Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Transforming the labor market

Child therapist or counselor business card - art by Anne VisCat care or cat sitter business card - art by Anne Vis

Where Obama used to talk about "Change", the Dutch government goes even further and talks about "Transformation". Both are of course empty words, as the policies of Obama are just a continuation of the Bush administration and the "transformation" by the Dutch government is just a huge increase in taxes and other costs for ordinary people.
But what is really derailing our societies so much, apart from just having had the biggest bank robbery ever and leaving the culprits free to continue to steal even more ...?
I think one of the most devastating causes is the mentality of "competition". Everyone has to compete with each other, because the government seems to still think that that will increase "productivity" and lower prices.
Instead it just increases anxiety in people and everyone knows the disasters of this policy as it is ripping health care apart and has caused grave accidents with trains. And where exactly has it lowered prices? It has only increased prices.
One interesting side effect of all these crappy policies, is that a lot of people are now starting their own business. Of course the government does everything it can to thwart these efforts with difficult bureaucratic rules and extra taxes, but people see no other alternative. On the one hand this is a very promising and exciting development, as it makes people less dependent and may eventually break the power of multinationals. Or: genuinely transform the multinational's policies. On the other hand: not everyone is made to be a business person. It will be fascinating to see where this goes.
Because the bottom line is of course that we need to learn to cooperate instead of compete. An interesting development in that field in the US, but also in Spain and other countries now, is that of cooperatives, where every employee is also shareholder. It turns out that this is a very successful business model in which the participants feel committed and the collaboration on a mutual project creates of course a much better atmosphere than when you have to be fearful that someone else will take your job.
Another example of individualism combined with cooperation is of course the field of art. Somehow being an artist does not mix very well with being a business person in general and this has oftentimes led to artists cooperating and organizing shows together and promoting each other instead of just themselves. I can tell you from experience that this creates a lot more joy!
Cooperation is not always easy, it is supposed to be a basic skill acquired in preschool, but somehow the idea of working together has also left the education. Bringing back cooperation as main focus, as opposed to competition, is the real transformation that needs to happen will we survive ...
Cremation or funeral service business card - art by Anne Vis Insurance business card - art by Anne Vis

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