recentpopularlog in

employment

« earlier   
I don't trust girlboss companies who use intimate gal pal language with their workers any more than I trusted techbro companies who installed ping pong tables for their workers. absent of actual worker protections, informality is just an accelerant for wo
I don't trust girlboss companies who use intimate gal pal language with their workers any more than I trusted techbro companies who installed ping pong tables for their workers. absent of actual worker protections, informality is just an accelerant for work-life boundary erosion
work  labour  employers  employment  values  passion  DWYL  flexibility  informality  work-life-balance  conditions 
15 hours ago by petej
On the Tragedy of Paul Volcker
“The Volcker Rule

In 2009, when the world was falling apart, a lot of people were asking new President Barack Obama to turn to Paul Volcker, the tall and prestigious former central banker whose reputation was of near God-like stature. Obama did, asking Volcker for advice. But Larry Summers, key advisor to Obama, sabotaged the relationship. Volcker encouraged Obama to stop banks from gambling with internal hedge funds, but Summers wanted banks to keep gambling with internal hedge funds. Summers won the bureaucratic fight.

Volcker’s titanic reputation was by then decades old. But so too was Volcker pursuing honesty in finance, and getting pushed out because of it. In 1986, Ronald Reagan essentially fired Volcker from his position as the head of the Federal Reserve because Paul Volcker was trying to crack down on the junk-bond fueled mergers craze that was clearly corrupting America’s savings and loan banks. Felix Rohatyn, a Democratic fixer and Lazard investment banker, pleaded with the Republicans, “if we sacrifice Paul Volcker for the junk-bond mania, we will clearly show the world that we’ve lost any sense of financial responsibility.”

Here’s a story from 1986, at the height of the frenzy.

Volcker lost the battle at the Fed, and ultimately Alan Greenspan, who was on the payroll of one of the largest corrupt savings and loan banks, took over. Volcker, in pursuing financial rectitude, had no allies except the ‘respect’ of the financial world, which, as it turns out, isn’t worth much at all. And the reason, ironically, is because Volcker killed his greatest would-be allies.

I first ran into Volcker’s career while researching Penn Central, the train system that went bankrupt in 1970 in the greatest then-collapse in American history. It was like the Enron of its time. The Nixon administration tasked the conservative Volcker with overseeing the fiasco, and he was a fairly honest broker. He tried, not very hard, to get a bailout, but when Congressman Wright Patman said no, that was that.

In 1979 Jimmy Carter nominated Volcker to be the head of the Fed. Carter’s advisor warned him that Volcker was the “candidate of Wall Street.” In an era of red-hot inflation, Volcker’s goal was to cut the growth of prices, with the ultimate end of keeping the dollar strong globally. He had popular backing, Americans saw inflation as the most pressing economic problem. Volcker went straight at the auto sector, the unionized pace setting industry which set the informal wage growth patterns of the entire country since the 1950s.

His goal was to crush wages, straight out. To give you a sense of how strongly he felt about this goal, consider that during this period, from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, Volcker walked around with a card of union wages in his pocket to remind himself that his goal was to crush the middle class. Volcker even angered Reagan officials by keeping interest rates too high for too long. When they complained, he would pull “out his card on union wages” and note that inflation would not come down permanently until labor “got the message and surrendered.” Volcker said that the prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s was a “hall of mirrors” and that the “standard of living of the average American must decline.”

Volcker was a deeply conservative, but not corrupt, official. I think the speech that best exemplifies how he thought was one he gave in 1981 before the Economic Club of New York, lauding the bankruptcy and turnaround of the city.

Five years ago, when I last addressed the Economic Club, the preoccupation of the day was the acute financial distress of this great City and State. That big black headline in the Daily News—”Ford to New York: Drop Dead”—was not quite accurate. But in its bold and brazen way, it did carry an essential message. Any lasting solution to our economic problems would have to begin, and end at home.

A month or so ago, I was struck by another headline, this time in a Wall Street Journal editorial: “The Supply Side Saves New York.” Somehow, in five years, New York had become an example for the rest of the country to follow.”

Volcker, in other words, was an ardent fan of austerity. And in his speech, he explicitly noted that New York City had no printing press to get out of the fiscal jam it had been in. That was, as Volcker put it, “fortunate.” Instead, the city had to slash expenditures, particularly on the poor. Volcker hoped that the America would take this lesson to heart nationally, and since he ran the printing press, that’s what he made sure happened. He also believed strongly in slashing taxes, government spending, and in deregulation, as he said to businessmen in Kansas City that year.

Volcker raised interest rates radically, crushing small businesses, farms, banks, and credit unions. To many of his fans, and even his opponents, this was simply what had to be done to get inflation out of the system. But there was a brief experiment, if forgotten, experiment in trying a different path, In the spring of 1980, Jimmy Carter encouraged Volcker not to raise interest rates, but to place “credit controls” onto consumer borrowing. Credit controls are direct public rules on specific lending institutions that make it more or less expensive to lend or borrow, and were a major mechanism to keep inflation out of the system during World War Two and the Korean War. And the Fed had the authority to make it more expensive for banks and financial institutions to issue credit cards and lend money to consumers.

Volcker used these tools incredibly poor, clumsily even, with some suspecting he was intending to sabotage the use of regulatory tools he didn’t like. Inflation collapsed, as did interest rates and the economy slid rapidly. Within a few months, Volcker and the bankers got rid of credit controls. Inflation and interest rates jumped right back up, and Volcker was able to discredit credit controls. He then inflicted massive pain on the middle class instead of the banking system by using interest rates and monetary policy, instead of explicitly telling big banks to stop lending.

