Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Friendly Reminder - If Corporations Really Cared About Global Warming...

Given the price of gas going up and we're facing $4 gallon of gas, I thought this little post I made a while ago might convince those corporate social responsibility types up in the executive offices about just how much they're contributing to global warming by forcing millions of Americans to pointlessly commute. Think of how much publicity your corporation would get if you made telecommuting an official corporate policy!

What I don’t get is power.

Money I can understand, but power, that is something very human, maybe the key to evil.

The reason I say that is I look at all the people running for office and you wonder, why would some of these people even bother? They’re so loaded, you’d think the last thing they’d want is a full time job and instead should be off on a cruise somewhere soaking up the rays, eating sushi till their death.

John Edwards is the perfect example. Multi millionaire, set for life and yet he chooses to work.

His senior running partner from a presidential election ago, John Kerry, had the sweet set up. Married to a ketchup heiress. Why run for senate, let alone the 80 hour work week president?

And a local here in Minnesota, though he is no more on the political scene, Mark “Daddy’s Boy” Dayton, heir to the Dayton empire, decided to buy himself a senator’s seat two terms ago.

Alas they still run, by the droves. Pretty much everybody in congress and the presidency don’t need the job, but they fight, lie, cheat and take donations from illegal sources to maintain their position of power like there’s no tomorrow. Alas, I cannot figure out why.

But “power” isn’t an addictive drug that just affects politicians. You look at pretty much any institution and “power” is a reward unto itself. Government, non-profits, political organizations, corporations, militant groups, you name it. But the place I see the irrational addiction to power most flagrantly violating common sense is in corporate America, particularly when it comes to telecommuting.

I don’t think I’ve had a job in the past 10 years where I HAD to be at the office to do it. With “today’s” technology (which has been available for about a decade) the vast majority of office and corporate jobs could be done from home.

E-mail, attaching documents, conducting research, calling people, presentations, etc., all the duties, functions and responsibilities of your typical office job can be done from home. And not to mention pretty much every American household has the computer, fax and other machinery to accommodate this. But try to get your boss, let alone anybody with the power who could make it a corporate wide policy to endorse telecommuting is like getting congress to get a flat tax; it would all make our lives incredibly easier, but the politics of power block it every time.

However, this time there is a little political twist. Far from the comfort, job satisfaction and happiness of millions of workers everywhere being the impetus to implementing telecommuting, global warming is providing the political incentive to cut back on greenhouse gases and gasoline consumption. And with this political twist, corporations are bending over backwards to present themselves as “green” companies. NBC with their ridiculous “black out” during a football game comes to mind. However, wouldn’t it make sense, such an unbelievably, incomprehensible simple, simple sense to endorse and aggressively pursue implementing a “maximum telecommuting policy?”

I mean, come on. It’s a win win win win win situation.

The corporation not only gets to feign being green, IT ACTUALLY IS BEING GREEN!

Employee job satisfaction would rise like you wouldn’t believe, not to mention the resulting increase in labor productivity.

Greenhouse gases would drop more than any worthless Kyoto Protocol or “Carbon Trading Indulgences…errr I mean “permits” would cause.

TRAFFIC! Good Lord! Could you imagine the elimination of rush hour from every major metropolis? Nobody would be going to work!

The TIME saved from wasting your time commuting. Instead you could spend it sleeping, improve your health, and spend more time with your family instead. Maybe even divorce rates would go down?

And let’s not forget about the costs we’d save on the transportation budgets at the state, federal and local levels! We wouldn’t need any new roads, it would just be maintenance. Tax cuts all around, or if you’re a lefter leaning sort, “more spending for more worthless social program X.”

And if corporations really, REALLY wanted to help the nation become independent from oil, how about not requiring us to drive to your lousy, stinking office in the first place? Could you imagine what would happen to the price of gas if we didn’t have to commute?

All these benefits are certainly achievable, but there’s just one thing blocking the way;


Specifically corporate power.

