Reg and Syd: The Exploit of Happiness

Reg: “Now this is what I call ‘following up on your advantage’.

Syd: “Do tell.”

Reg: “You remember, Syd, how, earlier this year, Dan Edelman’s people reported that ’employers’ are now the most trusted people in the world?”

Syd: “I remember that, of course. I also remember thinking, at the time, that this was like the old saying, ‘asking the fox to guard the henhouse’. Where was Samuel Gompers buried again?”

Reg: “New York. Not California. Ha ha. His days, and his movement’s days, of moving and shaking are long over, as I know you know despite your feeble attempts to goad me. We are in charge now, and why shouldn’t we use our authority, willingly granted to us by our employees, to remind them that their happiness depends on their acceptance of the levels of financial compensation that make the best business sense to us?”

Syd: “The strategy does seem to be working. In the longest-running boom the country has ever had, half of U.S. citizens still make less than $20/hr, and a third make less than $15.”

Reg: “And when silly people try to jack up those numbers, against our interests, sensible people, who were voted into office to be sensible, put a stop to the nonsense.”

Syd: “And when this happens, do the cattle fight back?”

Reg:No!!! That’s the beauty of all this! We can enjoy the serene lagoons of Pago Pago in our superyachts, while we help enrich our buddies in the credit industry with the struggles of unworthy people to pay for daily bread, never mind catch up with the debt they all saddled themselves with in the foolish idea that any of them deserved anything more than unbleached muslin, and a crust of bread thrown at them daily in their hovels, and not a peep from any of them!”

Syd:Not quite true, Reg.”

Reg: “What, Syd, the Wayfair thing? Please tell me that you understand how wonderful this is for us! We can play the ‘social responsibility’ card all day long. A few platitudes, a strategically placed photo op, some carefully managed investments, and the blessed folk who trust us pipe down and get back to the business of making us our new personal Airbus fleets. So long as we can continue to distract our laborers from the things that actually matter – like their precipitously declining standards of living – with ‘personal happiness’ tropes and ‘social cause’ propaganda, we are sitting pretty.”

Syd: “You know, Reg, we really do have to hand it to our Donald. If ever there was a person who personified the adage, ‘an ounce of image is worth a pound of performance’, and used the principle to drive an entire nation …”

Reg: “And to our benefit. Marketing 101.”

Syd: “Of course.”

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