Wednesday, August 03, 2016 6:42 PM
In our outrage over Trump as a presidential candidate, we are overlooking a special case of injustice—understandably, given the stakes—though this injustice provides both insight and explanation. Those of us who have been in business, whether high-stakes tycoon-ing or low-end advertising, know how business works. It is a cold-blooded thing wherein the one with all the money and all the lawyers makes the rules—he or she doesn’t just win the game—one rules. You tell your employees what the rules are and what the pay is. You tell your suppliers what you’re willing to pay, take it or leave it. And the customers—well, you know what happens to customers, I think.
In most cases, this environment is leavened by the fact that virtually everyone has a boss—managers have top managers, top managers have board members, board members have chairpersons. Even business owners have either a major client or a bank that owns them—someone they answer to. But some people don’t really answer to anyone else—they’re very rich, they never share control, and they stick to one-shot stuff like real estate and construction—or scams like overpriced, insubstantial business seminars. They specialize in stiffing debtors and using bankruptcy as an ejection button—leaving with a ‘parachute’ that protects only themselves—leaving the rest in mid-air.
These people operate in a closed system—surrounded by the infrastructure, using the society, but always seeking profit, never offering something for less than the market will bear. In business law, there are many protections for ownership—no one has to approve of your behavior, no one has to agree with you—as long as you’re the boss, you are in charge. And everyone around you has to do what you say, pretend to like you, even socialize with you outside of the workplace—no matter what your true opinion of your employer may be. No one ever says no to these people—except perhaps lawyers—and even then, not always.
As a boss, the more belligerent you are, the more mule-headed—the more successful you’ll be. There are no penalties for being selfish, cruel, or willfully stupid—it all comes along with the unimpeachable power of being a boss. The only thing that you can possibly do wrong is to lose money—that’s the only sin for the bosses.
So, if we now reexamine Trump’s behavior, his statements, during his presidential campaign, we can easily see how it all makes perfect sense to him. This is how you win in business. He does, unfortunately, seem blind to the difference between being a boss and being president. He thinks the rules of “The Apprentice” still apply to his television audience. He doesn’t recognize the nature of public service—even corrupt politicians know enough to tell the right lies, to suppress the selfishness inside them and say the politic thing.
pol·i·tic – /ˈpäləˌtik/ – adjective
- (of an action) seeming sensible and judicious under the circumstances.
But I don’t feel the need to add my small voice to the cacophony of backlash against the orange fool who raped the GOP. I’m here to discuss the fact that, outside of politics, all of us are, or have been, on the wrong side of the business environment described above. Hyper-Capitalism gives the wealthy far more than mere ownership—it gives them the power of life and death over their workers and suppliers, it allows them to rob their employees of dignity—and then underpay them for the privilege. It gives the wealthy overpowering influence over our government, our courts, our media, and our health and safety.
But most of all it gives them authority that they haven’t earned. We tell ourselves we are governed by a democracy—but that government is all too often circumvented and distorted by the power of wealth. The fact that they make the lion’s share of profit and still bamboozle us into refusing to raise their taxes tells you all you need to know about them—and us.