Image: Your Little Planet
Corporations provide the economic foundation for the common good in supporting a community. Air, water, and land need to be kept in good stewardship by companies using these natural resources and returning them as they found them. Yet, there is an economic responsibility too – good jobs for fair pay while keeping the social contract with the worker.
The New York Times returned to the Carrier site in Indianapolis that 20 months ago President Trump ‘saved’ from being moved to Mexico. Today, the furnace plant is plagued by absenteeism and concerns that the plant will be shut down when the political light is gone. Management has not helped when the CEO of the Pratt and Whitney that owns Carrier said that there would be lost jobs and automation would help to reduce costs. Unfortunately, the Carrier situation is true for many blue collar workers in America, always looking over their back, with a cloud hanging over their job future. There isn’t a cloud hanging over executives careers.
How can workers make commitments, to their families, pay mortgages, make car payments are send children to college when there is economic uncertainty hanging over them.
It used to be that corporate management was concerned with the future of their workers in a deep and personal way, which was reflected in their policies. All too pervasive in executives suites throughout America is the focus on profits, stock price and how to make more money – with worker security and careers taking a second place or not at all in the financial plan. Certainly corporations have extreme competitive pressures worldwide, government regulations and personnel laws to adhere to. Yet, when companies announce automation plans, they seem to forget the people losing jobs to robots are unlikely to get another job that pays as well.
Automation is a social concern, damaging the common good that workers can’t be just flung out of work while all the executives left make more money. There is something intrinsically unfair with this model.
People are the most important resource in our economy, we need to be thinking of how we treat people when economic storms come. When companies automate workers out of job they need to take the social responsibility for ensuring the worker thrown out of work and still progress positively in their economic life. While, a capitalist democracy supports corporations as private property and run entity, with the onslaught of automation corporations can’t just run the other way after giving the laid off worker a small severance check and say ‘good luck’ That approach is just not enough, the corporation profits the worker loses. We need to end the spiral down for workers, they need to be guaranteed a productive economic life just the same way an executive who is left with the benefits of an automated factory.