Stupid and slow: University versus Store

I work at a store in Victoria City, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada and on my days off I go to the local main university library. The store I work at has 32 departments and it effectively has three floors, though one bottom floor is only used the in the spring and summer time for customer sales. The store is about the same size as the university library and to me the construct, architecturally of the store and the university are the same. Both the store and the university are businesses and both are corporations. One sells tangible products whereas the other sells intangible products. Both of the architecture buildings are about the same size as each other; and they both have very similar architectural designs of big blocks of cement cut into 3 zones or levels. To me, what I find remarkable is the level of quality in each organization. The educational institution library seems to me to be run inadequately whereas the store seems to be run on a skeleton crew who cover only critical veins and hubs, as in a crisis military outreach style. The library seems to have an abundance of paid staff members far exceeding the amount of labour available for the employee to actually perform. Whereas, in the store the employee is always actively working in a physical way; the library clerk sits passively at a desk awaiting one or two clients in a matter of a few hours time. One environment, the store, has 6000 customers coming through their doors and in the library there are about 20 clients coming through the doors per day. The academic library gets excessive government funding and the store cuts corners in an unethical and corrupt – but not a criminal way in order to keep ahead of the other stores competition. The sales clerk in the store is constantly on the move in the surveillance culture corporation and the library clerk in the university sits there day-dreaming about the open space and beautiful landscapes which surround the open windowed glass environment. The quality of life scales of the library clerk can clearly exceed the quality of life of the sales clerk in the store; whereas it is the sales clerk in the store that is operating more efficiently; is the fastest and the most competitive of all humans in design and has the quick on the fly answers to the human condition that go way beyond the call of duty of any communication skills acquired elsewhere in the human sector. Yet there is a stigma attached to the sales clerk and not the library clerk. This makes our society unfair; and the hardest worker, the sales clerk, not only has the hardest job out of the two jobs – but also encounters societal prejudice based on an assumption that the sales clerk is stupid and slow which is clear a false assumption; as it is the library clerk who is clearly stupid and slow.

Photograph of a Bosch machine.

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Super-humans and jobs 2017

Throughout the last 8 years I have been working for a big-box store in Victoria City, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Within that time frame there has been a lot of economical changes happened within the store. For example, 7 years ago they moved from one location to another location to create a Dry Grocery Department and a Produce Department, among other Departments. In total there have been 32 Departments. Seven years ago, when this specific store opened to the public, it promised the local municipality that it would continue to create jobs for the store. At the start, the store needed about 600 full-time employees with an average of 35 hours per week to man the store. Within 7 years; this number decreased to still about 600 paid employees but the amount of hours distributed among the 600 employees dropped to about 12 hours per week; creating a part-time employment versus a full-time employment service. The hours of banked employment hours has been reduced to less than half; hence saving the company a lot of money which goes directly towards the shareholders profits. This change in employment hours is important because of two reasons:

  1. It indicates that the store is still holding up its side of the bargain to the municipality in which she operates (namely, 600 employees now and 600 employees 7 years ago)
  2. It indicates that the humans who were employed within the company have evolved to be able to produce an incredible high volume of tasks within a very short amount of time leading to a massive efficiency on the scales of finance

This is just one example of how the human being has been able to evolve in a very vast way in a very short period of time. This fast evolution was the single most important factor in the development of this specific business in this specific job location. It was not the systems, nor the technology that contributed the most to the efficiency of the company; but the human evolution.

This component of the human evolution is what are are facing in our globalization in 2017. The human being, in the business industry is outsmarting him / herself in such a way as to over-take his / her own job. The employee has become to be so efficient in the job that this act alone is the factor which has caused this specific company to reduce the amount of hours provided to the employee. This has as the effect that the employee ends up becoming, in a way obsolete, from being too efficient in the work-place. The evolution of the work-place lags behind the abilities of the employee hence the company, in this specific instance, has created a new blue-print, as to slow down the process of the human development. This new blue-print has been created to contribute to the risk of the business. And this has been created on purpose because of the fast human capacity development. In order to curb the super human ability in the store; the store has created an intentional road-block to stop the progress of the employee because the employees development is too advanced for the store development as a whole. In other words, the production of the store is a lot slower then the speed of the workers.

If the store made X1 amount of dollars seven years ago, and is making close to X1 amount of dollars in year seven of the stores lifespan – with less hours per 600 employees then that means that 600 employees at full-time wages (when the store opened) versus 600 employees at part-time wages (after 7 years in the new store) are doing more constructive work for a fraction of the wages; but that the production of the store has not increased in productivity itself. To take it one step further, the company’s wealth in sales is not increasing; whereas the human capacity of the worker increased exponentially, within a 7 year time span; making the role of the worker almost obsolete.

