Employment Under A MicroscopeWritten by Virginia Bola, PsyD
A certain amount of oversight is involved in almost any job. The more important, more highly skilled, more successful position, lower degree of oversight. At bottom rung of economic and social ladder - laborers, maids, easily replaceable positions - more watchful are powers that be, less secure are workers, more personally vulnerable are they to any mistakes made.
When money or similar valuables are intermixed with poorly paid employees, level of oversight reaches outsized and intrusive proportions. Diamond workers in South Africa submit to body cavity searches after every shift, a humiliation society normally limits to convicted felons or known drug traffickers.
In United States, low-level workers in finance and banking are closely observed for cash or figure discrepancies. Too many errors lead inevitably to termination. The larger amounts of money involved, more significant mistakes become. A fast food register a few cents out of balance differs markedly from a bank cashier imbalance of several hundred dollars.
The more pure cash is involved, more difficulty there is in tracing a paper trail of transactions to establish where a discrepancy occurred. I just returned from three days in Las Vegas, American capital of cash. Surely nowhere else in country handles thousands of hundred dollar bills that change hands in that town, to tune of several billion dollars annually.
For years, in counting rooms it was one pile for house, one pile for government, and one pile for "the boys." Untold millions were siphoned off for East Coast crime czars. The government hated being cheated of their fair share. The gamblers could care less where money went as long as they had a fair chance of winning and their play rendered them free rooms, free shows, and free food. It was symbiotic - a mutually advantageous relationship. Any worker foolish enough to try to cheat uniquely expert cheaters at top, found their final reward in unforgiving desert where flesh melts quickly and bone fragments blow quickly away in beds of long-dry rivers.
Then corporations moved in and "the boys" faded away into their old street rackets and burgeoning drug trade. The corporate-owned casinos are no longer in business of skimming: they can make legitimate returns for their shareholders through huge returns guaranteed by house advantage in every transaction. To add to gaming cash, they moved to ensure a profit in related areas: rooms, food, and shows.
Even owners and managers, with their accounting-oriented perspective on world, recognize their vulnerability to greed, cheating, and theft in huge cash side of their business.
Casino worker oversight, while not yet approaching body-cavity-search level, is perhaps most organized and intrusive in western world. It ranges from dealers clapping and showing open, empty hands, to two or more floor walkers (depending on size of jackpot) co-signing on every hand-pay slot win. It involves floor men watching every table bet, box men watching every roll of dice and its payoff stacks of chips. It requires supervisors to watch floor men, managers to watch supervisors, undercover security men to watch both workers and guests, and eye-in-the-sky overhead cameras that can observe and detect every one of a million transactions per day.
Unemployment Iraqi StyleWritten by Virginia Bola, PsyD
Let's put it all into perspective: U.S. has an unemployment rate hovering at just above 5% level (although much higher in ethnic populations). Iraq has an unemployment rate in 75% range.
How on earth do they live?
We are all aware of difficulties of being out of work -the financial pressures, emotional trauma, ruin of so many marriages and families, and overall cost to society. The effects of unemployment on personal dreams of success wreak havoc with self-esteem and self-confidence of those without work. In a society that glorifies money, power, and celebrity above all else, have-nots carry taint of failure and view themselves as losers. They can no longer compete with their peers, keep up with Joneses, or live lifestyle to which they have aspired for so long.
But if 3 out of 4 of your neighbors, family, and friends are jobless, equation changes. You may live in poverty, unsure of when next meal will materialize, but just about everyone else is in same boat. Begging, bartering, and haggling over exchange of meager basics becomes standard lifestyle. Aspirations of success are tossed aside for more immediate goal of survival. It is few individuals who actually have work and a regular income who are aliens in crowd.
In an economy devastated by war, magnified by an ongoing insurgency, what does much-touted western world's democracy mean: freedom to starve?
A culture in disarray yearns for "the man on horseback." The inequities and internal struggles of Roman Republic gave birth to a long line of debauched, despotic Emperors. The mass poverty of Russian serfs opened door to Lenin and his monstrous descendant, Stalin. The ruined economy of Weimar Republic brought us order and security, as well as total evil, of Adolf Hitler. The hedonistic excesses and widespread corruption of Havana produced Fidel Castro. The war-ravaged landscape of Cambodia hatched Khmer Rouge.