A Remedy for Neoliberalism

Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment exposes the life cycle of a pair of jeans from production to selling to our disposal when we no longer like them.

President Reagan first advanced the neoliberal political ideology. Sending clothing manufacturing overseas was supposed to elevate the income of workers in those countries.

A curious line of thinking when the ulterior motive was for American businesses to cut costs. To allow them to reap millions if not billions of dollars in revenue.

U.S. clothing companies have the money to afford to pay workers a higher salary in other countries and in America.

So does a company like Verizon that I won’t do business with because their union workers went on strike twice in 10 years. To get better pay and working conditions.

In the 1970s commercials on TV told clothing buyers to “Look for the Union Label” in clothes made in America.

Sadly, the neoliberalism that took root under Reagan continued to flourish through Clinton’s term as president and ever since then.

The “trickle-down theory” fails in real-life practice.

In the counties where Amazon sets up distribution centers it gets multi-million tax breaks to do so. To recoup this money the local government imposes higher taxes on residents.

At Amazon warehouse jobs workers have been killed by machinery. Amazon isn’t fined. Amazon doesn’t pay benefits to the families of the workers who were killed.

What can a person in rural America who doesn’t have a college degree–and doesn’t want to move to a big city–do?

An Amazon warehouse job should not be the only job in town.

There’s a solution that lies right in front of our faces. The remedy is to stop viewing an elite Ivy or other college degree and a standard set of prior jobs and skills as a predictor of who to hire for a job.

In an internet news article, I read how hip employers are seeking out job candidates who don’t have this kind of homogenous background.

The result was that more women and BIPOC individuals were hired.

In coming blog entries I’ll talk about cutting-edge ideas and solutions for peers with mental illnesses.

In April I expect to host another Podcast to go live for blog readers to listen to.

Author: Christina Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the new book Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health.

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