Sunday, May 31, 2015

For Your Own Survival, You Must Become a "Sovereign Individual" Instead of a Typical Employee, Part 2

The stone cold truth is that corporate officers' fiduciary duties consist of legally maximizing profits for their shareholders. NOT engaging in social work for the public at large. Maximizing profit is what corporate officials are hired to do. Maximizing profit is how corporations function in capitalist societies. It is what it is. The head of Roche's Korea division was factually correct when he made the following referenced statement:
Swiss pharmaceutical maker Roche made Multinational Monitor's "10 Worst Corporations of 2008" list because of a statement made by one of its executives regarding the company's HIV drug Fuzeon.
Roche made $266 million from worldwide sales of the drug and had created a firm sales price of $25,000 for a year's supply [source:Multinational Monitor]. Typically, drugs -- especially life-saving ones -- are sold around the world on a sliding scale, with developing countries paying less than industrialized nations, which pay the highest prices. Roche bucked this trend with its global price for Fuzeon.
When South Korea's Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs valued a year's supply of Fuzeon at $18,000 -- essentially setting the limit Roche could charge for the drug within the country's borders -- Roche balked and refused to sell the drug there any longer. Because of the lack of alternative drugs, the company effectively withdrew treatment for South Korea's HIV patients, despite the fact that the company still would've realized a profit from sales, even at the $18,000 price limit.
When the decision was challenged, the head of Roche's Korea division reportedly said, "We are not in the business to save lives, but to make money. Saving lives is not our business" 
People can get angry about this if they want to, but that Roche official spoke the plain truth.

I've been following the conversation surrounding THIS Facebook post by For Black Women Only. It's been a high-quality conversation over there, and I was especially impressed by the following exchange:
  • Allie Shepherd Problem is, your logic is flawed. I am educated, went to college to gain skills, am a great worker, creative, etc. the problem is there are fewer jobs that require my skills and are willing to pay a higher wage than jobs that don't. So because I'm not able to secure a job that uses my skills but still have to put food in my stomach, I don't have deserve to have a living wage? What happens when your "solutions" fail to produce your professed results? You're only addressing the tip of the iceberg and speaking as though your words are writ. You absolutely cannot promise those results or knock people who are in that "undesired" position as people who have followed one or a combination of your four narrow options for upward mobility.
    • Shani Ali What did you go to college for?
    • Allie Shepherd Film and Business. Double major. You?
    • For Black Women ONLY As I said the job market IS a market. There are fewer jobs that require your skills that pay a higher wage because there is NO DEMAND for them. There are plenty of people in the market with your skill set (higher supply). When supply exceeds demand the price of the labor (the wage) will go down. It is simple economics. It's not about what you deserve, it's about what it is. I am not giving my opinions on the matter, I am stating FACTS about free-market economics. If you want to earn a higher wage, study the market and look at what is in demand.
    • Sateona Santiago Armstrong It's your fault for getting a degree in film. Lmao Come on now!
    • Allie Shepherd What about my degree in business? You purposefully left that out.
    • For Black Women ONLY What about it? What skills do you have? Can you build financial models? Conduct risk assessments? Can you structure and negotiate licensing deals? Do you have PPC and SEO experience for digital marketing strategy development? Are you adept with R, SAS, Hadoop, Sophis, Calypso, SolArc, Murex, etc.? I'm talking skills, not just degrees.
      Like · 5 · 22 hrs · Edited
    • Kia Richards Allie if you aren't able to gain proper employment that means there isn't a demand for your skills. Go back to the drawing table and determine where are your knowledge gaps and what the market wants. The market is constantly evolving and people have tokeep up with the he demand regardless if they are self employed or working for a major entity. There are plenty of high skilled jobs out there but not enough people to fill them. You have a degree in business so what? Those are a dime a dozen. What are you doing with your business degree and how do you add value? What do you specialize in? Do you know finance or accounting? If so hit me up and I'll connect you with some people. Edit: Btw I studied economics and international relations. My career background is corporate finance and risk management. I can build financial models, code, and structure deals. I also worked in Geneva Switzerland so I have some international experience. I can tell you right now for the lucrative roles you are going up against people with impressive backgrounds. Don't listen to the peanut gallery about what employers are obligated to do. They don't care and will relocate their operations overseas if too many policies cut into their profits.
      Like · 1 · 3 hrs · Edited
    • For Black Women ONLY ^^^^THIS!!!

      I am not stating my opinion on the matter, I am stating FACTS about the free-market economy and the state that it is in NOW. I made suggestions to navigate it because it won't change. The suggestions I made are not original, they are not
       new. It's common sense. There are so many people around you applying them to their own lives.

      And you don't have to listen to me. Ask any black woman who is making >$100K salary at her job. Ask her what she had to do to get to where she is. Sister Kia is a great example.
      Like · 2 hrs
  • The U.S. and Japan are tied for lowest minimum wage...
    Like · Reply · 1 · 12 hrs
    • For Black Women ONLY Minimum wage is not for adults to raise families on. It is for people just entering the workforce with minimal skill. It is for your 15-year old who is just learning about responsibility. It is a MINIMUM WAGE, the minimum amount for which you can sell your labor on the market because you have minimal skills. You are NOT supposed to raise a family on that. It is for the 15-year old who lives at home with his parents. 

