The author of this blog now blogs at http://www.RMKinjurylaw.com where he still blogs about labor, politics, injuries, safety, corporate accountability and social responsibility.
All of us, as working people, need to take charge of our destinies. Whether we are responsible for what went wrong is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that we’re able to do something now by getting together.
I’m open to allowing the economy to take its course, but it’s not enough to wait for the economy to meet us. I’m hungry now, my bills are due now, my rent is due now and it’s not waiting around for law school enrollment to decline or for any magic to happen.
I’m not saying we need to take action because we’re at fault. We need to take action because we can.
Americans are angry, out of work or underemployed. Lawyers can identify with this yet we keep hustling into corporate jobs as if we long to serve our masters who enslave us. Even the employed are paid less than what they should be because we are not organized. Our labor has value but we need to start selling it for more than a pittance. We need to get together and make explosive change to a culture that says your work isn’t worth more than making you part of the working poor. I’m fed up. I’m tired. I’m complaining and complaints are justified. Take it up with those people who refuse to pay more than minimum wage, who hide behind shell corporations but somehow have all the wealth and influence in our nation.
If you want better, like I do, let’s join together in a coalition. The federalist papers said the power in the hands of the people is stable because we are a nation of diverse interests. Now we all have an interest in our collective betterment and this ship must right itself. We need to organize.
We can come together in pursuit of our collective interest in fair wages and treatment regardless of whether you’re a libertarian or a liberal. Those labels are irrelevant. let go of labels and instead embrace the fact that we’ve all got the same problems (low wages, few opportunities for growth, little independence in the workplace, and a pricey economy, plus lack of dignity since we’re all so manipulated etc) so we can bond about that. Once we’re together, we can bargain or battle with the forces against us.
The force keeping our wages down and preventing us from enjoying our true worth is the force we use against each other.
We all know what we don’t want and what we do want. This is collective action so we speak w a unified voice.
We’re all lawyers here or at least highly educated and yet we haven’t achieved enough for ourselves or others. We don’t need or want handouts. We’re getting it ourselves together. We have power.
Imagine: that you log onto your savings, checking, or business bank account to find that your credit is maxed out, your savings are spent, and you’ve taken out several loans to buy products in Moldavia or Kyrgistan through a shadow corporation in New Zealand. Or imagine that for years, small transactions from your retirement account have sapped it of its value and now, years later, you find that your hard-earned money was stolen–syphoned from your account. Aside from panic, what can you do?
A job for the journalists:
The job of journalism is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, some say. One might also argue that journalists must speak truth to power by asking probing questions and shedding light on the dark corners of our society. When journalists fail to probe deeply and instead rely on sensationalism of merely reporting the “bad news” that bleeds and leads, they frighten the readers, which often leads to chaos and tension. That is not a healthy atmosphere for informed decision-making at the polls or in the streets, in the office, or anywhere.
Vulnerability of institutions that we trust to hacking is not a new concern. The problem with the article above (3 line link) is that the journalist does not go far enough. He explains that any protections he thought he had against infiltration of his family’s entire savings and credit were laid low within 2 months. Why didn’t this journalist ask Chase Bank, Amazon, Visa, Twitter, Facebook, or any other institution, which held his family’s treasure but that was relatively easily hacked what could be done to increase security?
Why the institutions (banks and companies) should be held strictly responsible for repaying the consumer’s (that’s you) losses and restoring your credit when they are hacked.
1)The institution, call it a bank, profits through its use of your financial information and through holding your money. With power comes responsibility and that responsibility is to keep the savings safe.
2) Until the 1930′s, the United States suffered a series of bank panics, which caused “runs on the banks.” Savers who trusted banks to hold their money feared that banks would lose it in the market and therefore ran to get their hard-earned cash out. Until the FDIC and Glass-Steagal, bank panics led to bank runs. If banks cannot be trusted to keep savings safe in the event of a hacking, then bank panics are more likely, which would cause instability in the economy.
3) Individual consumers are ill-equipped to keep their money safe from hackers becaus the money is controlled by banks. The computers are also controlled by the banks. The consumer would not have access to those computers to improve security or the institutional expertise to improve that security. Caveat emptor is virtually impossible.
4) The banks must remain credible in order to attract deposits. If potential depositors do not expect the bank to keep the money safe, they won’t put the money in the bank. Why leave your money in a place you won’t expect it to be safe?
5) When burglar alarms fail and burglars get away with the loot, the alarm companies pay. When banks fail to afford proper security, and hackers get away with the loot, banks should pay. In both cases, the party responsible for and trusted to provide security was sleeping on the job. The party at fault should bear the burden.
6) The burglar would be liable for stolen money, but in banking and financial conduct, theft is a foreseeable risk of visibly gathering massive quantities of money. Where there is a known risk and trust, there must be responsibility for security.
Market competition cannot solve because consumers cannot take their money out of bank accounts:
1) Banks and the government encourage individuals to use accounts to save for retirement. The only way to receive the tax-advantages of a retirement account is to put your money in a bank. Those who do not use tax-exempt retirement accounts, but attempt to save money, are taxed every year on the interest accrued. Money in untaxed retirement accounts receives compound interest tax free and therefore grows your nest egg much faster and larger. In effect, someone who decides to save for retirement by putting money in the mattress will be punished every year by taxes even if that saver legitimately fears hacking of the bank.
2) Credit is required to make significant purchases, i.e. to buy homes or cars. To build credit, individuals need accounts and those accounts will be at risk of hacking and experienced investigation.
3) It is virtually impossible to keep money in a mattress and not lose it. Inflation and the value of the dollar fluctuate. Often, the dollar decreases in value comparatively. Money in a mattress loses value. A dollar 50 years ago was more valuable than a dollar today. The only way to retain that value is to ensure the market increases your dollars. That can only be done in a bank.