For whatever sick twisted reason, I have to drive to the office. I certainly don’t need to. I have a computer at home, a fax at home and even a web cam. But no, my boss insists I drive to the office. Why?

So I can do what I would have normally done at home.

Of course when confronted with the option or request of telecommuting, there is no good reason they can give you, other than they want you to be under their control. They want you to be there, where they can see you, because lord knows that if you were working from home, you’d be drunk, high and bringing hookers over on a coke while you play Halo 3 all day and sell corporate secrets on E-Bay.

And if you think my claim that corporations do this for purely power and political reasons, consider the most obvious and egregious use and abuse of power by corporations;

The meeting.

Cripes. Does a bigger destroyer and depleter of productivity, GDP and work exist? The meeting must have been a creation of communists in a desperate attempt to slow down capitalist economies.

The meeting works like this;

Big time, gray haired bosses like to see how much of other people’s time they can send into a black hole. ALL people, no matter how irrelevant their job is to the presumed purpose of the meeting are required to attend. Nobody is listening to the current speaker because it’s irrelevant to their job. Meanwhile, the brown nosers, who like you have no purpose of being at the meeting either, ask a litany of questions or blather on about their project to make themselves sound busy and productive, which only lengthens the pain and suffering of those who actually have REAL work to do. Meanwhile the boss sits there, laughing inside, knowing he or she is exercising their power forcing you to waste your time and made you spend the money on gas to attend the meeting.

It is proof positive the only reason you commute is because irrational corporate power wants you to jump through hoops like meetings, commuting, participating in “corporate charity events.”

So my fellow junior, deputy, aspiring, official or otherwise economists, just like the US’ tax system, just like the raj system in India and just like Kim Jong Il in North Korea, the masses are expected to suffer some more for irrational power. For while a life of never commuting again, spending more time with your family, sleeping in for a full 9 hours a day, eliminating the country’s dependence on oil, not to mention finally ending this stupid debate about global warming, as well as the limitless economic benefits telecommuting would provide we’re going to continue to pointlessly drive billions of miles for the sole reason of petty, corporate power.


Anonymous said...

I can do some of my work from home and on occasion when the interruptions at work are going crazy, I will actually work a day from home. However, due to several goldbrickers that abused the program and that we're a merger of two departments/teams, we're allowed very limited work from home privileges.

Note the word "privileges" - work from home is earned by trust. I have more latitude than some because of my trustworthiness.

A second thing at my company is that with all the emphasis on offshoring, if you can work from home, quite literally your job could be done anywhere such as India. Working from home can literally cost you your job.

Last, you can get very lonely working from home. I hate that the most.

But, yes, I work for a thuggocracy.

Marty said...

Businessmen makes the worst economists.

I had always heard that attributed to Adam Smith though I don't know if he actually said it. But I think it rings true.

What also rings true to me and my time around businessmen is this:

"Businessmen make the worst businessmen."

And that quote you can attribute to the Big Mar Tee.

Anonymous said...

Fun = Power/Responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Hey Capt, You mention the flat tax in this rant. I'm,curious as to your opinion of the Fair Tax legislation co-authored by Neal Boortz and John Linder?

Anonymous said...

For all the reasons you mentioned, and maybe a few more, I have worked out of a home office for almost 10 years now. I could never go back to commuting to an office, and have never felt I was missing anything by not doing so. Great post, Captain!!

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the corporations stop manufacturing junk designed to become obsolete? Wouldn't that help with global warming?

How about mandatory accounting so consumers wouldn't buy junk that depreciates? But our brilliant economists wouldn't mention those possibilities.


Anonymous said...

With automation why do people even bother to work anymore? Technology has gotten so advanced now, why do corporations even bother hiring? Especially with office work. Captain, why can't these stupid corporations just automate work, and sell stocks that pay high dividends to the people so we can all live on passive incomes. In the future there won't be much work when machines take you job.