Conrad Davis Professor Okey ENG 102 A-3 May 10, 2002 Corporate America in Today’s Society Large corporations affect most of society today, and these affects have split the U. S. workers into two factions. People are becoming frustrated over companies having huge lay-offs, firing thousands of employees, shutting down businesses, and moving to countries like Mexico to make a bigger profit. What happens to those people who have families to take care of? Where are they going to find money to pay for their children’s medical bills, education, food, and clothing? How are they going to tell their spouses that they now have to work two jobs to take care of costs for their family? Top executives of large corporations often earn millions of dollars a year in salaries, bonuses, and benefits while the vast majority of people who work for them earn moderate wages, sometimes no more than the minimum hourly amount required by law. Some people believe that this type of a system for hourly working is wrong.
Others argue that no change is possible without stifling human initiative. How might the economic system be changed? Should it be changed? History of Large Corporations The industrial revolution in America during the early part of the 20 th century brought many new changes to society with the introduction of factories, construction, and businesses. As time progressed through the years, small businesses soon started looking to increase their market nationally. As small businesses soon turned into large corporations, they began to spread across the country giving people quality products anywhere in the United States. The economy was booming. Competition between businesses was moving at an incredible rate, producing many products and improving the Gross National Product.
... by a charter to conduct some type of business. There similarities between small business organizations and larger corporations can ... employees. These businesses are normally privately owned corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships. Corporations can be defined as an organization of people legally bound together ...
America was becoming the most powerful nation in the world. There were plenty of jobs for families to find work. As businesses grew, bureaucratic systems were set up within them to ensure better management. One man could no longer run his business alone. He needed supervisors to reach every employee. Hierarchies were introduced and so businesses were now ran by a select few individuals who were most likely the founders of the company, and they got all the profit.
Capitalism Some people say that today’s minimum wage is not a livable wage. That it doesn’t make up for the cost of living in today’s society. “If a person is making $5. 15 an hour and he or she works 40 hours a week, they are only making about $10, 000 dollars a year” (Kronemer 79).
Singles have a difficult time living off that salary, but if a person is trying to raise a family, life is almost impossible.
After the food is bought, rent is paid, and the utility bills are paid, what money is left for schooling or clothes? Granted, a person can get welfare or go to Goodwill, but that is degrading. Everyone wants to believe they can support their family. People need to be making about 9 to 10 dollars an hour to at least pay for the cost of living. Most people who are making $5.
15 an hour need to have at least two jobs to support their family. Working two jobs can put a lot of stress on a family because the parents don’t get to see their children as much as they would like to. Since 1994, welfare roles have dropped by more than 50 percent nationwide. More than half of these people-about 800, 000-have moved into unsubsidized paid employment, yet the very success of welfare reform has brought another problem into stark relief: for many people, getting into work doesn’t mean getting out of poverty.
People who leave welfare typically find a job paying between $6 and $8 per hour, well below the income needed to bring their families above the poverty line (Kazis, Miller).
... and family. Making time to spend with family sounds easy, but in reality it is very hard to do. From clocking in long hours at ... very hard not to be snappy and irritable towards the people they love. Lack of sleep is one of many things ... . Having a large, closely connected family comes with dealing with emotions that come from those people. If there is children involved, it ...
Wealth and income is concentrating at the top of the industries in America creating an ever-increasing gap between the CEOs and the average worker. CEOs on average today are making about $550 to every $1 made by a regular worker with minimum wage. Since 1980, the average pay of regular working people increased just 66 percent, while CEO pay grew a whopping 1, 996 percent. According to Business Week, the average CEO of a major corporation made 42 times the average hourly worker’s pay in 1980, 85 times in 1990 and a staggering 531 times in 2000. If runaway CEO pay growth continues at its current exponential rate over the next 50 years, the average CEO will be paid more than 250, 000 American workers.
(New York Times) If the government keeps the minimum wage income down to $5. 15 an hour, then who will buy the $30, 000 cars? Who will be able to afford the new houses? Competition between products is what keeps America’s economy stable. When competition occurs, companies try to make their products cheaper for the consumers so that they can sell their products. The American Economy is fixated on the mal-distribution of government income and wealth and the domination of huge multinational corporations. What this means is that companies with private ownership are seeking to gain personal profit. They have a “laissez-faire” approach where people keep their hands off the way the system is set up.
If people try to go against the system and rearrange the way corporations work, then they are going against the laissez-faire approach. When mergers create monopolies and shared monopolies, then there is no more competition for that product. When there is no competition, the top executives of these companies gain a majority of the profit, and the consumer is no longer faced with the cheapest price, but any price the corporation wants to set. CEOs One thing that is appalling about the CEOs of these large corporations is that they are already earning millions of dollars each year off of profits from their company, and yet they still layoff thousands of workers in their warehouses and factories. The flagging economy and poor corporate performance-including falling stock prices, declining profits and big layoffs-have barely made a dent in executive pay. Median pay actually grew by 7 percent-meaning half of all executives made more and half made less.
The Essay on The Desire of Corporations to Maximize Profits Creates Conflict with the General Welfare of the Nation at Large.
... would like to conclude that if a corporation looks upon its profit as a profit of nation that is it will try ... to competition which also helps a corporation in maximizing profits. For example, consider SAP and Oracle corporation, when Oracle tries to develop ... depends on how ethically a corporation behaves. According to me, corporation desires for maximizing their profit has both positive and negative ...
This rate is twice the growth of workers’ paychecks (McCarthy 8).
The Pillsbury Company made 6 billion dollars in profit from 1993 to 1996 and they still tell the media that they are trying to stay competitive (The Big One).
