Bees at work (XII): How Humans work in the present. “We do have the power to save one another . . .”
Breaking news!. We are evolving. We are giving the first steps to review our current political-economic systems which were instituted after WWII. After 74 years of the declaration of the meaning of work as a human right by the United Nations; we have begun the first steps in our path in shaping and reinventing ourselves as a force for a good society. Delightful and hopeful news for everyone who has been considered erroneously as a black sheep Marxist when practicing the profession of an economist/strategist/business researcher. Good news for anyone who was mistakenly and unjustly pushed out from top academic jobs or from leading consulting companies for decades. The time for innovating and constructing a new Design-Based Research (DBR) process for our economies has arrived at the most prominent universities.
Let me explain exactly what this is all about: Finally, yesterday, it was breaking news that five academic institutions in the USA will get $40 Million to promote rethinking the economy. This initiative seeks to institutionalize an alternative to neoliberalism and “articulate a better approach to the political economy”. It also strives to “promote to find systemic solutions that build a more equitable and resilient society based on a new set of economic values.” The Hewlett Foundation will fund the creation and growth of four of the new policy and research centers – at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, Howard University, Johns Hopkins University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Meanwhile, the Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm focused on social change, is providing the funding for the academic center at the Santa Fe Institute, a highly regarded private research institute focused on the multidisciplinary study of the economy’s complexity. On the other hand, other universities in the USA, including the most neoliberalist-libertarian orthodoxy ones, will initiate the formation of research centers that may improve and shape for the better, all the theories that were developed and accepted from Milton Friedman and Freidrich Hayek legacy. In the words of the Hewlett Foundation: “This joint effort reflects our shared interest in replacing outdated 20th-century thinking—individualistic versus collectivist, central control versus free markets, liberty versus equality, and the like—with new ideas that can lead to broader economic justice and prosperity for people around the world. This is a first step to support forward-thinking scholars, students, and thought leaders who can break out of a patently failing neoliberal paradigm, with its ossified left-right divides, and help shape a bold new vision for what people should expect from their governments and economies” (1).
Eleonora Escalante Strategy is so joyfully happy. We were never communists, but we were never neoliberalists either. We were tagged wrongly, poorly, and erroneously for years. I have been using the nomenclature and jargon of the 20th century because I can´t use my own innovative parlance in which we are leaving all that conflict of left vs right. I have been using the term individualism vs collectivism because I have no other way to be understood. There is something more suitable for our political economies that is waiting to emerge around the corner. I am in my middle age (51 years old) and this is the most proper age to produce wholesome new models, that trigger brand-new terminologies. This is the best time of life to do DBR and help the youngest ones that are arriving at universities and think tanks do proper and 360 view research. I never lost my hope. Never. My faith has been my cornerstone resistance place in which I have been surviving and withstanding for the last 20 years. We are going to evolve for the better, and we will inspire the new generations to create new ideas with nourishing DBR. We will aid them to respect the wise virtuosos (so many intellectual high carats researchers of my age and beyond who have been ignored and mistreated as “the craziest entertainers”). By role-modeling through example, we will teach to respect others who think differently, to debate intellectually with ideas, not with outlandish out-of-context irrational and destructive disruptive technologies, not with weapons and exhausting bloody painful wars. We will open up research with moderation and balanced examinations, deliberations, arguments, thousands of DBR loops, and pilot testing projects before releasing to reality, in everything we may think and do in the future. Thankfully appreciative, to God of the Universe and miracles. The bees and I are so grateful.
Let´s begin our today´s material. In our last publication, we left a series of open questions to unfurl today. When finishing this publication, we then will proceed next week with the 14th episode: The forthcoming of work-our future?
What about the economic retribution for employees? Since I was born (in the 1970s decade), the baby boomers’ differentiation of working roles predetermined those roles with high-caliber requirements, were going to be fulfilled by those who had the correct education background and experience. Only the United States, Europe, and some countries in Asia that were tied to the Western World were able to provide salaries of US$60,000 dollars up to half a million dollars for these individuals. In this range, we can find any key personnel that supervises others, managers, full-time professors at privileged universities, some qualified engineers, financers, bankers, etc. The people who belong to this group are what are categorized as “average-middle-class” and up ( including the high class) in the United States of America. The entrepreneurs who were successful in their endeavors are not included here, because they are a whole category apart.
