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Business not as usual

Updated on August 16, 2012

Business in America is moribund. It is a dying thing. But it will not seem as such unless one still retains a living memory of how it used to be. The best example of how amazing business once was was the downtown area of New York City, encompassing Wall Street as well as, just to name drop, the gravesite of Alexander Hamilton. There, daily, millions of people get together inside dozens of skyscrapers and attend to various service, blue collar, and white collar jobs in near harmony with one another, and without half trying, and yet, there is no telling. Things can and will change.

The more irresponsible visions are the likelier to bite the dust. The occupation of Wall Street is doomed only because without free trade there would only be caves in mountainsides and sticks instead of matches. The more useless the vision the easier its downfall. And so the occupation of Wall Street is fading. Irresponsible goals regardless of merit can prevail for a while, but not permanently. The workplace, moreover, entails both degree holders and knowledge won by the seat of one's pants. Anybody can get involved. The stuffy old brokerage firms hang on as desperately as the individual who only just learned how to diversify a portfolio. Further, schooling is not the way it used to be. Take a class in finance and then try to apply it. Not that there is no need for abstract economics. It is just that when it comes to buying and selling the only way to work it is to work it.

And then there are the out of luck, out of work contingent, large by any standard of measurement. One can get as easily crushed in an employment line as at a Who concert. There are still those who freeze to death and lose their wits waiting for an interview. Lunches, however, get served fast, almost in the time it takes to grab a chair. Generally, the first served are the first to go But the meals are more than half-decent, from caviar, shushi, to tempura. All in all, the food is never bad enough to cause consternation. So, what about Hillary Clinton, America's answer to Joan of Arc? Why does she not expel foreign interests from our shores? For the fact is, Wall Street is already occupied, but not by young-uns. Rather, it is big money from an assortment of nations. They are powerful enough to make and break companies. So how does the Secretary of State and her cronies solve the problem? War. Putting men and women into uniform takes the pressure off Wall Street. Face it, companies likes to fire more than hire. Or, in response, the Amerian worker can fill out a passport, get inoculated, and literally fly away. But what happened? What went wrong? Why do Americans have to chase jobs into faraway places?

There are many reasons, all equally qualified, as to why this great engine of commerce is sputtering. But the main one, almost without dispute, has to with internecine warfare. Americans hate Americans. And this alone, aside from an assortment of other factors, accounts for why routine business as it was once known, has capitulated to the automated, gadget-driven middle-finger crowd of today's version. Now, it is not unusual to hear of regular workers in hot pursuit of well-paying jobs in Chile or Peru. Back in the day, not really so long ago, telephone calls from downtown NYC might have had to be made overseas. Deftly handling Latin American and South American interlocutors, bi-lingual administrative assistants were the epitome of Amy Vanderbilt's courteousness and tact. Time and again, Spanish speakers put their American counterparts to shame. Maybe that is just the way it has to be for the time being. When the world becomes as vulgar, coarse, and juvenile as American employees, there will then be a more even playing field.


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