Who Is Responsible?

What is our role?

It’s not just happening in America, or even just in western Europe. It’s happening worldwide.

You already know that the vast majority of the economic growth in our country over the past 25 years has gone to a tiny percentage of the population.

We hear a lot about the 1%, but even within that elite, the top 1% of that 1% has seen most of the benefits of a globalized society.

This is more than a political issue, or even an economic issue. This is a moral issue at its heart and if we don’t figure it out, it will lead to enormous pain and suffering. It already has.

Who is responsible to see that everyone willing to work can earn enough to live in our modern society? Whose job is that? Doesn’t that fall on each of us, on all of us?

I’m not talking about redistributing wealth. I’m talking about our duty, our responsibility as human beings to make work honorable for all workers, not just those in the corner offices, not just those with titles on their business cards.

Got 7:50? Watch this…

Profit’s Not Always The Point

How do we make money and do good?

How do we sustain and support the communities that produce the wealth our companies pocket?

Should your company have a purpose beyond just enriching a few top executives and some investment bankers? Is its only purpose to produce profit as cheaply as possible even if that means its own workers can’t live on the wages they earn?

Whose responsibility is that?

What values and purpose does your company stand for? Do you care? Should you care?

All I know is that I care, and I know others that care, and it seems this is a conversation we should all be having. Rather than talking about Oscars or Justin Bieber or the Kardashians, we should be talking about what constitutes ‘enough’ for us, because that necessarily leads to the question of our responsibility to others.

Because our consumption and personal need/greed are creating some of the very problems that may end up tearing apart our world.

Do we need 6,000 square foot homes? Do we need $600 smart phones? Do we need to fly on a private jet just because we’re the CEO of a company?

Just because we can?

Do we need to measure our value by how much more we have than those who work for us, who work to sustain us, on farms in South America, or factories in India and China, or control rooms in Pueblo or Medford or Paducah.

Could we be healthier and happier with less, with paying a bit more for our Big Macs and sweat pants and bananas and tennis shoes?

I believe, I have always believed, that in our industry there is room for a company with a declared purpose of excellence and respect for each worker and each community — and not the lip service we hear about community commitment while shredding local staffs.

But I don’t control that. And it has never actually happened, so maybe I’m wrong. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

Still, I hope you’ll think about this. Three friends of mine working for separate stations in separate markets lost their jobs last week All of them were over the age of 50, all really good at what they do, all worked for successful companies which made more money last year than the year before, and which paid their top executives bonuses last year, even as it asked each of my friends to take a pay cut.

They weren’t earning the most money at their stations to begin with. They agreed to work for less, much less. And still, they lost their jobs.

I know we can do better.

We can’t solve every problem, but we can do better on this one, if we make it a priority.

 

 

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