How to survive the worst of capitalism
As we move into a New Year, we see a lot of problems in the world and a lot needs to change. We often forget, however, that the most important force for good is watching us every time we look at ourselves in the mirror.
We live in a capitalist society and capitalism has brought us a lot of good things. Private companies, large and small, provide jobs for many of us. And we value all of the goods and services they provide.
The problem is, the capitalists don’t seem clear on their goal. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, tells us that business and life leaders will seek win-win scenarios where all parties are better off.
However, does it make sense to produce vaccines and share them only with those who can afford the asking price while still allowing billions of people to go unvaccinated? Is it good to produce weapons and propagate wars that will result in the deaths of children? Is it okay to lie about a product to make a sale?
It seems that many in the capitalist class disagree with Covey.
What does this mean for those of us who are ordinary workers? Are we just supposed to get along in order to get along? Are we just supposed to put our heads down and do our job?
Given the current phenomenon of people leaving their jobs, many seem to be saying that winning a paycheck is not worth the price of their integrity. Even when the labor market is less forgiving for workers, there are things we can do to maintain a sense of peace and balance.
Psychologist Jordan Peterson advises paying attention to how we feel about our work. “If you are asked to do things that make you weak and ashamed, then stop. Don’t do them.
Peterson further advises that we prepare to make a lateral change in our job. Seek constant personal improvement. Develop the skills and character that will make you more valuable in your field.
Two cheers for capitalism, despite its inherent vulnerability by Pat Murphy
It may sound prosaic and uninspiring, but it brings the goods – prosperity and personal freedom.
His advice is not surprising. Unhealthy workplaces, especially those that don’t value employee input, tend to have high turnover rates. This is true in the public and private sectors. If employers want to attract and retain the best employees, they have to treat them well.
Peterson’s suggestion empowers the ordinary person. Unethical employers can’t do anything if no one works for them. They are limited if they cannot attract and retain the best people in the field.
It is an incredibly empowering message for the average person. We are the 99 percent, and the unscrupulous part of the percent is powerless without our cooperation. Even as consumers, we have the power to hold big business to account.
The key for each of us is to be mindful of our character. Do we really value human life, even among the poor and our neighbors on the other side of the world? Do we respect others and ourselves? Do we understand the life-giving power of integrity? Do we accept the truth, even when it makes us uncomfortable? Do we have the courage to do the right thing, or even admit that we may have been wrong?
We are living two years of a global pandemic, and 2022 will be a year full of challenges. We are all in the same boat, but each of us must choose how to respond.
I recently came across a quote from an unknown source. It is a reminder of the importance of the decisions that each of us must make as we move into the New Year and beyond: “You come to Earth to know your soul, not to sell it. “
Troy Media columnist Gerry Chidiac is an award-winning high school teacher specializing in languages, genocide studies and working with students at risk. For maintenance requests, Click here.
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