Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Signing the declaration of dependence

Carl J. Schramm, Foreign Affairs:

Strictly speaking, economies do not grow. It is individual firms within these economies that grow -- or shrink. The collective fate of these firms is the fate of the economy.

In any discussion of "the economy," we always have to ask ourselves what our relationship is to those "individual firms" of which it is comprised. If we aren't equal partners within these organizations, and if our work isn't contributing toward shared goals, then whether or not the economy does well isn't particularly meaningful, because it doesn't reflect our concerns in the first place.

The fact that we identify our own fate so closely with that of "the economy" owes specifically to the kind of relationship we have with its constituent parts, our employers -- that of dependency.

It is significant that a country which makes so much of its independence from an 18th century monarchy today finds the great mass of its populace signing a "declaration of dependence" on a boss who lords over them for the better part of their waking hours, and for whom the sidelining of every other obligation is required for this privilege. Such is the drawback of retaining only those notions of "freedom" that pertain to 18th century aristocrats, while abandoning any adaptation of Enlightenment principles to Shit That Actually Matters Today.

This note brought to you by Philadelphia Pale Ale.

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