by Dennis Marcucci
Worst than expected economic reports and job cut announcements show that the prospects for working people in the USA and around the world are going to worsen. After all, most of the world is capitalist, and most of the world is poor. So what does that tell you about this canker sore of an economic system?
Wall Street economists had said that unemployment claims would fall below 450,000. They were wrong. There was only a slight decrease to 470,000. Any reports have to be viewed with suspicion. I was speaking to an “expert” economist on a radio talk show two weeks ago who was telling the audience how claims for unemployment fell. I said that what is not being reported is (i) workers who exhausted their benefits and are now off the rolls and are viewed as employed. (ii) workers who were collecting benefits and found part time minimum wage employment and (iii) workers working temp jobs or contract work.
Once the work under contract has been fulfilled, they are either unemployed of they go on to the next contracted job. The temp jobs mentioned have no benefits, no social security, no health insurance, no unemployment benefits and no rights to compensation. So if you are hurt on the job, or you can’t find another temp position, you’re on your own.
The poor weekly jobless claims come on the heels of a series of mass layoff announcements. Telecommunications giant, Verizon said that it would cut about 13,000 jobs over the course of 2010 because it is scaling back its landline phone service. Wal-Mart said it would cut 11,000 jobs at its Sams Club subsidiary. Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson announced it would cut 8,000 jobs over the year.
UK based Pharmaceutical firm AstraZenica said it would cut 8,000 jobs from its global workforce.
Macy’s department store will cut 1,500 jobs by March 4th and will close 5 stores, laying off 307. Home improvement giant Home Depot will soon layoff 1,000 at their Atlanta-based headquarters. Computer magnate Larry Ellison said after his firm Oracle takes over Sun Microsystems, some employees will become redundant, which will result in 2,000 sackings. Smithfield foods will close its Sioux City plant resulting in 1,500 layoffs. Tyson Foods will remove 500 jobs when it closes its Council Bluffs plant. And Time Warner will cut 350 jobs from its national division management arm in Denver.
What capitalists don’t understand, since it is an unplanned economy, is that each business depends on every other business’s employees as potential customers. When one company decides to get “lean and mean” and layoff workers to boost profits, those layoffs affect every business in the surrounding area. This happened when GM laid off 30,000 workers and closed 11 plants.
This caused the domino effect. Furniture stores, clothing stores, grocery stores and even a hospital all closed down, which caused all of the employees working for the latter to lose their jobs.
Until workers see this system and life within it as not being a natural, healthy way to live, and unless workers adopt a new way of thinking and create its self-expression within the old system, things will get much worse.