This, in my opinion, is what is happening in our world today. The human has become super-human in business production; which is making the role of the human obsolete; because the work environment cannot keep up with the productivity. This means that the jobs in the future, are going to become obsolete for many human beings. Their finances which help their to pay their every day bills is going to be harder and harder to come by, which could result in the death of humanity, unless us humans try to come up with some brand-new economical solutions quickly. The representation of the “Island” in this post is to show that we humans are islands. The tides of the sea can come up fast, as in a rogue wave, and wipe us out. I believe the time is on the verge of being born; and as a human race we need to join together to create new plans and new economic ways of thinking in order to save ourselves as a human race.

Photograph of a Aldous Huxley book cover “Island.”

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The Human Element has been thrown out the window.

Since 2017 the United States President has been installed. This USA President, in my personal opinion, has very low standards. He is a wealth and a financially rich man, but as an individual he does not seem to care about other human beings. I can tell this first hand, because of my personal experience working inside an American company in Canada, which is a stone throw away from the USA border. Since the installation of the current USA President the company where I work has gotten a lot meaner. The human element has been thrown out the window; and the only value that my American company has in Canada is the value of financial profit. If President Obama was still in power; this type of value system would have been matched by the human factor. In which now, in 2017, the human factor, in my case, is 100% eliminated from the equation of doing business in the Canadian city in which I live. I believe that it is a direct result of the installation of the current 2017 USA President that has allowed a dark cloud to merge and float over Victoria City, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. A capitol city a stone throw away from Seattle, Washington State, the United States of America.

Right now, the media and the newspapers all across the global are covering President Trump, the USA 2017 President. What the media is not doing accurately, in my opinion, is covering the stories from the lowest level of people on the organizational totem pole – who are the ones who are always effected the first and the most by economical fall-out and financial disparities. The voices of the sales clerks on the grass-roots level in stores are not having their voices heard; as they are being silenced and held in a vacuum by powerful authority figures in large and ever-powerful over-ruling USA corporations, operating outside of the USA borders.

The conundrum of the economical climate which has been stirred up by President Trump in Canada, is like the three daggers in the painting below. The three daggers in the hand of the leader represent a 3-way conundrum: namely

  1. The loss of human economic identity
  2. The loss of a democratic voice in the democratic system
  3. A total marginalization of the ultimate underdog in the Western financial Neo Economic Turn-out caused by President Trumps politics and financial decision-making; which is having a fall-out trickle effect within the first five months of his term.

Artist is Jacques-Louis David, the painting is called, “Oath of the Horatii.”

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The lure of finance

Finances are considered to be like museum pieces. Some powerful managers in corporations cannot get enough of either excessive amounts of finance nor power. It is a zeal that is ingrown into a soul. It becomes like a passion, to acquire more and more and place it in vaults and have it locked away where no one can see it. In the 1941 movie Citizen Kane, Orson Welles captures the spirit of the financier and entrepreneur. Somehow finance becomes like a silent war where the amount of financial equations, sums and financial stock becomes more and more a race against time to acquire more and more. The skill in finance is to find out techniques and tactics to increase the amount of wealth. A banker who uses this style often has no compassion for the little man who ended up losing his house because he was unable to pay the high mortgage to the bank instead the bankers mind would only narrow in on his own profit-sharing and financial bonuses. To some very financially rich professionals, their monetary achievements are worth way more to them then their families, friends and loved-ones. Often, to the workers who are at the mercy of very financially wealthy bankers / tycoons they see owner of the business as the enemy because of how much lack of respect, compassion and understanding he has towards them – who in their eyes do all the manual labour and the hard work with little compensation whereas the top owner makes all the profits by sitting at his desk or playing golf. Finance is a mystery. Often people who get educated in finance do not succeed in the financial field and often people from the street, with zero trained can become instant stock-brokers at the New York Stock Exchange. Finance is like life it is one of the deepest mysteries as to how one can succeed and the other cannot not. Perhaps in life, we are all given equal opportunities, but some can profit from their gifts financially and some cannot. It is a puzzle how Kane made all his finances; but it is not a puzzle that many people that encountered him did not like him. It seems that the financial side of Kane combined with his will to gain power corrupted him so much as to make him a bitter human being. But this is only speculation.

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Future of Drones, an old concept I know 2017

In 2017 the world is getting a lot smaller, not bigger. Politics is taking over every corner of the world. Everyone wants to get ahead but the jobs become less and less. Us, as human beings have begun to evolve faster and faster into some what super humans who seem to be able to do a lot more then in previous years. The efficiency of the corporate model is still valid; however technology; super strength of the employee and the development of industry at an all-time low contribute to a melt-down in the world of economics. If we are to think about the future, it is clear that industries need less manpower to do more. This is going to led to a mass unemployment on the planet. The only ones who are going to survive are the innovators. What are the industries of the future when everything seems to have been invented already? As a human race, I think it is not logical to want to regress into an old way of life, so looking into the past for answers is probably not the best solution.

