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THE PERSONAL AS POLITICAL August 31, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth, Social Environment.
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The ideology of individualism does not permit its victims from stepping back and looking at the big picture. This applies in particular to the experience of job stress, which peculiarly seems to be a widespread experience.

Mrs Gina Rinehart, a woman born to comfortable circumstances, although her investment in the Fairfax Newspapers is yet to pay off, is of the opinion, according to Emily Bourke for ABC Radio:

Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart has urged Australians to work harder and cut down on drinking, smoking and socialising if they want to become wealthy.

In her regular column in a mining industry magazine, the controversial magnate says billionaires and millionaires are doing more than anyone to help the poor by investing their money and creating jobs.

Mrs Rinehart, who has seen her fortunes rise after parlaying a multi-million dollar inheritance into a mining empire now worth more than $20 billion, blames anti-business and socialist policies for hurting the poor.

Writing in Australian Resources and Investment magazine, she blames “taxes, green tape and socialist policies” for killing off investment in Australian projects.

“Those who hurt most when investments are killed off … are those who usually vote for the anti-business socialist parties,” she wrote in the piece, titled ‘Let’s get back to our roots’.

“And for them, the price is very high. It’s a job lost, when they have few savings, a mortgage to meet and children to clothe and feed.”

Mrs Rinehart also suggests lowering the minimum wage, writing: “Why not ask whether lowering the minimum wages and lowering taxes would make employers hire more people?”

And she says if you are jealous of those with more money, do not just sit there and complain – do something to make more money yourself.

“Let’s get through the class warfare smokescreen,” Mrs Rinehart wrote.

“We need to regain our roots and encourage people to invest and build. There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire.

“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain; do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking, or smoking and socialising, and more time working.

Let’s not engage in point-scoring with Mrs Rinehart, but it is ironic that her good fortune in recent times is due to iron ore demand from Communist China, a country with minimal working conditions. Then again consider the home of “capitalism”, the United States, which takes seriously the maxim, “More work, less play”. The Chicago Tribune reporting a Harris Poll suggests that 73% of American workers are stressed, and the principle cause is low wages. The article observes:

“Workplace stress costs U.S. employers billions, and it’s critical that both employer and employee take action to reduce this epidemic.

“Whether you’ve been in a career for 20 years or are just starting out, stay current on new trends, learn practical skills and consider choosing a field of study that will translate into a job in a growth industry like health care,” Swartz said.

I hope the increase in health care is not due to job stress.

But there are people who have the answers to the immediate problem – better individual management:

The problem for the rich is that the realm of the individual expands, and for the rest the realm of individual shrinks, so that it matches the size of the social for the rich. The failure is to observe that individual variability exists within a larger historical and social framework created by forces beyond the participants. Moreover, it may not be moral to have money in excess of needs, or to exercise unconstrained power without limit or responsibility, or to waste and devastate the biosphere for short term gain.

CODA:

A reference suggested that American workers put money before other considerations until they reach $75,0000 per year, then presumably once basic needs can be adequately met, other priorities emerge.  This observation, based on polling, appears consistent with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. So who sets the social and political agenda?

Furthermore, I believe it true, that best people to work both conscientiously and efficiently, a function of disposition and learning, that result is unlikely in a pressure cooker environment. If the focus is on the short term result, deeper modes of knowing and behaving will be displaced with personal and wider social consequences and costs.

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