Globally (considering the salaries of emerging and poor countries), this group is what Eleonora Escalante Strategy has investigated and evaluated as the 16% of the global population: those family groups (of 4 members) who have an income between US$28,800 to US$175,000 dollars per year and more.
The rest of the employees, those who earn below US$28,800 dollars per year, are classified as low-income citizens, are still poor, or are suffering from at least one condition of multidimensional poverty. This group represents 84% of the global population, and this is where modern slavery has not been defeated completely. The concept of modern slavery has nothing to do with the slaves as trophies of conquests or forced labor (the indigenous of the New World, or the millions of Jewish martyrized in the Holocaust by the nazis, or the African slaves that were traveled to America for agrarian labor reasons). Modern slavery is the result of hiring people who are not treated with dignity when it comes to time, salaries, decent basic lifestyle, and future opportunities for their children.
What about the current work schedules? The contract schedules that we have inherited from the baby-boomers legacy are very simple: In the majority of countries, we all work under a structure of 8 hours a day, 5 days a week: for a total of 40 hours per week. Vacations are usually no more than 15 working days per year, with exception of Western Europeans, who hold 30 working days per year.
It is interesting to notice, that these schedules are only on paper for the middle class and higher up groups. Most employees (and/or entrepreneurs) do not have a schedule, and they work in a 24/7 format. This means that any boss can interrupt a manager or operator while he or she is sleeping, or during vacations, and the employee must stop his/her leisure time and do what is required by his or her immediate supervisor.
What about the technologies that are complicating things for the worst, and why? With the present available and ubiquitous technologies (such as a Smartphone, laptops, Internet of Things objects, etc), none of us can hide from our employers. With the pandemic, the warning sign that we don´t or can´t have a personal life came to be perceived by everyone who has experienced the WFH (working from home) format. Most employees who have worked as such, have experienced tiredness, exhaustion, fatigue, lack of balance when it comes to keeping the schedules, the majority have increased their working hours, or at least have extended them overnight. Particularly for those who have little kids or infants, it is really wild to try to control everything at home. No employee is free from the employer with a tech device. We have become a 24/7 “robot” at retention to our supervisors. This imbalance schedule did not come with the COVID19. Everything started with the internet, around 25 years ago. Then instant messaging made it worst in the 2000s, but with the rise of the Smartphone in 2008, all employees were surrendered to work longer hours from anywhere and everywhere, at expense of their personal time. If we comment about China, just imagine the most prolonged and lengthiest amount of hours that this culture has accumulated during the last 50 years. Insane!
What about the societal implications of the current status of work? What about the last 22 years of working with the mobile phone? We will explore the answers to these questions in the following episodes. We will dedicate several chapters to analyze these inquiries for you. We will stop here today, and we will proceed with our strategic reflection music section.
Strategic reflection music section:
Why did we pick Alexander Desplat? Those who wish to learn about Desplat´s biography, please read his here: https://www.alexandredesplat.net/us/bio-e.php
For us, irrespective of his ultimate awards and prizes (he has gathered 2 Oscars and many Grammys, Baftas, etc.); Alexander Desplat is an example of the significance of consistent year-over-year (YoY) deconstructions and reinventions. His dedication, intense work, and innovation throughout all his life are perceived immediately. His Greek-French roots have coined the feelings that we can sense and deeply discern when listening to every of his composition or music arrangements. At 59 years old, Mr. Desplat has been creating original oeuvres for decades, and we sincerely desire he will become one of at least a dozen of composers from Generation X that may well exceed very soon, what the greatest John Williams or Ennio Morricone or Henry Mancini accomplished.
Songs of today belong to Gloria Estefan. We have picked three songs, as usual. The first one performed with the Miami Sound Machine band, “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You”. The second one is “Mi Tierra”, and the third one is a more douce ballade “Here we are”.
“We do have the power to save one another . . .” – Gloria Estefan
Thank you for reading to me. See you next Tuesday. Blessings!
Sources of reference used for this publication
Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, most of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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