Life Startup Entrepreneurship Life Lessons
White versus Blue Collar or Brotherhood of Men
E. H. Carr in The Twenty Years’ Crisis (1939) wrote extensively about realists and idealists. This article does not encourage for either of both but for a consensual balance as a starting point. We are far away. It won’t be easy. But some things are worth fighting for.
I re-watched Inside Job (2010) by Charles Ferguson III. The documentary recounts the global financial crisis that occurred in the fall of 2008, which caused millions of job and home losses and plunged the United States into a deep economic recession.
The documentary does not show the enormous impact it had on ordinary people. It only presents tables, graphs and figures. Many anonymous numbers with shame and frivolity and a Hispanic woman who is the crying-relief in the almost two hours of the film, equivalent to a comic-relief as to sweeten so much bitterness.
I ended up chewing anger and started reading The Two Million Dollar Meltdown (2008) by Charles R. Morris to add fuel to the fire of rage. Seeing such brutal indecency in such a short time fueled the debate on Stan Lee’s inner duality: Hulk screamed Smash! And worse still, the misanthrope Mr. Hyde emerged atrociously with a righteous scream to the delight of Robert Louis Stevenson.
That inner duality between good and bad, between the bad and good that we all carry also exists, and what a great deal! in society. The financial system seems to be the greatest monstrosity, an increasingly monstrous entity, a durable, indestructible and bad mutant that always hurts the good.
It hurts the good guys because they trust, because in general they exhaustively ignore the rules of the game that change every evening and are renewed at dawn. The good guys are sometimes also the least educated.
They are the least educated because more education involves time and money. Not owning titles means fewer opportunities. Less opportunities, less income. Less income, more vulnerability. Greater vulnerability: discarding, abandonment, exclusion.
Those included have access to white-collar jobs: workers in suits and ties; more money; behind a desk; educated; middle to upper class. The excluded alternate as blue collar: overalls; less money; manual labor; uneducated; low class.
Five common white-collar jobs are: Doctor; Counter; CEO; Lawyer; Auditor. Five common manual jobs are: carpenter; Electrical technician; Plumber; Mechanic; Welder. The work divides them into two categories and the chess of the financial system uses both as pawns. Tainted by Lee Iacocca, I chose a blue economy and not an apparent white economy but very black behind the scenes.
The credulity that the curtain is where it needs to be. The assurance that checks and balances work. The certainty that justice prevails. Trust in people is what keeps not only the economy but life moving.
If the more educated with their white collars pull the strings of the theater of the economy and we see nothing but a play for which we pay two coins. If in the meantime they take away the accumulated by the blue-collar workers and give themselves a bellyful life: I don’t want that economy!
We are more alone than ever in this crowded world that makes individual interests prevail and weakens the community dimension of existence. Rather, there are markets, where people play the roles of consumers or spectators. The advance of this globalism normally favors the identity of the strongest who protect themselves, but tries to liquefy the identities of the weakest and poorest regions, making them more vulnerable and dependent. In this way, politics becomes increasingly fragile in the face of transnational economic powers that apply “divide and rule”.
If the State does not act, there, here, globally by collusion, rottenness, incapacity, convenience, collusion, cheating or agreement: I do not want that State!
Investing in favor of the fragile may not be profitable, it may mean less efficiency. It requires a present and active State, and institutions of civil society that go beyond the freedom of the efficient mechanisms of certain economic, political or ideological systems, because they are really oriented in the first place to the people and the common good.
If those who always pay for the broken dishes are the ones who earn the least, the most vulnerable and volatile, the most fragile: I don’t want that society!
In [a] world riddled with watchtowers and protective walls, cities [live] bloody wars between powerful families, while squalid areas of excluded peripheries [grow]. We have to free ourselves from all desire for dominance over others, become one of the last, and seek to live in harmony with everyone.
If those who win are the bad guys who sleep in comfortable beds, with two daily hot showers, serene with their savings and vacations, in mansions smoking cigars: I don’t want that justice!
The good, as well as love, justice and solidarity, are not achieved once and for all; they are to be conquered every day. It is not possible to settle for what has already been achieved in the past and settle in, and enjoy it as if that situation led us to ignore that many of our brothers still suffer from situations of injustice that claim us all.
When conflicts are not resolved but are hidden or buried in the past, there are silences that can mean becoming accomplices (…) But true reconciliation does not escape the conflict but is achieved in the conflict, overcoming it through dialogue and transparent, sincere and patient negotiation. The struggle between different sectors “as long as it refrains from enmity and mutual hatred, insensibly turns into an honest discussion, founded on the love of justice”.
The film ends with Matt Damon stating:
For decades, the American financial system was stable and secure. But then something changed. The financial industry turned its back on society, corrupted our political system, and plunged the world economy into crisis. At enormous cost, we have averted disaster and are on the mend.
But the men and institutions that caused the crisis are still in power and that must change. They will tell us that we need them and that what they do is too complicated for us to understand. They will tell us that it will not happen again. They will spend billions fighting reform.
It will not be easy. But some things are worth fighting for.
All quotes are from FRANCIS: On Fraternity and Social Friendship.