      I made minimum wage working at fast food in my sophomore year of high school. I can't live on that now! Knowing that, I acquired skills and to this day I continue to test the market and acquire more skills so I can charge a higher wage on the market. 

      Countries with a higher minimum wage have higher prices for food and living expenses. Denmark has a higher minimum wage but do you want to pay 25% tax on all your groceries, toiletries, clothes, etc? 

      If you raise the wages, you raise the expenses of these employers who will transfer the costs to the consumer. It will balance out in the end. It always does.
      Like · 3 hrs
    • Jamila Akil Minimum wage is and always has been for adults to raise families on. Most McDonalds Ive been to are open 24 hours through the drive through. High school students shouldnt be working there at 3am serving hamburgers if they have school in the morning. Retail is also 24 hours; the store is open during the day but most of the restocking and cleaning of the store occurs early in the morning and overnight. For low wage workers, if a man worked a full-time minimum wage job in the 60s he could support a stay-at-home wife and two kids. Wages have not keep up with inflation, in 1968 the minimum wage was at an all time high of 10.55---higher than what most places have now in the US. If the minimum wage had not only kept up with inflation but also the cost to maintain the same quality of life a family of 4 had during that era, the minimum wage should be $16-21 an hour. Im a believer in paying a fair price for the sevices I use and the products I buy. It doesnt do me, or society in general, any good to pay for cheap clothing so that I can then turn around and pay for welfare in the form of food stamps to feed the people who made the cheap clothing. Im fine with paying higher taxes if my quality of life and the quality of my community and the quality of my country ALSO increases above and beyond their current level compared to the amount of taxes I currently pay. Low taxes should not be a goal in and of itself; we uses taxes to pay for our needed goods and services. We could have ZERO taxes if you are willing to forgo having a military, a social safety net, publicly funded schools, public hospitals, public works projects like streets, highways, and rail service. It all goes back to what we are and are not willing to pay for and the value we place on the lives of people who, for one reason or another have to work low wage jobs: either we value our quality of life and the life of the people who make our products enough to pay a fair wage for us all to us to maintain this quality of life or we dont care enough.
From the earlier part of this post, you can probably guess my views about this topic. Yes, I agree with what For Black Women Only and a commenter named Kia Richards have been saying in the comments to that Facebook post.

That's a high quality conversation that ties into some earlier discussions within BWE circles. Like the comments to THIS post at the Not Your Girl Friday blog.

It also ties into some things I've mentioned before over here.

To those who plan to prosper: If you haven't already done so, you need to take action regarding your prosperity plans. Now. Nothing has changed (at least, not for the better in terms of being an employee) since I said the following back in February 2009
The "Factory Age" of Rising Income Equality is OVERFrom a 1997 book, The Sovereign Individual, by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg:

"[Otto Ammon, a 19th century German economist] believed that high abilities naturally result in people rising in income and social position. . . . He also believed that the 'true form of the so-called social pyramid is that of a somewhat flat onion or turnip.' . . . Modern industrial societies are indeed all turnips, with a small wealthy and upper-professional class at the top, a larger middle class, and a minority poor at the bottom. Relative to the middle, both the extremes are small.

. . . All of this is intriguing, but the immediate interest of Ammon's work lies in the major long-term shift we are experiencing in the relations, financial and political, between the top and the middle. . . . Most people could master the skills required for operating the machines of the mid-twentieth century, but those jobs have now been replaced by smart machines which, in effect, control themselves. A whole arena of low- and middle-skill employment has already disappeared. If we are correct, this is a prelude to the disappearance of most employment and the reconfiguration of work in the spot market. " pgs. 212-213.

"Societies that have been indoctrinated to expect income equality and high levels of consumption for persons of low or modest skills will face demotivation and insecurity. As the economies of more countries more deeply assimilate information technology, they will see the emergence---so evident already in North America---of a more or less unemployable underclass. [Khadija interrupting the quote here: Guess who this is? You get one guess.] This is exactly what is happening. This will lead to a reaction with a nationalist, anti-technology bias, as we detail in the next chapter.

The Factory Age may prove to have been a unique period in which semi-stupid machines left a highly profitable niche for unskilled people. Now that the machines can look after themselves, the Information Age is pouring its gifts onto the top 5 percent of Otto Ammon's turnip." pg.214 [emphasis added].

No More "Good Jobs"

". . . The model business organization of the new information economy may be a movie production company. Such enterprises can be very sophisticated, with budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars. While they are large operations, they are also temporary in nature. . . While the people who work on the production are very talented, they have no expectation that finding work on the project is equivalent to having a 'permanent job.'" The Sovereign Individual, pg. 237.

Also, read the following blog post about how, in a connected world where "productivity is portable," the artificial differences in salaries between workers in different countries are evaporating. Please note the linked CNN story about how IBM offered its laid-off employees the "opportunity" of moving to India, Russia, and Nigeria and working at LOCAL salaries in order to keep their jobs.

My God.

Do you want to have your salary "normalized" with that of a similarly-educated worker in China? I didn't think so. Well, that's what's heading your way unless you make yourself as "sovereign" as possible. This means as independent as possible from your employer. This means having multiple income streams.

People, Get Ready.