Work and its role in modern politics and society

Most Americans have a job. It’s working full-time or part-time, earning some sort of wage is what keeps society rolling along.

It is no different in Sun Devil nation. According to The State Press, members of the non-profit organization Technology, Entertainment and Design met at ASU to discuss the role of work in our modern society.

It is true, of course, that work plays an important role in modern society, and proof of this statement lies within the 19thand 20th centuries.

During this time period, when we saw the rise of socialism and communism, multiple societal uprisings took place solely based on workers and their working conditions. Even America has had to appease its unhappy workers from time to time within its relatively short history.

Based on these historical facts, many people may think that “work” is like “government;” a “necessary evil.” According to the American Enterprise Institute,however, job satisfaction was at an all-time high in 2004. In fact, less than 10 percent polled say they are not satisfied with their job.

In a 2004 Gallup poll, 85 percent of people polled say they felt a strong loyalty to the company that employed them. In return, 67 percent also say the company felt loyal towards them.

I realize these statistics were taken before our massive Great Depression-like recession of recent years.

But what do these statistics tell us? Confidence, attitude and loyalty play an extremely important part in economics.

This is true throughout history, as well as politics today.

In his Global Post column “Obama’s job speech: Psychology v. economics,” columnist Thomas Mucha makes the assertion that economics is based primarily on society’s confidence in the overall workforce.

“Confidence is what matters most to the U.S. economy,” he writes. “It holds the entire thing together.”

This is a very important point to grasp. Not only does the worker need confidence in their employer, but also investors need to have confidence in our government — or they won’t part with their money. This point is, however, only half-correct.

For example, think about our current economic state.

Things are slippery in our current economy. President Barack Obama continues to try and pump money into America’s wounded infrastructure. He has continually reassured us that America will pick up the pieces and soon be on the path to economic expansion.

He has given inspirational job speeches again and again and this has undoubtedly motivated the American worker to persist through these tough times.

The economic growth, however, has not happened. The reason is simple: Words do matter, but only when they are followed by a healthy economic policy.

Obama can reassure the American worker all he wants but the truth remains the same. Until he can put together a policy that investors and workers alike can be satisfied with, things won’t get better. On a macroeconomic scale, policy matters as much as words.

On a microeconomic scale, it is the American worker himself, which has made America strong — not the power-hungry bureaucrats in our government.

So be grateful for your job and come to work like today is your last day.

I know I certainly do.

 

Reach the columnist at spmccaul@asu.edu

 

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