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Liberals and corporate America must co-exist

In Business, Charities, Economy, Local News, Media, Opinion, Politics, Uncategorized on January 22, 2014 at 11:52 am

DIH LOGOIt wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that most liberals with a severe opinion of corporate America are primarily on the left-wing extremist end of things. But their voices are heard, nonetheless, and help to further expand the gap between left and right.

I recently posted to my social media page a paraphrased quote from a conservative business owner expressing her outrage over a liberal commentary on how businesses shamelessly promote themselves to generate sales. Her response was as follows, “Liberal bleeding hearts always seem to hate corporate America, right up until they want money for something.” Needless to say, the woman’s comment was not taken well by some of my liberal Facebook friends.

Regardless of how they want to think of themselves, liberal-based non-profits are, in fact, corporations in business. Although the term “non-profit” could be debated in many respects, they are still in business to create a product that generates revenue and pays salaries. In fact, they pay employees very well. The current CEO of National Public Radio pulls in about $1.4 million a year, a number that the network’s news commentators would likely find deplorable were it related to a commercial business chief.

So, how does one respond to a conservative business person who remarks, “If I advertise my business then the liberals call me vulgar? But it’s perfectly acceptable for them to go on TV and beg for money to keep their non-profit going. Why is that ok?” Seems like a simple question, but the answer is a bit more complex.

Corporate advertisers are regularly accused of manipulating consumers into buying. At the same time, non-profits (typically liberal causes or organizations) are just as manipulative when asking for “member support,” or however they decide to word it. Is there a difference? Not really. It’s actually more about perspective.

debt calamityLiberal non-profit heads will argue that what they do is for a greater good; people helping people, and so on. At the same time, they will accuse the conservative business owner of being interested only in turning a profit and getting rich. He, in turn, will refute the charge, saying that he’s offering a quality product for a premium price and doesn’t need to “guilt” anyone into handing over their money, all while employing people and keeping the economy going.

Mr. Conservative Business Man will also add to his statement that several times a year some non-profit knocks on his door wanting a handout, to which he responds with a nice, fat check. No one loses. People are employed, consumers get what they want – and if they didn’t want it, there’d be no product – all while the non-profit gets to keep its doors open.

The truth is, non-profits could not exist without big business. It just can’t be done. The majority of money given to public charities and social causes, as well as larger efforts like PBS, all comes from big business or charitable trusts created from successful corporate endeavors. To argue that people in corporate America make “too much money,” is also ridiculous, since the majority of U.S. companies are classified as small business, owned by middle-class people.

Several of the arguments against the Facebook quote I noted earlier focused on what one poster called, “a certain political persuasion speaking in absolutes,” and she couldn’t have been more accurate. This entire concept is based on black and white vision with no gray areas of mutual understanding. Fortunately, most people who are successful, either in business or non-profit management, understand that both have to co-exist to survive.

Corporate America has the responsibility to help those less fortunate but to do that they first have to be successful and self-sufficient. Simultaneously, non-profits have a responsibility to balance needs with wants and manage both budgets accordingly. We all have to do the best we can and work together so there will be good jobs, sustainable social programs and a strong economy.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business contributor to WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton program. More at http://www.gerydeer.com.

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Evolve or die: More occupations are becoming extinct.

In Economy, history, Jobs, National News, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on November 6, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Deer In Headlines

By Gery L. Deer

What would you do if, not just your particular job, but your entire occupation was no longer needed – ever again? There are on dozens of job categories that are either slowly becoming unnecessary or have already suffered the fate of mechanized extinction.

operatorsAlready gone are the ice and milk delivery man (they were just men back in the day), the telephone operator, record player repairman, elevator operators, professional typists, and a host of others. Those occupational positions feeling the Grim Reaper nipping at their heels may include the gas station attendant, the postal delivery worker, video store clerk, department store sales person, newspaper delivery workers (the paper boy), travel agents and the old-fashioned barber.

Oddly enough even newspaper columnists, like yours truly, are fading away. Modern publishers can use syndicated filler columns or hire “bloggers” who often possess little or no journalistic experience – and pay pennies for the material if anything. Most of my freelancing colleagues have adapted to commercial writing or do as I have, by taking on a wider variety of work to earn a living.

Printing press operator jobs, once abundant in the Dayton, Ohio region are now all but gone. The more publications move toward fully electronic versions, the fewer press jobs there will be and the skill will be in higher demand with those companies still rolling out ink and paper.

As time passes, some of these occupations will have to either evolve into other forms or go the way of the door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. Librarians, for example, may have been headed towards obscurity but now manage a variety of media, both on the shelf and online. But others may not be able to adapt to serve alternative functions and will simply die out, like the salaeratus maker (that’s someone from the 1800s who made baking soda). See what you can learn from Deer In Headlines?

So what is to be learned from all of this professional progression? Clearly, more education is going to be necessary and the market will adapt to the need. New types of jobs will be created as others fade away.

But are there any jobs unlikely to be replaced by technological breakthrough? Oddly, anyone who is required to create, build and repair that technology has a goldmine ahead of them. Let’s face it, the nerds rule the world and they’re not going anywhere! There are whole television shows about them now.

Incidentally, it isn’t merely technology that causes occupational evolution, but the economy and changes across a business sector, particularly where several types of industries overlap. Consolidation of responsibilities combined with changes in technology can result in the need for more highly-trained workers, but requiring fewer to do the same jobs.

Doctors and nurses will probably always be required, even though patients will pay more to see them less. Hospitals are in a constant state of change as well. Budget cuts and lack of necessity have long-since done away with the helpful but redundant “orderly” position. Today, nursing and medical assistants have taken the place of orderlies, having more education and medical training that can serve a larger need than merely as a gurney driver.

On-air radio professionals, once called “disc jockeys,” have had to evolve as well. Digital media and station automation have made these jobs scarce, but those who are surviving are evolving through other types of media like Internet-based entertainment and even creating their own online listenership.

Whatever the job, workers should make an effort to stay ahead of the game through personal enrichment, continued education and, above all, keep an open mind. Those people who are very resistant, even defiant, toward technology will have a much harder time adapting.

The bottom line here is that occupational evolution is a necessity of any economy. As technology changes and America continues its slow but steady recovery from recession, more workers will be needed while some jobs disappear because they’re just obsolete. *

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business contributor to WDTN-TV2’s “Living Dayton” program. Learn more at http://www.deerinheadlines.com