How does an employee earning minimum wages for 15 or 20 hours per week feel about his or her job? Do you think it engenders a great deal of commitment? Will this employee look for efficiencies? Strive for higher productivity, better quality?
These questions came to me recently after a conversation with a woman in my physician's office. She explained her plight. As a single mother, she was raising children on her own and had done it on semi-professional low-wage work.
Now her sons were entering the workplace and finding similar low paying work but only on a part time basis. They are not able to earn enough to live on their own.
My interest was raised even further the next day when I read this article by Steven Rosenfeld on alternet.org: "70 Percent of Americans 'Emotionally Disconnected' at Work: Shocking Poll Reveals Workforce Zombieland.
Nearly one in five hates work so much they sabotage their employers."
One of five is bad enough, but the article goes on to say, "Gallup's ongoing "State of the American Workforce' survey reveals that America is largely a nation of working automatons, with most people not feeling emotional ties to what they do and sizeable numbers actively seeking to sabotage their colleagues and managers.
These latest findings indicate that 70 percent of American workers are "not engaged' or "actively disengaged' and are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive," the pollers said."
Only the willfully blind should be surprised by the findings in Gallup's poll. Add this to the findings I wrote about last week in my article "Let Them Eat Cake: The Economic Costs and Causes of our Societal Ills" and you have the toxic brew currently poisoning our society.
In case you missed it, "A society's unequal distribution of wealth has a negative correlation to the its health. In other words, the greater the one, the lesser the other.
What are the factors that constitute a healthy society? Life expectancy, math and literacy skills, infant mortality, homicides, imprisoned population, teenage births, trust, obesity, mental illness, including drug abuse and alcoholism, and social mobility.
In effect, what this means is the health of our society as measured by these factors is at the low end of all the rich, developed market democracies in the world while our unequal distribution of wealth is at the high end. Our top 20 percent has 8.5 times more wealth than the bottom 20 percent."
And it's getting worse. The first quarter of 2013 saw the largest wage drop ever. Wages fell 3.8 percent -- the largest drop in hourly pay in the 65-year history of that statistic.
From AlterNet by Les Leopold, "Big Lie: America Doesn't Have #1 Richest Middle-Class in the World...We're Ranked 27th!
America is the richest country on Earth. We have the most millionaires, the most billionaires--and an increasingly poor "middle class."
Our middle class is falling further and further behind in comparison to the rest of the world. We keep hearing that America is number one. Well, when it comes to middle-class wealth, we're number 27.