I recently read an article about the how Virgin Atlantic is going to start offering unlimited vacations to their employees. Following the trend started by Netflix and many other high tech companies. This seems like a pretty good deal— on the surface. But we will explore this more later. First I want to explain how a Long Con works: the phrase con man is short for confidence man, and a confidence man is somebody who uses their confidence to exploit a persons characteristics in order to steal money from them. A Long Con is a specific trick that takes a long time to unfold, involves many variables and it ends when the victim presents an idea that eventually exploits themselves and their money goes to the Confidence man— in other words, you get them to think that the plan that screws them was autonomously conceived.
In order to show you that the employee achievement of getting unlimited vacation is part of a Long Con, we need to go way back to when this trick began. The Occupy Movement goes to great lengths to preach about the economic inequalities in America and how grossly unjust they are and have become. There is credence to this notion, as the disparity has become adversely unequal over the last 35 years, however, this movement has the implicit implication that at some point in time things were equal— or that we are a nation built on a lofty tradition of equality and social mobility. The American Dream, as they say.
The land that is the United States became the United States as the product of an implicit genocide (98.1% of the 12 million Native Americans were killed between 1500 and 1900) and the work to grow the pre-American and post-American economy was built on the backs of slaves. If a group of settlers today landed in some random port and began killing everybody to the point of genocide— and the ones they don’t kill they enslaved instead, how would America respond? Ironically so, the present day America and her implicit self-imposed role as the policing agency of the world would most likely respond with military force and would condemn these acts as crimes against humanity. And these settlers would be called Terrorist Organization; a hundred years ago they would’ve been called Pirates and a hundred years before that Explorers.
So to be perfectly clear the means that pre-America (and subsequently post-America) grew was the product of murder, slavery and Terrorism. After a couple hundred years of terrorism the British Colony decided that it was time to become independent and become a free sovereign state. The people that drove this decision to revolt against the British were not the People, as in We The People, but rather, it was rich aristocrats that are endearingly referred to today as the Founding Fathers. There was actually a large resistance among the people to revolt and the Founding Fathers, were able to rally resistance on the back of what is basically a brilliantly orchestrated marketing campaign. However, convincing the people to back a war on false pretenses by creating an illusion based on a false-dichotomy, which generally involves dehumanizing the enemy is kind of a reoccurring theme in American (and World) history.
However, once we were an established sovereign state and we all walked around with our newly granted inalienable rights and such— then we must have became free and equal. The next hundred years or so, during the western expansion— otherwise known as the wild wild west years, or the Manifest Destiny— is the period of time that inspired the notion of the American Dream. America saw on its horizon new land that stretched for thousands of miles and it needed to be explored and claimed. The work of exploring, settling and moving west— which was inclusive of battles, wars and mass blood-shed— was the product of the working man or rather the “scrappy entrepreneur,” but the profit of the western expansion went to banks, railroads and the very wealthy Aristocrats of early America. The poor everyday artisans, journeyman and mechanics banked their entire savings on lofty ambitions of finding solace and economic freedom out west by purchasing government land, but they were only swindled into buying property that was literally under-water. America and her unbridled market economy exploited the working class from the very beginning. Nothing has changed. However, the wealthy business owners later discovered that Chinese and Russian immigrants were willing to be exploited for much less money— mass profit ensued.
The late part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century was marked by various socialist uprisings that swept through Europe— heavily rooted in the philosophies of Marx and Engels. Social revolutions generally occur during times of mass poverty, hunger and periods of high unemployment— and in the earlier part of the 20th century in the United States, this was not the case and of no concern. That all changed in the 1930’s. Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR)
is championed as one of the great democratic presidents as he pushed for many socialist like programs to help pull America out of a depression, but also to help prevent her from going into another one. Were his motives grounded in virtuous ideas of equality and justice, or was he just working hard to ensure that the despair of the depression does not turn into a social uprising, like it did in Europe?
