Here in the States, regarding employment, we all know it's "every man for himself."
Everything here, economically, is based on this principal.
It's "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps", fight for what you want, work for what you need.
And there's some truth and merit to that, sure. No one can give you anything, really. You don't grow if you're just given things.
But the system can and could include plenty of work for more people, I'd claim, without being completely, totally and utterly cut-throat and, as I said, "every person for themselves."
It doesn't HAVE to be management vs. labor or the company vs. the worker.
The opposite of competition really is cooperation.
I write this today because of an article I just read pointing out what Germany at least differently if not better than our "every person for themselves", cut-throat system. An example:
Germany has focused very directly on protecting existing jobs. Through its "kurzarbeit" program, the government provides subsidies to employers who avoid laying off workers during periods of low demand; instead bosses are encouraged merely to reduce the hours that employees work. Employers themselves have also created more flexible arrangements with their workers: Under a system of "working time accounts," employees work overtime without additional pay when demand is high during boom times, then during the downturn work shorter hours, again at regular pay. The system helps everyone better weather the ups and downs of the economy without the need for layoffs.
See? That's what I'm talking about. It's much more collaborative. It's much more "we're in this together--what can we do?" than our system.
Another thing Germany does that we don't:
As the Washington Post's Harold Meyerson has written, Germany's manufacturing firms still hire large numbers of domestic workers, rather than turning to lower paid foreign workers as many of their U.S. counterparts do. That's not because German execs are inherently any more civic-minded than American one—instead, they're acting under the constraints of Germany's "co-determination" system, which aims to ensure that corporate boards contain an equal number of labor and management representatives. Here, by contrast, organized labor is fighting to avoid seeing its clout reduced still further.
Doesn't that make sense?
Maybe if we practiced something more like this we wouldn't have millions of people flooding in from other countries, undercutting our wages. Maybe there wouldn't be this magnet to come up here to get jobs. Maybe with this, companies wouldn't turn a blind eye to our laws and hire people who are here illegally. (See? I'm not blaming the Mexicans and Hispanics totally for this by any means).
And no, Germany doesn't have a perfect system but they do have a good, working system and they've managed to keep most people employed in the midst of an international slowdown and they're stronger, individually and as a nation, because of it.
And the benefits to companies in all this? If we KEEP our jobs? Well, won't we still be able to buy their products?
Everyone would win.
We'd all be in this together.
Don't look now but we already are.
Link to original story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110322/ts_yblog_thelookout/ich-bin-ein-example-what-we-can-learn-from-germany-about-jobs