One example is the retail industry. Currently in 2017, a Super Center would employ 600 employees, mostly full-time 7 years ago. Now, at the same store there may be 600 employees still on the payroll but the average hours of the workers have all decreased to less than part-time hours. On the surface of things, the amount of workers looks the same for the tax revenue company but in actual fact 3/4 of the hourly wages have been cut in stealth. This act is mostly done in a kind of a secret way, as not to alarm the Municipalities, the Province and the Federal Government in which the Super Center operates. This means that the numbers of staff and the hours of the staff have changed significantly. It is important for corporate companies to reflect the true financial and operational situation to the government; but at the same time, the government creates checks and balances of specific corporations in such a way, as to not receive an accurate account of what is actually happening in a corporation. This leads to a lack of responsibility on behalf of the government, because in many cases, they will say, “We were not informed of these economic trends; we did not know.” So what then happens is that one day, in the not so distant future, many workers will not be able to sustain themselves from their income. That will in turn lead to more crimes being committed and more demands on the health care system. The jail system would then become overloaded and the health care system as well. This phenomenon, in my opinion, cannot be avoided. It is like a flooding dam that is about to burst. It is no use trying to repair it when it on the verge of falling a part.  Economics, like nature is very hard to predict exactly when a crisis will strike. Looking at history, one can understand and learn the patterns and try to come up with both part-time, full-time and permanent solutions – however mostly what humans do is solve things as they fall a part and not sooner; because a lot of the time, it is the hope it will not happen.

Some corporations operate in a different mode. They themselves start to panic and create plans and blue-prints to prevent a failure from happening. They try to keep on surviving. Yet other companies make decisions based on the idea of failure; which seems to be an ironic perspective but it is not. It is not an ironic situation because it means the company is gearing for a fall-out. Sometimes it makes economic and financial sense to cut parts of the company out of the equation. For example, if a company has 32 departments and only 3 are profitable; then they may make the decision to cut out 29 departments.

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Fake news is authentic news

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(Picture from a Hong Kong art gallery that sold a Tin tin comic book page for $1 million, recently)

In 2017 the United State of America’s President Trump keeps on talking about Fake News. But in actual fact the news he is furthering to is not fake at all. The news items that Trump does not like, he refers to as fake. But most of the news articles have been written by prominent American journalists who look critically at Trumps’ administration. President Trump appears to have an ego of a business man, and in order to develop the ego of a government representative he is going to have to rely on changing his impulsive behavior for a more diplomatic behavior. I believe this is possible and I believe Trump has already started to curb his attitude to be more suited to USA politics. To me, Trump is a little bit like the comic book figure Tin Tin; who is a character who, in my opinion, tries to solve unknown cases meets friends along the way and travels into new charted territory without ever being really afraid of it.

 

Trying to find a tie in. Reading books.

 

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  • Book list – listed by first come first serve basis – not alphabetical
  1. Forced Removal – The Division, Segregation and Control of the People of South Africa, Elaine Unterhalter, International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa, 1987
  2. Racial Segregation and the Origins of Apartheid in South Africa, 1919 to 36, Saul Dubow, ST Anthony’s College Oxford, 1989
  3. Perceptions of Apartheid – The Churches and political changes in South Africa, Ernie Regehr, Herald Press, 1979
  4. Politics of race, class and nationalism in twentieth century South Africa, Shula Marks and Stanley Trapido, London and New York, 1987
  5. The History of the Great Boer Trek, Hon. Henry Cloete, LL.D. her majesty’s High Commissioner for Natal, 1843 – 44, London, John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1899
  6. The White Tribe of Africa – South Africa in perspective, David Harrison, British Broadcasting Corporation, 1981
  7. The Hunger Winter – Occupied Holland 1944 – 5, Henri A. van der Zee, Jill Norman & Hobhouse, 1982
  8. The Netherlands and Nazi Germany, Louis de Jong, Harvard University Press, 1990
  9. Underground out of Holland, S. E. Hanson, London Ian Allan Ltd, 1975
  10. Nazi Rule and Dutch Collaboration – The Netherlands under German Occupation 1940 – 1945, Louise Willmot, Berg – Oxford / New York / Hamburg, 1988
  11. Plantation Jamaica 1750 – 1850 – Capital and Control in Colonial Economy, B. W. Higman, University of the West Indies Press, 2005
  12. Isle of Devils – Bermuda under the Somers Island Company 1609 – 1685, Jean Kennedy, Collins, 1971
  13. Islands Bermuda, John J. Jackson, David and Charles, 1988
  14. The Story of Bermuda and Her People, W. S. Zuill, MacMillan, 1973
  15. Bermuda from Sail to Steam 1784 – 1901 (Volume 1 & 2), Henry C. Wilkinson, London Oxford University Press, 1973
  16. Black Families in Modern Bermuda, Max Paul, Germany, 1983