FDR approved putting Japanese Americans in interment camps and then after the news of the Nazi Concentration Camps began to spread, FDR’s administration thought that having prison camps in America made us look like hypocrites. So, in order to prevent an international PR crisis, they decided they would let the Japanese Americans leave the camps under the condition that they are male, fit, young and willing to join the US military. As the government also realized that having Japanese Americans in the military was humiliating to our enemy: Japan. And, they also made great translators. In other words, the Japanese were unjustly prisoned and to balance the scales of this injustice they were asked to prove their loyalty by joining the military. This is the product of the great democratic leader. And the all-Japanese infantry unit is the highest decorated unit in US military history. So apparently they proved their loyalty, courage and adversity. And then, around the exact same time FDR rejected many requests from Jews to seek asylum in the United States— including requests by organization representing many children.
Once the economy began to gain speed from the from the expansion in military spending, FDR worked diligently on many programs designed to help Americans become home owners. The programs worked and the next few decades home-ownership in the United States skyrocketed, in fact, it is still the highest in the world. This push for home ownership was just another step in this Long Con that has lead to the unlimited vacation scam. After seeing all the social uprisings in Europe, it seemed that the solution to prevent that from happening in the US was to put everybody in debt— if you own a home you become less likely to want to rock the boat. This was the start of the American Dream era— the white-picket fence, two cars and two kids and a dog. Exploitation by consumerism— this is pretty much exactly what Marx warned against, almost verbatim. Just like the poor artisans a century before were tricked into buying swamp, now Americans are tricked into enslaving themselves to debt. In short, you are now the banks bitch.
The 1960’s was the closest America ever got to a social uprising, as the baby-boomer generation were now in their twenties and there was a disproportionate amount of working class to job creators. Many things arose from the 1960’s, including the civil rights act and the higher education act— the rebellious hippies of the 60’s wanted equality and education. They were trying to build their Great Society, however, they failed to realize they were constructing this dream on very unstable ground. The best way to avert a social uprising is to appease the demands — because you can always take them away later.
The 1970’s were a period of economic stagnation in the United States and hunger started to become very problematic. This was responded with a huge expansion in the food stamp program and other welfare programs to help people in need. Additionally, in the late 1970’s the newly appointed director of the FDA decided that making food cheaper should be the objective of the FDA— this was their response to hunger. Hunger, historically speaking, is a common motivator for social uprisings and these programs worked very hard to prevent this from happening. Although, creating programs that help people rise OUT OF POVERTY would have been more conducive to this Great Society, but making food cheap was a quick fix. And the product of that shift in the FDA objective has been a slow decline in the price of food (in ratio to income) that has slowly declined over the last 40 years.
In the 1980’s the majority of the welfare programs were scaled back and that money was given back to the people in the form of tax breaks to the wealthy. All the meanwhile, the poor continue to eat food that keeps getting progressively cheaper, and at the same time, progressively unhealthy. This leads to the rise in the obesity epidemic. But, no worries, without universal healthcare, the healthcare industry can become a new means of exploiting the working class— creating a healthcare system that focuses on symptoms rather than the cause of your sickness.
The 1990’s included yet another push to increase homeownership in the United States by the Clinton Administration by dramatically decreasing the requirements to get a home loan…this house of cards came crashing down in 2008. And Clinton did nothing to fix the obesity epidemic, except make the symbolic gesture of trying to quit his own McDonalds addiction. Alluding that America needs to fix its own fetishist compulsion for crappy food— even though, making radical changes in the FDA and the food paradigm would have been more helpful.
The 2000’s included what is basically a slow shift from public universities to private universities (in essence). Government agencies of all forms began to respond to economic stagnation by reducing spending on education and, the schools would respond with increased tuition, rinse and repeat. Tuition costs for both public and private universities have gone through dramatic increases— 1200% increase in tuition costs between 1978 and 2012. Which makes the 600% rise in healthcare costs over the same period seem, not so bad? All the meanwhile food has only gone up 244% (which is less than inflation (352%)) — that is why we are all fat, dumb and poor. Student loans are the modern version of the home loan of the 1940’s— another means to enslave the working class to debt and keep them from rebelling and screaming shenanigans.
