American Work Ethic
edited: Tuesday, January 26, 2010
By Andrew Kosakowski
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Tuesday, January 26, 2010
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This is another piece that I wrote to assist in the development of my writting ability and style.
The United States Government has done a wonderful job in regards of protecting its population in terms of economics, but the population has no desire to accept responsibility for its work habits or take into consideration the strain of its demands put on an employer. A donkey that is led to water cannot be forced to drink. The American population’s gluttony for all needs to be met without sacrificing anything of themselves has become the basis for modern work ethics. There are an astounding number of programs in place to assist all Americans who need help and are willing to do the work to help themselves; but too often, the American worker would rather starve itself than to work through a smoke break. A time has come, and the American population has decided not to help itself; rather, it would spend time on being a spectator in its own downfall.
During the Industrial Revolution, many things changed in the ways management and employees interacted. For the first time unions were assembled successfully in the United States. Even though there were scabs, and the legal system usually sided with companies over unions, management did start to make concessions. In some cases, stock options were even starting to be offered.(Labor)
In the 1930’s there was the Great Depression which brought about many changes in the way that the American worker and the employer transacted business between one another. Upton Sinclair’s book, The Jungle, presents a good illustration of some of the controversies of the time. An example would be the boy who worked in a meat packing plant, who was responsible for stirring the boiling parts of the cow that could not be sold “as is.” One day he fell into the giant vat of boiling cow entrails and his body was never recovered; instead, parts of him turned up in cans of product the company sold. The book did not mention any repercussions that the company might have suffered. America’s workforce had very few rights when it came to work and could not imagine such a thing as welfare or unemployment insurance.
For the workers who did lose their jobs, there was not much government assistance to help them meet their financial obligations. They would have to depend on contributions from family, their religious organizations, and they would even have to swallow their prides and ask their neighbors. The Industrial Revolution is not where asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar originated, but it is where it became famous. That, of course, all changed when America decided the Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” was going to lead the American worker out of its dark age.
President Roosevelt did create the first real American social security system; its main responsibility was to provide unemployed workers with food and financial assistance. This meant that even families that were too ill or in some other way could not, or did not want to, work would still have a means of nourishment. Unemployment Insurance even came into being and sweetened the pot a little bit. If a person was incompetent or lazy and their employer had to let them go, they would still collect a regular pay check. This was a big win for America because it gave the security to know that if a worker became ill, was laid-off, or was disabled and could not work the bills would still get paid, and the family would still eat.(Francis)
America started to become a little more plump in the decades that followed; World War II gave rise to a surplus of employment, workers were even receiving better educations, and the government gifted grants to states to maintain public works operations. The United States workforce was becoming savvier. That changed only slightly in the 1960’s and 1970’s. There was a great movement that swept the nation but did not bring about great rewards for America. The nation was changing with civil unrest, the war, and race relations. Many companies moved their locations from unionized areas, to areas where unions were banned by law; many other companies began to simply outsource their work to foreign countries. (Labor)
Indolence in America and its ignorance of changing employer needs had started to take a toll on the relationship between it and its boss. America did not realize that the cost of unemployment insurance, ritualistic demands and treats of strike, and America’s new found attitude to question authority might have started to take its toll on employment. Yet, employment had recognized the need to take a break from America; when employment found India, it was happy. India worked for lower wages, was less demanding, worked longer hours, and production rose.
The rise of production that employment gained overseas did not make America work harder to prove itself, quite the opposite happened. America became disgruntled and wanted to take a break from working so hard at disrupting the workplace. Have learned a few tricks since social security, and its sister, unemployment insurance, had been put in place, America decided to take a vacation in 1991. That year, nearly half of the American workforce took a vacation. There was a staggering 46 percent of the American work force that filed for unemployment insurance.(Francis)
The numbers may be just as staggering this year, but who can Americans really blame? Through legislation and blackmail they have pinned employment in a corner. It is much harder to be gainfully employed in the United States; the employment standards that an applicant must meet are quite a bit higher than they used to be; the American dream is not lost, but the worker has little or no desire to work for it. In an age where it is acceptable to be let go from a job, and where employers have to fill a variety of employee demands, (paid breaks, 401k’s, unemployment insurance, paid overtime, regular pay raises, medical and dental options, and regular pay raises to name just a few,) it is no wonder that he American industry is tightening its waist band and cutting costs.
As industries cut costs in relation to new required expenditures, it is only fair that American step back and say, “Wow, I appreciate my employer. I wonder how I can make myself just a little more useful.” It might be that America should realize that employment is a necessity that it needs to fill, not one that business or industry is obligated to create.
Francis, David R. “Unemployment Insurance.” The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics Library
of Economics and Liberty, 1992. Web.20 Sep. 2009
“Labor in the 1960’s.” American Decades. The Gale Group, inc. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. 22 Sep.2009