Poltical (aka business) and neo-liberal codewords. A translation.

Political (business) and Neo-liberal code words:

Note – many of these words cross over and can be used interchangeably, in the land of political and business double-speak this is standard practice.

Productivity: When said by a politician or businessperson productivity usually means: ‘Business making more money while you make the same (or ideally, less). ‘ This is usually addressed by  in-house cleaning, shedding staff, tweaking work hours, changing benefits or at the extreme, a pay cut , for you by the way, not for them. Business is more productive when its’ workers do more, for less. Productivity also ties into regulation.

Efficiency: This is a similar to the above, only this addresses certain legal areas. How can your contracts be amended to allow for maximum profit whilst limiting how much of that profit you might see?  We’re also addressing potential industrial relations issues:  Do businesses have the right to hire and fire as they see fit? Are there ways we can give business greater powers to screw you over without you having recourse to deal with it?  If there are laws in place that protect your right to stay at work, protest, claim compensation or ‘unfair dismissal’?  These things must be dealt with, they impede efficiency.

Militancy:  This means “How likely workers (or their unions) are to stand up to protect their benefits and conditions”?  If you belong to a union that is likely to call industrial action when employers try to screw you, then militancy applies to you.  It is imperative that your right to exercise your ability to withhold your labour be portrayed as negatively as possible. Militancy impedes productivity.

Regulation (or De-regulation): This means: What legal impediments are there to businesses making as much money as possible?  Do businesses have to address environmental, social or moral obligations in ways that may cost them money? These things are bad, and must be removed.  Are there structures in place that ensure fair trading, the prevention of criminal behaviour and social standards? These impede profit and must be removed.

Competitiveness:  After pursuing policies that led to shedding of work to low-paid third world nations, politicians and business people now want you to become competitive by accepting those same conditions, or at least, as close to them as they can get.  In order to remain competitive, you must sacrifice certain things. You must sacrifice by the way, they won’t have to.

Free-trade: (or the free market):  Simply: We can make as much money as possible without restriction by laws, social standards, environmental or human rights concerns. Countries such as Venezuela, who focused a good chunk of the nation’s oil wealth into combating poverty, are restricting free trade. Free trade must benefit businesses and the wealthy or it is not free.

Unions (also ‘interest groups’). One of the great spin victories of the current global economic system is the way it has successfully spun the lower and middle classes into the narrative of siding against their own interests. Unions allow collective bargaining by workers in a system where power is heavily skewed against them.  However, such action (see militancy) can hinder profit and this is inherently bad. Politicians and much of the media almost always portray unions and unionism as negative: collective action by lower and middle classes is unreasonable (it decreases profit for the wealthy and businesses). Collective action on the part of the wealthy and business sector (especially aimed at governments) is just good business (it increases profit for the wealthy and businesses). You have greater freedom when you have the right to bargain individually – business can pay a few people more, while paying the majority less, and none of you now have the ability to do anything about it when they screw you over.  It’s all about ‘you’.

The market:  The highest principle in the land. Above all considerations, be they moral, ethical or legal. The market (and not the voter) is now the driving force of most political decisions and must be deferred to wherever possible. All things are subservient to the market, and all things must be considered upon their market value and structured to compete in ‘the marketplace’.  Your place in the market is based purely upon your purchasing power or your ability to function within the marketplace. If you exist outside the market, you do not exist.

Resistance is futile.

Growth:  It’s been said before; but infinite growth in a finite world isn’t possible.  This doesn’t mean it should not be aimed for. Growth is a measure of success. A $200,000,000 profit two years running is not a success; the second year should show an increase, and is thus a failure.  Growth in itself is not a bad thing, but the measures used to achieve it (see some above) and the mentality that it must always continue is flawed.

Austerity: Whilst the idea of tightening belts in times of trouble, or simply not spending more than you earn, and then spending this wisely, seems to be axiomatic, this is not what is meant by the current use of this word.  A modern translation would be : “The taxpayer (and this means lower and middle class taxpayers) must foot the bill to pay for the reckless and irresponsible policies pursued by businesses and their government enablers.”. At the same time, those same businesses must not be impeded in any way from continuing to profit as much as possible, nor can they be inconvenienced by regulation or being held accountable for their conduct.

Note: a preliminary list only, I suspect I’ll have to add more.


~ by benephobia on April 6, 2013.

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