Finally as promised we will arrive to present day America and the modern day proletariat— the educated, home owning, technology enslaved worker bee of the communication revolution. Google became well known for their free cafeteria, which has since been modeled by other corporations. However, this is only a scam. Most Google employees have an hourly pay rate that is significantly higher than it cost to feed them, in other words, they’re exchanging one hour of their time for a meal— at a net loss. Free food at work increases the chances that an employee will work through lunch, or eat at their desk, or eat with co-workers and discuss work related topics. Also, once your day is done, the idea of working an extra hour or so and have some free sushi becomes enticing, but now you just worked a 12 hour day and never had a break— and the things that prevented you from breaking are considered benefits. Now lets add the on-site gym, portable dentist, portable doctors office, portable haircuts and on-site childcare. These all seem great— but in all reality, it just keeps you at work longer and longer and longer. The objective is to keep you at work as long as possible.
Now, unlimited vacations. The traditional idea of getting a fixed amount of vacation time per year, say 2 weeks, is both the maximum amount of time you can take off in a year, but it is also the minimum. It is in the better interest of the corporations for employees to utilize their paid vacation time, otherwise the vacation assets sit on their books as unpaid liabilities and accountants hate that. So in the standard vacation model the employer WANTS you to take your vacation, which is how it becomes both a minimum and a maximum. Unlimited vacations seem wonderfully enticing, because they remove the maximum element of vacations— just take time off as you see fit. However, now that the paid vacation model goes way, so does the unpaid liability? So, now there is no longer a minimum or a push by the employer for you to take time off. Without that, vacation turns into a reverse auction, similar to what you’d get if you removed minimum wage. In a dog-eat-dog capitalistic market, the employee who does not take vacation may be seen as more productive in the eyes of management. And the employee who takes vacations, even if not in excess, will be seen as the slacker. This is no different than the free meal at Google— except now you’re working through your vacation instead. Just another scam to ensure you never leave work. Go Go GO!
But, hey it is the 21st century and times are a changin’, or so I am told. We do have a black president— that is obviously a sign of change. Although he has done nothing to help the economic disparity, nothing to help poverty, nothing to curb the rise in healthcare and tuition and nothing to make food healthier. What he has done is talk a lot about abstract ideas that don’t solve any problems. Oh yeah, and he is big on gun control. Again, attacking the symptom instead of the cause. Countries with really bad economic disparity tend to have the highest incidents of violence— so, the recent rise in mass shootings, this is not a product of guns, this is a product of economic exploitation and oppression. Please note that the 2nd amendment is a right to help us revolt in the event that our government becomes corrupt. So, laws that focus on restricting gun rights without ANY attention on the CAUSE of the problem, is only in the interest of the rich and powerful business interests of this country that govern/oppress in the same tradition that has been practiced for centuries.
I know this pessimistic view of our history is rather depressing and you must write this off as conspiracy theory, leftist, commie bullshit. But, like I said, wars are built on false pretenses and require that you dehumanize the enemy. The word socialism in the United States media and politics is pretty much profane, why is that? The Cold War was built on a 40 year campaign of slandering the atheist, communist, socialist and Marxist. So the only reason why the idea of socialism is scary is because the United States spent ample amounts of your tax money to brainwashing you into thinking this. Although, the socialist states of Europe have better education, better healthcare, longer life expectations, higher standards of living, higher mean income, lower crime rate, lower incidents of drug use and less prison inmates.
Open your eyes, be objective, assume nothing and question everything. Maybe once you see the shackles that tightly bind you to your own fake reality and realize that you are both the master and the slave, perhaps you’ll rise up and the flee the cave of your illusions and discover what awaits you on the other end:
 Delbanco, A. (1995). The death of Satan: How Americans have lost the sense of evil. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
 Delbanco, A. (1995). The death of Satan: How Americans have lost the sense of evil. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
 Takaki, R. (1993). A different mirror: A history of multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown &.
One thought on “The Long Con”
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