They Want To Own You

The CEOs are saying the quiet part aloud

They Want To Own You
Photo by Austin Distel / Unsplash

The CEOs are finally saying the quiet part aloud, they want to own you and how dare you demand more! That’s just what millionaire CEO Tim Gurner alludes to when he recently said,

”We need to see unemployment rise,” he said. “Unemployment has to jump 40, 50% in my view. We need to see pain in the economy. We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around.” — via Business Insider

His comments turned into a media circus for his dumbass and now he’s apologizing for his insensitive comments. I wouldn’t call those comments insensitive, those comments are violence. They want to own you, as modern-day slaves, and your chains are the inflationary economy, overpriced real estate, and unaffordable healthcare. Everything you need to live a good and decent life.

I completely understand how workers are struggling with astronomical food prices, high rents, and inflation eating away at their purchasing power. Workers need to move to higher-paying jobs just to survive. This causes wage inflation (and rightfully so) that CEOs like Gurner hate.

You see, his comments and those of Andi Owen of MillerKnoll, James Clarke of Clearlink, and even Elon Musk are not a “bug” but a feature of their programming. These men and women are programmed to exploit and take a greater share of the pie workers are producing. Higher wages mean less money for them, and they can’t have it.

They feel your ask for higher wages and a decent working environment with benefits is an affront to their “hard work” and them “pulling themselves up by the bootstraps.” In their minds, you are the greedy one. You, the worker, are exploiting them!

When it comes to labor I swing left, sometimes very far left. I know that makes my MBA diploma shake on the wall but let’s be real and human about all this. The majority of people will never own a business, nor have the drive to be self-employed. They’ll go and work for a company in either a white or blue-collar capacity.

And, that’s ok as long as all parties (worker and owner) realize that it’s a two-way street. In exchange for the worker’s time and labor, the owner gets some product or service that they can sell and profit from. In a capitalistic society, capital can attract the right talent and labor if it’s competitive.

My late father was a blue-collar worker for many years, repairing engines on buses until he was promoted to management. He transitioned from blue to white-collar, but he never lost the respect he had for the working man, because he was one once. He stayed with the same company for the majority of his work life because of the generous benefits they gave him

His employer gave him a pension, healthcare, and six weeks of vacation. There was no need for him to move to another company because the company valued and took care of him.

CEOs like Gurner can futureproof workers leaving their companies if they treat workers like humans and give them above-average benefits and wages, but they won’t do that because… it’s an affront to their boot-strap delusions.

Why bother treating workers well at all? After all, they’re just miserable peons and not Titans of Industry like Mr. CEO. No, we should pay them as little as possible and exploit them as much as possible, because of Capitalism!

A few years ago I worked with a talented computer scientist. His contributions to the application we were building were enormous. Our employer treated us well but he decided to leave to go “find himself” in the Swiss mountains. After being off the grid for a few months he resurfaced and started a software development company.

He told me how he shows the “books” of revenue and income to his staff. How they split the profits among themselves in an equal manner. On paper, he owned the company but he ran it like a Cooperative business entity.

My first thought was, “Are you crazy? They’ll see how much income you make!” But after quiet reflection, I thought it was an interesting experiment. Here, workers are reaping the direct benefit of their labor. They’re working together, cooperating, and helping shape the direction of the business.

The reality is that there are many more business entity configurations than the standard CEO vs. workers configuration. Due to the COVID pandemic and the current high inflationary environment, the labor force (in my opinion) is undergoing a structural change.

Workers have a shot right now to level the playing field and stop the exploitation by CEOs, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

I support Unions. I support a living wage with universal healthcare that’s not coupled with employment. I support Work From Home (WFH) and curbing excessive CEO pay. I also support profit and growth. I support different business entities like B Corporations.

The one-size-fits-all system we’ve had for the last century set the stage for a huge divide between workers and CEOs, and that’s got to change. Right now the mindset by the CEOs is that it’s them against the worker, when instead it’s them with the workers.

The sooner they realize that if they can help lift up their workers, their workers will lift them up. The exploitation and the unspoken goal of turning them into wage slaves will not save CEOs in the future. They will be the first ones to reap what they’ve sown when the workers rise up and draw a line in the sand.