What can I do to avoid hacking?
Forbes offers these solutions, which include banking with a bank that requires additional identity verification.
And to recover stolen money:
What type of account was hacked? Different standards, laws, and regulations may apply to different types of accounts (checking, savings, business, corporate etc).
Speak with an attorney.
Since downloading iOS 7 on an iphone 4, the phone has slowed down tremendously. Type numbers or letters at the speed of a typical text messager and I often find myself waiting for the text to appear. I’ll give the phone this though: the addition of a hotspot is a sweet feature.
Why not go back to the old iOS model if 7 slows down the phone?
Typically, Apple refuses to downgrade your phone and doing so using methods found via google is tedious. If you do want to downgrade, go into an Apple store and ask a member of the tech support team in the store to assist you. Turns out, your phone can be downgraded and its speed can be restored.
Part V – Training
And so it begins, efficiency period. The branch is called into the conference room and Sue Weill stands at the front before a crew of about 20 people–”family members” in the branch, as WalMart might call them. Either way, all these people gather up in the conference room and take their seats. A training specialist from the metrics and surveillance company explains how to use the cellular phones, the new computers, and the general effects and storage capacity for all of the new technology implemented in the branch.
At the end of the presentation, Sue Weill takes the stage and says, “we’re running an efficiency program from now until the end of the quarter in three months. Our goal is to increase our efficiency since we can’t necessarily always increase revenue. We have to use our resources more intelligently since, as we all know, the economy isn’t exactly rallying as we’d have hoped and frankly, buyers just aren’t flocking as they used to.”
An understandable explanation for demanding efficiency follows. Sue carefully inserts the statement: “part of the efficiency metric is to identify and cut costs, the bottom 10% of our production force will need to perform in order to justify its continued employment.” Her speech continues for another few minutes and then everyone returns to work, wondering about how to justify its continued employment. The resolving: work harder
Part IV – Installation
Metrics has joined us and now begin, and soon ends, the installation process. Cameras are installed in the branch, company cellular phones are attached to employee hips–each equipped with GPS tracking and call and text recording–computer software is installed, shipping orders are carefully sreened, forklift and gas useage will be computerized and monitored, everyhting but thoughts are carefully tracked. Sue Weill conceals her amazement with the air of casual observation as she passes back and forth from public areas to her private office.
Meanwhile, a walking and talking, healthy-looking 30 year old mass of student loan debt and under-performing flesh, wearing khakis and a collared shirt sits down in the employee breakroom for coffee and to stare off into the middle distance–as far as these walls go. It’s one of those depressing rooms with formica everywhere and where utility has so overtaken any artistic sensibility that it would drain the soul of any flowing life faster than the Sahara’s sands would absorb a cup of water. God forbid any heroism or humanity be found here, let alone any indication of life–animal or otherwise. Maybe it’s a conspiracy to convince us all we’re no more than machines, without need of expression. “At least a warehouse speaks to me” thinks Mikhail Aberdeen, the mass of flesh and debt sitting at the table with an equally expressionless face and a white coffee mug in hand.
“It’s not as though we’ve found no need to be surrounded by evidence of grace,” he continues to think. His cell phone says “3:15pm” so the blues have settled into the upside-down bell-curve on the graph that represents efficiency following lunch at the branch. Not so much a crater or glacial lake, but definitely a valley in the graph. Mikhail’s mind slumps into unstimulated torpor and he gets up, sipping his coffee with his elbow cocked to the side and eyes slightly squinted. Imagine, there’s a western desert before his squinting eyes. Imagine more than this office. It isn’t hard.
Before we fall too much into this man’s mind, he returns to a computer where data is entered. Millions of pages of data. The job exists because there is no end in sight to the amount of data that must be input into the branch’s system. The only question is speed, but definitely not whether the job exists. “This is a job for the new millenium” says Patrick, another employee who sits near Mikhail and does a similar job. “We could’ve been the factory workers of yore,” he says. “I wish Y2K hit harder” Mikhail says and looks down at a document. He would’ve been about 12 years old at the time, safely protected by childhood in a house. The image of all the technology in the branch suddenly flickering into epilleptic oblivion tickled them both. “Like the end of ‘Fight Club’ when the credit card companies explode” Patrick offers. “If only, man, if only.” Mikhail begins typing in another document, clicking the tedious boxes where new information goes.
“Somehow, the new label ‘job creators’ never took off and replaced the word ‘corporation’” says Mikhail. He divides the $12 per hour for the data entry job by the minute. “This job pays about 20 cents per minute. It’s easier to imagine the dimes rolling into my bank account by the minute than it is to imagine the ten and two singles going to my bank account every hour. Somehow, I feel richer, thinking i’m paid by the minute. The hour’s just too long to wait for this…fantastic sum. i don’t think I could stomach it, waiting an hour for it.” Patrick imagines two dimes being put in his palm every minute. Even those sixty seconds feels too long, but it does seem like free money. Then he enters another document.
“I wonder if a life of crime is worth it” “they say crime doesn’t pay, but somehow I think it might” says Pat as they continue their conversation and enter documents. “You know what, at least this job doesn’t require a whole lot of thinking” says Pat. “That’s the problem, they don’t even want you to think. It’s like, they make sure you don’t think. ANd the job reinforces that thoughtlessness, that mental flat line. It’s just enough work to exhaust you so you don’t think too much before you go to the branch and do it again.”
They carry on for some time until 5pm strikes and they both leave, slightly tired and bleary eyed from reading documents and typing them into a computer. Scientists expect that the brain is elastic and new pathways can be formed by neurons through repeated behaviors. Slowly, pathways are formed in the minds of Mikhail and Patrick.