The Problem with U.S. Business Culture

So I was reading this article about Time Inc. It’s a fascinating romp through the history of the company and its magazines.

But once again it struck me – all the changes that happened since the 1960’s. The Internet is a big one, so too the rise of the MBA and Vulture capitalism. And certain other changes in society – we’ve become maleducated, less willing to peek behind the curtain of government and big business.

What really happened as a society we decided to accept that greed was good and that has resulted in corporate culture becoming stingier over time.

We lost our believe in the fact that our employers owe use more. I mean in my career I worked for one accounting firm that used to fly us out to Chicago, Dallas, etc. And maybe Bagel Friday. But really a trip to Hawaii would be so nice. Even when I worked for a certain InfoSec company I would hear tales that the when it was Verisign – a cash cow if there ever was one – one year the bonuses were so significant it allowed many people to pay off student loans, buy cars, etc.

When I think about it I’ve been on the edge of corporate largess for a decent part of my career. But it all changed. Now you barely get two or three weeks vacation. Sure they might have coffee pods or packets or free coca-cola, etc. Or even margueritas on Friday. But the culture of off the wall largess that’s gone.

In fact someone and I were talking – if we ever got the point where we get large and corporate – would we treat employees well. I can see me planning lavish parties and such just because – no particular holiday need apply.

And we need to counter the notion that “Greed is good”. Greed should be anathema to us. We should shame the 1% with vigor. Boo and hiss at them. Carry the pitchforks and torches to their door. Because if we fail to do that – it’s only going to get more insane, worse and we the working people are going to bear the brunt of that.

2 thoughts on “The Problem with U.S. Business Culture

  1. You’re so right about that. This culture of greed warped our sense of values. Most companies don’t look at employees as human beings, they look at them as an expense that needs to be cut as much as possible to “enhance share holder value”. I wince when I hear a politician call CEOs and others like them “job creators” because their task is not to create jobs, it’s to eliminate as many of them as possible to improve the company’s profit margin.

  2. Good points here. I think you can imagine the same timeline as an airline passenger. Pan Am stewardesses and an atmosphere of adventure that spared no expense to make your journey an epic. Now it’s a premade plastic hoagies and a spork with a little jello, a half a can of coke and no leg room. Cattle cars and higher prices.

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