Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Commodification of the People

The article by Rune Kvist Olsen, Vertical To Horizontal: A New Workplace Reality, was a very well thought out and written piece on the structures which keep us in an ordered and submissive role within society and the workplace. I am surprised that the piece did not get more attention than it did. Some have said it was entirely too long! I suppose we have acquired an attention disorder due to the increase in the speed of information brought about by the Internet. We live for small bites of information and would rather taste a variety of spicy morsels rather than sitting down to a full course infomeal. But the piece is very relevant to our current situation and our future as a society in my opinion. It got me to thinking about how will we begin to move more horizontally and what keeps us from refusing to submit to the damaging hierarchical structures and building our own power source.

The people, who sell their labor to the corporate interests, have become so alienated from one another by design. We have so many barriers and fences between us, it's a major struggle to find some sort of common ground. We have a whole spectrum of fences we must tear down before we will see the power transferring into our hands! The fences of the mind, while not tangible, are just as real and effective as the concertina wire strung around the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

The common people must find a way to tear the fences of the mind down and begin freeing themselves from the social prisons engineered to maintain a certain hierarchical order. The only way we will see a more egalitarian society is by finding a place, or building a place, where we can somehow shrug off hundreds of years of conditioning by hierarchical societies, and begin building it ourselves. Issues, issues, issues; we have so many issues to confront and discuss before we can actually begin! Opening the mind to new thought is difficult to say the least. I so wish we could find that place of interrelationship where we could hang all our armor and weapons outside the door and somehow find that piece of common ground which will help us overcome all our differences on certain issues in order to really see our full potential of power.

These issues which separate us need to be brought up time and again. We must be forced to face our differences in order to find our path to power over corporate business interests along with their partners in the business union world. One of the main source of issues which keep us from reaching consensus is religion. I'd veture to say this is the number one builder of barriers the earth has ever seen! We have many different religious fences. Some are built on the belief in a supernatural power and it's power as a creator, some on a set of beliefs or principles based on conscientious devotion, and others on an institutionalized system based on worship. The list could go on and on! Religion has separated the people of earth ever since time began and as I look around, I don't see any great strides being made to overcome these pious structures of separation!

Another source of issues is of course politics. I'd say these days that this is easily number two behind religion as the chief creator of barriers to keep us from our due power. Although the political spin doctors will very often utilize religion and piousness into their spill to either pull people to their side or convince people of their righteousness. Political structures will use any means at their disposal to maintain their order. As of late, the issues of national security and immigration have been at the top of the list! It's a circus designed by the few to keep us, the many, in the three rings while they collect the benefits generated by our dog and pony show! They sure know how to play on our ignorance and our willingness to accept their design!

We must step out of our nice, comfortable, non-power structure and reach a common consciousness and we must reach a consensus on a common morality. We have an obligation to humanity to strive for a better world for future generations. Reaching consensus on moral issues is a must if we are to move ahead and make strides in a more egalitarian society.

"Individuals interact in accordance with their obligations to others and to society as a whole. In doing so, each person also receives some recognition of his or her own rights and contributions within the collectivity. Social morality in this sense is "strictly necessary" for solidarity between people to occur; without morality, "societies cannot exist." -Ed Grabb-

In our social interactions within business and our unions, we currently find ourselves within a type of subscription membership rather than a participatory membership. Labor unions have moved from activist-based self-organizations into check-book unionism. Organized labor has become an insurance service which doesn't need participation but rather a constant flow of currency to keep the insurance premiums paid. Our political systems are the same with representation taking the place of participation.

We have become abstract participants within our multifaceted world. True communication between the people of our planet has taken a back seat to commercialized information provided by hierarchical structures intent on maintaining their order. To do otherwise, to question the social order, is to invite anarchical chaos. At least that is what the social designers want to make the majority of the people believe! And make no mistake, they will use fear, intimidation, law, and coercion to keep their existing order in place. And the top two tools as I mentioned previously, is religion and politics. So until we can separate ourselves from these two powerful tools of oppression, I really don't think we will see any true power transferring to the common people. Of course, the willingness to discuss these issues is a beginning, but I'm afraid we have a long way to go and there are more of us who would rather ignore these issues labeled as taboo, than there are those willing to discuss them.

The people have become commodified, and rely on services which alienate us from our mutuality except for commercial relationships. However history has shown that sociability is a variable and changes over generations. Many factors such as slavery, oppressive regimes, war, and depression can change our sociability. I truly believe we are seeing the beginning of major social changes with many more drastic changes to come, as our world grows smaller through globalization, corporate wealth continues to soar, and us commodified human beings continue to lose ground due to the unequal and unjust social orders currently in place around the globe. But we must be the ones to initiate the changes, and addressing the religious and political issues which keep the barriers between us is an essential first step in building a better world!

Article first appeared on Uncharted.


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