When did it all change?
I remember a time of traditional Wall Street institutions headed up by CEOs who, although they were the epitome of greed… somehow had an endearing side to them. This is because many of them were self-made. Back then someone from the mail room could work their way up the ladder and achieve respectable status.
Then there was the new money CEO who would ride a Segway to work in flop-flops; was only about 24 years old and everyone who worked for them would be a millionaire within the year. Of course they would keep their jobs, because who could resist company-wide volleyball, beer and cookouts every Friday? As long as you got your work done OF COURSE you could bring your pet snake to the office.
When did we tire of such opulence? Somehow it was decided that the era of personal upward mobility needed to come to a grinding halt. In recent years it seems that corporations are no longer COMPETING with one another for business, for the best employees or even for territory. Instead there is industry-wide consolidation and co-operation going on between them.
Enter the era of the Industrial Complex
We’ve heard the term as related to prison…, and the idea of a Military Industrial Complex dates back to 1961 (Eisenhower warning people against it). Still, it is my firm belief that we are now living in a time where corporate autonomy is OVER. Instead the way business is being done is through co-op. It was an idea taken from the small neighborhood businesses and scaled up to fit major market players. This is the end of optimism. THE MAN has won, and regardless of education level you’ll do damn near anything just to have a J.O.B.
Major companies no longer stand alone. They play a role in something greater. They form collectives of related entities and work together to impact an industry. These companies are tied to one another by virtue of their business model, and form an “Industrial Complex”. If you own an airline, you need fuel prices to be lower. Knowing that the oil companies are planning to lobby (buy off) a politician to ease import restrictions, you might contribute some of your money. So would the shipping magnates, and the auto manufacturers. It’s in their best interests to work together; but the INDIVIDUAL doesn’t stand a CHANCE against them.
It’s going to be this way UNTIL……….. they reach the point where more bribe $$$ is going out than coming in. It’s only a matter of time considering politicians’ greed vs. consumers “buy local” trends. Still, that’s when companies will turn on each other. They will begin with negative advertising against their competitors in attempts to grab market share. Work weeks will get shorter. Suddenly you’ll no longer be chained to your desk. All these people seem to know are the extremes.