At the same time as Volcker was destroying unions, small banks, small farms, and small businesses, he was structuring the Too Big to Fail model of finance. In 1980, Nelson and Bunker Hunt, two oil billionaire heirs, tried to corner the silver market in league with Arab interests. Volcker organized a bailout. By 1980, Wall Street had gotten the message. Economist Albert Wojnilower explained, “It is now everywhere taken for granted that no monetary authority will allow any key financial actor to fail.”

In the middle of the 1980s, Volcker’s strategy looked like a success. Inflation was gone, the economy was growing, technology seemed to be restructuring society, and the workforce had largely been de-unionized. But there was a something of a mirage, as a bubble in financial leverage through savings and loan banks and junk bonds emerged. Volcker tried to crack down on this bubble, to block the use of junk bonds for certain kinds of seedy transactions. He knew a scumbag when he saw one, and the junk bond peddlers and M&A artists were scum. But by then, his allies against financial corruption, notably the small banks, small business, and unions, were dead or dying. So it was Paul Volcker and all his vaunted respect, versus an army on Wall Street.

There was no contest. The predatory bankers won, as they did again in 2009.

Towards the end of his life, Volcker railed against the corruption he saw everywhere. But he never connected the dots between his own actions destroying public institutions and the inability to constrain the financial corruption he despised. Many people in finance have fond memories of an incorruptible Paul Volcker standing up against financial corruption and reigning in inflation. Which is true. But Volcker really wasn’t on the side of democracy, and that’s why he oversaw nothing but decline.

I ran into Paul Volcker a few years ago at a conference when I was a Democratic Congressional staffer. He harangued me and said ‘why are you Democrats so weak?’ I wish I had responded, ‘because you killed the unions.’

And that is the tragedy of Paul Volcker.”
mattstoller  paulvolcker  2020  economics  middleclass  finance  us  policy  toobigtofail  labor  employment  unemployment  inflation  richardnixon  jimmycarter  corruption  democracy  work  banking  unions  smallbusiness  farming  albertwojnilower  austerity  creditunions  wages  responsibility  savingsandloancrisis  felixrohatyn  barackobama  larrysummers 
yesterday by robertogreco
*** Understanding The U.S. Economy: Lots Of Rotten Jobs
When U.S. unemployment is at a 50-year low, why do so many people have trouble finding work with decent pay and adequate predictable hours?

*“The problem is that the quality of the stock of jobs on offer has been deteriorating for the last 30 years

* The U.S. manufacturing workforce has declined dramatically in the past three decades from 23% of total US civilian employment in 1970 to just 8% in May 2019. [...] The decline in U.S. job quality over the past three decades is closely associated with the decline in manufacturing jobs.

* Worker participation is low due to aging population and because so many of the jobs are low paying.

* tech sector isn't big enough to compensate. “The sector—with its 7.5 million non-managerial employees (7% of all private sector non-managerial jobs) is simply not large enough to weigh heavily in the national totals and the welfare of the labor force at large.
jobs  unemployment  employment  wealth_inequality  inequality_economic  economy  Economics  grade_A  grade_AA  grade_AAA 
yesterday by Marcellus
State of the Unions
What happened to America’s labor movement?
employment  jobs  union  work  workplace  newyorker  2019_08_26 
4 days ago by antonio
Google fired us for organizing. We’re fighting back • Medium
Google Walkout For Real Change:
<p>Other topics, like Google’s work with Customs and Border Protection, the decision to place an anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant think tank leader on the company’s AI Ethics council, developing drone technology for the U.S. Department of Defense, the unequal and unethical treatment of harassment and discrimination on YouTube, a secret project to work with the Chinese government to launch a censored search engine in China, and the hiring of one of the architects of the Trump administration’s family separation policy, extend far beyond, impacting not just our workplace, but also Google’s users and customers, and indeed the entire world.

So we spoke up, and how did they respond? Google didn’t respond by honoring its values, or abiding by the law. It responded like a large corporation more interested in revenue growth than in ensuring worker rights and ethical conduct. Last week, Google fired us for engaging in protected labor organizing.

We’ve all been subjected to interrogations, some of us for hours, and all of us had our reputations smeared in the press as Google spread rumors that we were rule-breaking troublemakers who “leaked” sensitive information. This is flatly untrue, and in the privacy of our meetings with HR and Google’s internal investigations team, the company acknowledged this. A careful reading of their statements will only confirm this.</p>


The group of four (two men, two women) are urging people in technology companies - especially the big ones - to create unions in their workplaces. That's going to create some dramatic corporate culture clashes. But it also finally, definitely marks the passing of the time when people joined Google to get rich.
google  union  employment  culture 
7 days ago by charlesarthur
My experience as a remote worker - Josh W. Comeau's Blog
This is part 1 of a three-part blog post series. Today, I'll share what my experience has been like—it'll be an honest look at the ups and downs of remote life. Hopefully, this context will be helpful if you've been considering remote work for yourself!
consulting  employment  remote  software  development 
9 days ago by danesparza
Behind the Smiles
Amazon’s internal injury records expose the true toll of its relentless drive for speed
amazon  automation  efficiency  employment  fulfillment  health  injury  job  logistics  productivity  warehouse  from instapaper
11 days ago by antonio
Twitter
Dublin's homeless are being retrained as city tour guides
homeless  employment  from twitter_favs
11 days ago by freerange_inc

Copy this bookmark:





to read