There is a massive incursion in our age that is so insidious, it slithers around us and shapes our thinking and changes our language completely undetected. It’s so subtle that most of you will struggle to realize what it is in entirety, but once pointed out you will see its ubiquitous hand reaching into everything. What am I describing? The incursion of a corporate value system.
Why is this value system taking over? Because if a person does not share in corporate values, they quickly find themselves unemployable or otherwise labeled as undesirable. When this happens, there is no money for that person. With poverty looming overhead, it compels people to take on what are otherwise a wretched set of values. However, if they do not take on this wretched set of values, they are left isolated in the cold without the means to purchase much of what they need to survive. (even health care depends on acceptance of these massive intrusive values)
So what are some of these values? Let’s name a few:
- Emphasis on results/accomplishments
- Emphasis off of individual and on “team”
- Everyone being paid, but discouraged from sharing what they are paid
- Policies in place for many scenarios—rationales for being kicked from the group
- Demand driving market
- Need to generate desire/demand
- Consumption being paramount
- Bottom lines being paramount
- Hierarchy: Do What Your Boss Says
- Safety: Only perceived as being had if job is secure/security through employment/status
- What you wear says in part where you are on the ladder
- Everyone is expendable besides the founder of the company
- Performance reviews with narrow metrics and margins for “success”
- Overtime or working extra for no compensation for the good of the company
Most of these values people won’t have trouble recognizing if they have been in the corporate world at all. If you notice, though, most of these values support one central thing: whomever is “at the top” pretty much gets to do what they want whereas everyone else down the pyramid is “obligated to the system”. The only one who has individuality if at all is the one who sits in the position of CEO. The CEO is not bound to most of these other rules, or at least not as tightly. He or she sits atop the dung heap, and as such usually acts to promote these hellish values to their own benefit.
The other thing this value system promotes is a strong division between those at the top, and those at the bottom. I’m sure many of you have worked in places where you never met the CEO, only perhaps hearing policy directives from this weird “God-like figure” or voice messages or key note speeches. The disconnect is there intentionally—those at the top never have to rub elbows with those at the bottom because those at the bottom are expendable—along with most positions elsewhere in the ladder—but especially at the bottom.
Now, you might say, “Okay Joe Bill, I see your point, but work sucks.” That’s fine. I’ll grant you that point. Work sucks, although it need not necessarily. Let me make it a lot REALER for you. Have you ever met the President of the United States? No? Me either. Yet, the president is charged with making decisions for all of us and yet has contact with only a fraction of us. The president, it is safe to assume, spends most of his time in a privileged bubble far removed from the reality most “average” citizens face. His health care is guaranteed, his salary is guaranteed, he has security of the sort that most people can only dream of—and the same thing for most politicians. He works essentially in the same capacity as our CEO example above, there are levels of power, and levels of expendability. Just as in chess all the pieces conspire together to protect the king, in politics a lot of pieces conspire to protect certain “high ranking” pieces.
It is this massive disconnect and depersonalization that these values at a corporate and national level that are causing absolute break downs and hemorrhaging not only financially but globally. Without the cross pollination that happens from people bumping into each other from different walks of life—those at the top to those at the bottom—it becomes possible for people to live in perspective bubbles. In rich areas, people are isolated from the difficulties of deprivation such as health care and having food and education readily available. Such people cannot fathom how it is that people can be poor. Why don’t they just work harder? By living in their protective bubbles, they never taste anything other than their own reality, which is well-insulated from the pieces that don’t suit it.
What this lack of connection promotes more than anything else is allowing these values to flourish. It becomes self-reinforcing as those who adopt these values do “well” and those who don’t either have to go somewhere else that these values are not predominant, or else they do not do well. The story from the “successful” people will be “They needed to work harder” which basically means adopt the above skewed values. As these values gain momentum, they echo through an entire society, and things that before were not subject to these values become that way. For instance, if something is “made by the Amish” it is marketable strictly because the Amish still make stuff that doesn’t suck—that is to say that they haven’t bought into the above values, although they are marketed in such a way as to highlight that. Everything is for sale—everything is a matter of markets. It’s all subjugated to the dollar, which is tethered to the above lop-sided valuation of life. Is it any wonder we find the walls of society and the monetary system crumbling around us?