Many Millennials are rebelling at an economic system that they believe puts profits over fairness and equality. Is capitalism too harsh?
You might say that it was in a bread line where economics came into focus for Bernardo Vigil Rendon. He was employed, actually, at a bread factory.
One day, word came from on high: A new client needed the loaves packed in a different kind of box. The workers would be packing the same amount of bread, but the job would now be more difficult, and there would be no extra time allowed to do it. No extra pay.
“We just have to do this” was the message that filtered down, he recalls.
What Mr. Vigil Rendon could see, along with fellow workers and even his immediate manager, was that, at about 15 cents extra per loaf, it meant a substantial new chunk of profit for the bread factory but nothing for those on the line.
“It was exceedingly hard” for the workers, he says, and “quite a windfall for the owners.”
Today, Vigil Rendon has moved on to a workplace he likes much better, a bicycle store that’s owned by the workers collectively. The pay isn’t huge, but the job comes with perks that are unusual for such a small shop: a retirement savings plan, no staff cuts in the off-season, and a familial atmosphere that sometimes brings the shop’s adopted cat, Falkor, into an amiable nose-to-nose encounter with another worker’s towering dog. And in weekly meetings, everyone has a voice in decisions. … READ MORE