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Today’s Proletariat of big corporations still getting the raw end of deal.

April 16, 2011

Like most red-blooded Americans, I support capitalism.  It gives citizens the

freedom to endless careers and the competition drives companies to quality in products.  So I first must emphasize that I find Marx and his communistic views as flawed and detrimental to a nation’s effort to become successful.  However, even in today’s economy, there still lingers a problem in the system that is accurate in what Karl Marx called a flaw in the capitalistic economy.

Marx thought capitalism created a discrepancy between owner and proletariat.  He believed the system drove owners to get as much labor for as little pay possible in order to make a profit.  Unfortunately, I still see this issue in some of the big corporations such as Starbucks, ConAgra Foods, or Nike.  Yes, these are only a few examples, but observe how many other companies a giant like ConAgra actually owns (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ConAgra_brands).  Each of these two corporations as well others have multi-billion dollar empires that have spread nationwide.  However, behind these staggering profits lie injustice and the use of exploited workers all over the world.

While Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz has a net worth of $1.1 billion, he refuses to use Fair Trade Coffee in his global franchise.  To those who don’t know what this is, it is coffee sold from plantations where working conditions are suitable and wages are fairly set based on how well the coffee market is doing.  But Schultz rejects the idea as he and his company continue to use exploited workers across Central and South America who work for little or no wages in slavery-like plantations.  ConAgra has also been infamous in the mistreatment of its workers.  In Fast Food Nation, a book by Richard Linklater, I read how their workers in slaughterhouses endured the grotesquely septic work environments that resulted in horrifying injuries and death.  All the while, they worked for salaries that were easily minimum wage and were fired if injured.

An extreme but important example of this disparity is sports good giant, Nike, and their exploitation of child labor.  Despite this being not as common, it still is a grave issue that Marx could not have been more right on since Nike is still prospering worldwide.   Again, I am not condemning capitalism nor do I foresee these victims overthrowing the CEO’s and bringing the rise of communism.   I just want to make clear that Marx made fairly accurate speculations in the hazards of a capitalists’ economy – that to become top dog, these big businesses must obtain cheap labor that requires little or no payment to produce the largest yield of goods possible.  It is a disturbing issue I hope reforms itself to give this country and capitalism in general, a cleaner image.

One Comment
  1. Layla permalink
    August 18, 2011 9:39 AM

    Is there more official information about the nike labour issue? where could i find it? or who could I talk to?

    Thank you

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