How much money do these companies really need? One of the main reasons these companies need to keep making so much money in profits is because they have shareholders that invest in their company. If the company isn’t making a huge profit, then these shareholders are not going to stay with them; thus, the company is unsuccessful even though the CEOs are still making a lot of money. It is the workers who suffer.
Sweatshops The Industrial Revolution in America was a common place for sweatshops. “The displaced working classes, from the seventeenth century on, took it for granted that a family would not be able to support itself if the children were not employed” (Cody).
Many companies in today’s society are switching their production of goods over to sweatshops in third world nations. Places like Honduras, Haiti, and China are all making American goods. Sweatshops are very common especially with clothing line apparel.
Most of the people who work in these sweatshops are around the ages of 10 to 20. About 90% of the people who work in the garment industry of sweatshops are women. They work under very harsh conditions in 90 to 100 degree weather where they are forced to work at a very fast pace with managers throwing clothing in their faces if they do a poor job. These children sometimes have to work up to 80 hours a week, making only 80 cents an hour — if they are lucky.
The workers in sweatshops live in poverty. They try to climb out of misery but they cannot do it making only a couple of dollars for working 12 to 20 hours a day. “Corporations like Kathy Lee Gifford and Nike have many sweatshop factories located throughout the world. Up until only a few years ago, Nike did not have one shoe that was made in the United States” (The Big One).
... doing something to help out these workers. Companies should be getting penalized for making workers, work in these conditions. Many sweatshop factories claim that they made ... inhale the fumes before hiring any workers. The workers do not get minimum wage. The workers work long fifteen-hour days with one or no ...
These corporations can’t even raise the wage from 80 cents to maybe even $1. 50 because then they would be losing profit.
An extra 70 cents would help people out of poverty into a more livable life style in places like Mexico and Haiti. “At Victoria’s Secret Undergarment Fashion factory in the Dominican Republic, women earn 71 cents an hour, which works out to three cents for each $12 garment made, given the production quota of 5, 400 garments per day for 30 workers… .” (Eisenscher).
Victoria’s Secret can afford to lose ten cents on every product so Mexicans and Haitians can live a better life. Corporate Welfare America’s tax money goes to many different organizations across the nation.
A lot of it goes to large corporations. These taxes are corporate welfare. 170 billion dollars of welfare nationwide goes to Corporate American businesses. Advertisement and television ads supply a vast amount of money and welfare to corporations. “McDonald’s received 1 million dollars to advertise Chicken Mc Nuggets. The Pillsbury Company received 11 million dollars to advertise the Pillsbury doughboy in foreign countries” (Reich 26).
There are all kinds of wealth and income gaps in the United States. .” … The distribution of skills and characteristics is wider in the United States for the bottom half of the work force and that this greater heterogeneity is partly responsible for the wider gap between average and low-wage workers in the United States” (Blau).
Workers are sometimes supplied un beneficial health and medical benefits. In some areas of the United States, workers are paying for health benefits, but are not receiving any because their town doesn’t even have a doctor (Robertson 1).
Ways to Help Wage workers One of the ways to stop corporations from taking all the profits is for workers to form a union. By forming unions, workers are allowed to speak their mind in the work area. They aren’t restricted to keep their mouths shut for fear of getting fired from their job. Workers can form protests, go on strike, or even have walk outs to show that they want better benefits in the work place. Another way to help workers get their rights in the work force is to speak out to these corporate executives.
... Wages for workers, especially garment workers, are notoriously low and are often under the minimum wage for the country. Many workers are also forced to work ... overtime for no extra pay. Workers often breathe ... both in other countries, and right here in the United States. I thought that the working conditions were perfectly ...
Students in college and high school have a great affect using their voices through letters, speeches, and emails. They take a stand and whether they know it or not, they are scaring the corporate executives and CEOs. The CEOs are afraid that the general public is going to find out about what they are doing with downsizing and using sweatshops in other countries. The Nike Corporation was forced to open 6 new factories in the United States because students and organizations were showing the general public what was going on with Nike and sweatshops in Honduras, Mexico (The Big One).
In conclusion, although the economic system benefits many workers, it does not benefit the minimum wage workers. Does this need to be changed? Yes.
Top executives do not deserve to receive millions of dollars each year while minimum wage workers have to work extreme hours under harsh conditions to put food on the table. How might this system be changed? It may take some time, but if unions fight hard enough, and the American people voice their opinions loud enough, then there is bound to be a change. The system relies on the American people’s business. If the American people want a change, there will be a change.
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Moore, Michael. The Big One. 1996.
Reich, Robert B. Goleman, Daniel. “Point, counter point.” Training & Development, April 1999. Vol. 53 Issue 4 p 26. Eisenscher, Michael.
“Sweatshop Abuses Continue.” Nov. 30, 1997. web (1 May 2002).
Kronemer, Alexander. “Narrowing the Wage Gap.” Monthly Labor Review. Nov 99, Vol.
122 Issue 11, p 79. Blau, Francine D. Kahn M. Lawrence. “Wage Inequality: International Comparisons of Its Sources.” 1996. web (22 April 2002) Kazis, Richard and Miller, Marc S.
“Low Wage Workers in the New Economy.” 2002 web wage / index. html (24 April 2002) McCarthy, Jim. “Salary Gap Continues to Widen” Techniques: Connecting Education & Careers, Mar 2002, Vol. 75 Issue 3, p 8. Robertson, Michael.
” The Minimum Wage: Some New Evidence.” Journal of Labor Research, Winter 2002, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p 1.
... low wage, unskilled workers. Not to harm the employment rate, but to help.When you have minimum wage laws they have to change at ... things right when acquired properly.Low wage workers more benefit from these so-called harmful minimum wage laws. If you have an applicant ... away at a minimum wage job, then what went wrong? Therefore minimum wage is a law that low-wage workers benefit from, and help ...