Posts Tagged ‘‘The Directors’’

Private Eye’s ‘The Directors’ on Workforce Exploitation

March 7, 2016

Here’s another very pointed comment on the nature of modern corporate capitalism from ‘The Directors’ cartoon from Private Eye. This piece ran in their issue of the 10th to 24th June 2005.

Directors Cartoon 4

If you can’t read the text, the speech bubbles say

‘Remember the days when we used to force our workers to work longer hours … and have less rights? Well now we have a modern, empowered workforce … and they demand longer hours and less rights!’

This is right. Or at least, it was then. At about the same time that came out, the Financial Times ran an article which described how workers were working longer hours, having been told that the industries or the jobs that did this were giving them some kind of vital experience that was expanding their horizons. The article described a young woman, who had worked all night on some problem at work, positively glowing at this exciting opportunity she had been given. The Times was talking about very middle class jobs in the financial sector or IT, or similar, but the point was there. Employees were working long hours, for less, on the specious pretext that this was somehow empowering them.

In the eleven years since, that kind of rationale for exploiting the workforce has sort of worn off. It’s still being used to sell internships and ‘work placements’ in the workfare industry, but its seems that generally the use of coercion has simply become more overt. It’s now no longer being sold to the workforce as ’empowerment’. You’re simply expected to work longer, either because of the government’s austerity programme and the need to pay off the deficit, which somehow means that vital services and lifelines to the poor have to be cut, or there’s simply no explanation given at all. The government has destroyed workers’ rights and is busy eviscerating the unions. You have to work harder, simply because you don’t have a choice. There are millions of others like you, and if you don’t, you can always be sacked and replaced. And corporations do, at a moment’s notice.

I’ve got a feeling Marx would describe all this as part of the false ideology that disguises the exploitation of the workers and keeps them in chains. Marxism as a whole has failed, but bits of it are still very relevant. And that’s one of them. Except now the lie is being discarded, and the naked force beneath is showing through.

Director’s Cartoon on Workforce Poverty

March 5, 2016

This is another very pointed comment on workforce poverty and the disastrous effect this has on consumption from ‘The Directors’, a cartoon satirising upper management that ran in Private Eye. This came from the Eye’s issue for Friday, 25th June 1999.

Directors Cartoon 3

If you can’t read it, the Director is saying to the little boy, ‘You see jack – the consumer demands lower prices and higher quality … and that can only come from sweating the workforce!’

‘But surely, Grandad, the workforce are the consumers…’

To which Grandad’s response is ‘Security! Get this kid outa here!’

It’s actually a very good point. The Angry Yorkshireman a few years ago posted up a piece on precisely this point, discussing how even the rabidly anti-Socialist Henry Ford paid his workers a good wage so that by spending they could stimulated the economy. But it’s a lesson most captains of industry and the whole of the entire Tory party have never learned. And certainly not the crew of numbskulls now in charge of reducing everyone except the rich into dire poverty.

Private Eye’s ‘The Directors’ Cartoon on Privatisation and Poverty

March 2, 2016

I found this very apt little political comment from ‘The Directors’ cartoon in Private Eye for 7th – 20th January 2005.

Directors Cartoon 2

If you can’t read it, the Director speaking is under a banner saying ‘Lower Taxes Now!’ He says ‘When the tax burden is lifted from their shoulders … Everyone can choose to pay for their own private health, pension, transport and education – this will make a huge difference to our people… They’ll put up with anything to stay in work!’

It’s as true now as it was eleven years ago. And I’m sure that is very much how privatisers and the Tories, Lib Dems and New Labourites, who cut back on benefits do see it.

Private Eye’s ‘The Directors’ Cartoon on Slavery

March 1, 2016

About a decade ago Private Eye ran a cartoon, ‘The Directors’, lampooning the squalid morality and the callous regard for human suffering of the titans of global capitalism. I found this piece from the issue for 13th -26th April 2007 particularly incisive.

Directors' Cartoon

If you can’t read it, the speech bubbles say, ‘Slavery must have been terrible!’, ‘Imagine those poor people … having to feed their workers all year round!’ ‘Hiring and firing is so much better!’

Now this was actually the argument Adam Smith, the author of The Wealth of Nations used against slavery: that it was more expensive than free labour. I also think it’s particular apt since the government is using workfare as a form of forced, unfree labour for the big corporations and Tory donors.