Social justice – just a ghost?

The poor get poorer, the rich get richer:

A study by the Hans Böckler Foundation showed that the salary gap between top managers and employees in the 30 Dax corporations continues to widen. Comparing the average salary in their company, the members of the Management Board earned 71 times as much last year. In 2005, this figure was still 42 Frank Appel, Chairman of the Board of Management of Deutsche Post, has reached the top position in the current ranking with 232 times annual income. The figures make one thing above all clear: the wages for work today are neither fair nor decent. How else could one explain to a nurse, for example, that despite the high level of responsibility and intensity of his work, he earns so much less than a board member who can’t even spend more than 24 hours a day on his work? What is crazy is that more wealth neither makes rich people happier nor does it bring them added value, according to a study by Andrew T. Jebb of Purdue University.

We have found that the ideal income is $95,000 for life satisfaction and $60,000 to $75,000 for emotional well-being Andrew T. Jebb, Psychologist, Purdue University


No consolation for low earners: although more money does not make you happier – too little money certainly does not make you happier either! Because money means security and once there was security for work. Sociologist Richard Sennett described the working world before the 1980s as a “steel-hard shell” in which chains of command, discipline, performance of duties and obedience were part of everyday working life.

The consequence was a reduction in individual freedom – but employees were rewarded with good wages, fair working hours, company pensions and job security.

Old securities were first shaken in the 1980s

In the mid-1980s there was a speculative bubble in the USA. On October 19, 1987, there was a crash: the Dow Jones index lost 508 points or 22.6 percent. This was the highest loss in one day in the history of the American stock exchange. At that time, the entire crisis potential built up by financial market-driven capitalism was discharged: foreign exchange transactions are carried out for pure speculation and not to hedge real economic companies against their exchange rate risks. It is not real capital but financial capital that dominates the economy. Speculative transactions increase much faster than production.

In other words, there is much more money to be made with speculation than with work.

Unleashed financial markets brought investors and shareholders ever greater influence. Unfortunately, they believe that any means of driving up a company’s share price and making a quick buck seems justified. In the course of this change, the salaries of the members of the Management Board were also unleashed, which in comparison may well be described as indecent.

Even diligent people can no longer become rich through work.

In the wake of the speculation on the stock market, a real showdown began for the stock companies: Permanent actionist restructuring, redundancies or the hiring of cheaper labour – all of this is popular with shareholders and stock markets because it leads to rapid price rises. As a result, the framework conditions of the work have changed continuously: Permanent jobs are declining, while fixed-term contracts, part-time, temporary and contract work are on the increase. A glance at the statistics of the employment office speaks volumes: While in 1985 there were less than 50,000 people employed as temporary workers, by 2015 there were already over a million. It must be stressed that these temporary workers pay twice: Firstly, with their taxes for an employment agency that seems increasingly incapable of providing secure jobs. Another time with her salary to the temporary employment agency: They collect money for every hour of work because they arranged the job, which should actually be the job of the “job centre”: Job agencies are therefore already sarcastically called “unemployment agencies”, which only manage the unemployed. Safe work is becoming increasingly rare there. Established companies often do not report their vacant positions at all. If one searches the job offers of the employment agencies, one often finds offers of these temporary employment agencies, also called employee leasing: Surrender seems to stand for the fact that they leave their employees unemployed again when they no longer have a job. They certainly do not offer job security, which contradicts the principle of their business model. What is left for the temporary workers? Insecurity and a meagre remainder of their wages.

McJob: Slavery in perfection!

The security and care that companies used to offer their employees has now given way to job insecurity and constant pressure to perform. “McJobs”, according to Richard Sennett, are another consequence of this development: instead of continuously and step by step improving their professional skills with an employer, many today jump from one poorly paid job to the next. This also has social consequences: Collegial ties and friendships in the workplace are becoming increasingly rare in a fast-paced working world. It seems as if the labour market, employees and employment agencies are bowing to the dictates of the speculative flow of money. Book author and stockbroker Dirk Müller is therefore certain:

We live in a sham democracy, in a “plutocracy”

Only a few elites determine what will happen in the world. At the same time, the plutocracy or plutarchy today is a form of rule in which wealth is the decisive prerequisite for participation in power. It’s the moneyed aristocracy. A study conducted by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page at the renowned Princeton University confirms the thesis of the controversial Dirk Müller. Their empirical study showed that the interests of the broad masses are mostly ignored, while the interests of rich elites are often cast in laws. Even though this study was conducted in the USA, similar results can probably be expected against the background of intensive lobbying in German politics.

There are more lobbyists than members of the Bundestag!

Presumably these are not sent into politics to represent the rights of the broad masses: In other words, the mass does not participate in the decision. These conditions are reflected in the subjective perception of the voters. According to a survey by Statista on the low level of political interest, 61 percent of those surveyed said that they did not understand what is going on in politics. More than half of the respondents assume that they would be tricked anyway.

Statistics put the masses to shame, not the moneyed aristocracy!

The spectre is not the dwindling security from dependent employment – it is the silence and disenchantment with politics of the people! The answer to these new conditions cannot be that citizens simply give up their democratic right to co-determination together with the purchasing power from work done! With the old dwindling order, new possibilities came into the world: never before have people been able to connect (digitally) worldwide in this way as they do today. Where once dependent security existed, there is now room for independent thinking and autonomous action. It is time to use the new means to fight for rights and to chase away the spectre of social injustice. Read more about me? Then register here in the blog with your e-mail as a subscriber. Since this blog is my hobby, there are updates irregularly (depending on how often I come to write) but without advertising & free!

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