In the greatest surprise of all, the researchers discovered that the people who had been laid off often were happier than those left behind. Many had new jobs, even if they didn't always pay as well. Over and over, Moore says, average depression scores were nearly twice as great for those who stayed with Boeing vs. those who left. The laid-off were less likely to binge drink, often slept better, and had fewer chronic health problems.

The researchers say that thanks to the unceasing uncertainty inside Boeing, those who left felt as though they had escaped a bad marriage. At the time one Boeing employee told researchers: "You feel better when someone takes their foot off your neck."

Someday we may approach a conception of "civil rights" in the workplace, as there is no reason to tolerate in one sphere human relations that which is deemed intolerable in others. This might include the right to participate in decisions which bear significantly on one's life and livelihood, just as it would in instances when such choices are deliberated by the state, the family, or any other relation which aspires to a minimum of human decency.

For now, the rights of property supersede the rights of individuals employed by property; and, moreover, the rights of the communities from which they come. A free society will either reconcile the "rights of property" with the rights of individuals, or it be will be "free" only for particular individuals, not all individuals, in keeping with the social dimensions of its propertied class.

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