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.

Finding Gratitude in the Daily Grind

I’m here to say that there’s no shame in being happy to be alive. This is an okay feeling when you’ve either survived the worst or are still struggling in other regards.

Finding gratitude in the daily grind is possible. This is a cognitive reframing approach to changing your perception of what’s going on in your life.

In a book I just read titled Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment the author Maxine Bedat exposed the brute monotony of sweatshop labor.

Each woman (a woman!) sits at a machine in a row of something like 60 machines. One woman sews the hem. The other woman sews the leg. Another sews the waistband. And down the line it goes.

The term “deaths of despair” was coined to describe how individuals are taking their own lives. When their work is not meaningful and purpose-driven.

Creating “jobs of joy” should be the goal for ourselves and others.

So how can you and I make our work livable if we don’t always like our jobs?

Take up a hobby. Cook. Paint. Skate. Blog. Shoot photos.

A happy medium exists between “warehouse worker” and “CEO” in terms of the kinds of jobs out there. Finding these jobs will be the topic of other blog entries.

In each day that we get up and go to a job or not go to a job we can find pockets of time to do what makes us feel fulfilled.

It could be as simple as watching YouTube videos on your cell phone on your afternoon break.

Or going outside to a coffeehouse to buy a hot chocolate and confetti cookie.

In my life the route to on-the-job happiness started when I asked a former supervisor to send me to the workshops so that I could be trained to give customers resume and career help.

After this I took on the role of mentoring teen interns.

The point is when you can carve out new things to do that keep you fulfilled at work that makes all the difference.

The rise in Amazon fulfillment center jobs that wreck a worker’s mental and physical health is a runaway trend that should be halted before “deaths of despair” increase any higher.

In a coming blog entry I will talk about the root of labor injustice: the neoliberal economic policies that elected leaders advanced and continue to back.