I-B-M Started It

I asked. How did we go from a culture that valued long term planning to one where everything seems to be ‘get it now, get it in at most 5 years or you’ll never get it’?

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I started by looking squarely at IBM in the late 1970’s. Here was a company that made goods everyone seemed to want. They had a huge middle-management. They had a second generation corporate culture who expected to work their 25 years and retire on a good pension. But changes in regulations, and economic setbacks in America came. And IBM decided to change their corporate culture. They wound up firing pretty much their whole middle management group by the late 1980’s. Someone, somewhere, thought that they could use upper management to order their lower-level functionaries. Except for one thing, It didn’t work. So now they needed to hire back some middle management. And to their amazement, they wound up hiring back people who had become desperate to work. And because of desperation, they hired back people at much lower salaries. They even offered some people, who didn’t want to work too many more years, short-term contracts. A light went on somewhere. Hey! We can make more profit for our shareholders if we use short-term contract labor in all these middle and lower-middle jobs!

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By the early 1990’s you have the beginnings of contract corporate labor. Short term, less or no benefits, less money being paid out. And other companies copied this model, to great success. Where else did things change?

Changes to laws happened also. Reagan? Reagan. And Bush Sr. And Clinton. And probably Carter too. Don’t blame one political party over the other, it all goes back to corporations. 

(Next post, mortgages) Aw Geez. Make me wait. Read up on IBM and all the layoffs over the last 3 decades. Then we get to discuss mortgages. Hurry up. I don’t want to lose my house!

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