I smell revolt
The fast food employees are on strike to increase their minimum wage of just above $7 an hour. McDonald’s made $5.5 billion in profit. What’s wrong with this picture?
You might say that disparity is an economic driver. You might say that for centuries we have had a scale of success in our democratic societies and there has not been proletariat revolt. Well, I smell something different brewing.
Corporate America and Corporate World, watch out. Just as the Arab Spring came out of nowhere, I think that the Worker’s Spring may come too. The internet is making it possible, fueled by truly astronomical fortunes at the top. This is a recipe for a wildfire unlike any our societies have ever seen.
The question is, how will it manifest itself? The Occupy Wall Street movement petered away. It did so because it lacked a clearly connected message. I, the citizen, could not connect with the soft message. Worker’s wages, however, is a very direct connection to all of us.
Here’s my prediction; and if it happens, please do not point the finger at me for having incited it. I, more than anyone, would prefer resolution rather than revolution. But I think the US is going to see its first general strike. I was living in Italy during the 1970s, a time of constant revolving strikes. Did they accomplish anything? Were the benefits lasting? I don’t think they were. Italy has still managed to produce an absurdly wealthy class as the country struggles just a hairline above its Greek counterpart.
Regardless, when people mobilize, they hope that change will come, whether it does or not. This is why I think there will be unrest.
Is there something concrete that can be done? Can workers ask for something that is tangible? I think, as I have said in previous posts, that we need an awakening. In this case, the awakening would be to have the wealthy shareholders of mega corps accept that they have to spread the wealth. Mechanically, many things could be done. I’ll give you one silly example. In 2011 McDonalds made $5.5 billion in profits; profits, not revenue, profits! Imagine if they had only split just $1 billion of that among the workforce; imagine that! Can you imagine what every worker would have felt. Wikipedia says that McDonald’s has 1.8 million workers. That means that equally divided, they would each have received $3000. That is not peanuts! Every single worker receiving a $3000 bonus at the end of the year! Talk about motivating the troops.
Is it just me or is anyone else thinking the same?