Economics, according to orthodox economists is viewed simply as the relations of the arrest independent of any political, social or economic power, however political economists such as Philips strongly believe that this is a highly narrow approach that leads to a minimal understanding of the real world and the most important component of our society, ‘the labor market’ (Philips, 2003, p. 2).
By focusing all of the attention simply on the analysis and calculation of the market structure, the effects of it on people’s, working class’s, quality of life, income distribution, the environment and the distribution of political power get neglected (Radcliff, 2001 , p. 39, 940). This paper will be using a political economic perspective to examine the free market, the role of power and Unilateralism within it, and how it negatively affects our work and personal lives.
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Power is the ability of a person or a group of people to be able to impact and manipulate the economic, political and social state of affairs, behavior, decisions and principles of other people or a group. The two ways to implement power are either by imposing punishment and rewards or by influencing the knowledge, values or preferences of other people or groups (Learner, 2000, p. 0-43). There are three main sources of power that can be exercised namely: ideology (a body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture. ); division of class, gender and race; as well as social institutions such as the legal system, school system, corporations, unions, the media, property rights etc.
All the power has been acquired by Unilateralism which constitutes the dominant ideology since the past few decades and this dominant ideology is unfortunately that which portrays the values and interests of senior executives, high level corporate angers, owners of businesses, important shareholders, and the elite. When this power Of the business or ruling class is applied to the free market, it tends to work against the welfare of the working class and favor the business class, or the ruling class (Osborn, 1990, p. 7). For instance, during federal and provincial elections people get showered with fake promises and such as taxes being cut, however what they do not realize are not properly informed of is that these cuts would be compensated at the cost of cutting down on social services that in turn end up disadvantaging the less fortunate ho cannot afford those services on their own rather than the affluent who do not require the social services at all.
The same Nonlinear political parties also lobby against raising the wages for the working class as they believe that to be the major cause for an increase in inflation and unemployment (Peterson, 2005, p. 12). Their reasoning behind not raising wages while expecting the working class to work longer overtime hours at lower wages is that it allows the businesses to remain functional and competitive and the economy to stay strong which in turn secures the workers’ jobs. This goes against the democratic right of people to utilize legislation so that the economy serves them and not the other way around (Philips, 2003, p. 3).
The Nonlinear model of the economy and politics also presents four main arguments that it utilizes to validate its interests of justifying prevarication, deregulation and trade liberalizing, the first being that the market is an efficient and democratic institution, to which Phillips rightfully proposes that if the market is indeed as efficient and democratic as it is claimed to be then how come there is such an enormous gap between the salaries of the Coos of reparations as compared to the average workers of the very same companies, also how come these companies pay hefty bonuses to its executives while taking them away from average workers at a time when it is falling into bankruptcy; the second assumption is that markets involve competition between equal individuals or companies, to which Phillips argues that each employer while competing with others uses the same tactics of either lowering prices to the point until the minimum is required to cover its costs, or competing for the best of workers at premium wages, and these static will only lead to a scarcity in jobs during which unionized workers will have to compete amongst each other for available work by having to accept lower wages; thirdly, in Margaret Thatcher’s words, ‘there is no such thing as society. There are only individuals and families. , which is simply difficult to believe as this would mean that individuals go about their day to day lives without any concern or regard for others and with no care in the world about a form of union, belonging, relationship, friendship, a community or a society; stats, information is equally available to everyone in the marketplace, which Phillips critiques by presenting examples such as the unawareness of cigarette smokers of the health hazards such as cancer as tobacco making companies did not make that information available to them, the lack of information of the many car-buyers of exploding gas tanks or tires when they purchased vehicles from certain manufacturers, and lastly, the failure to educating workers on hazards of asbestos and BPCS while employing them to work with those materials (Phillips, 2003, p. 3, 4).
It is evident through these retirees of Nonlinear arguments that there is simply a terrible lack of power of the working class, they are presented with no opportunity at any point to stand up against the power of the market and the ideology of the business or ruling class which endlessly prevails as the dominant ideology. Lets move away from working conditions for a moment and focus on how the market affects other important aspects of the lives of the workers and their loved ones. Taking other business costs into consideration, the market, at best, would only be able to provide an adequate amount of education and lath care services to the working class.
Workers earning a moderate or low income would never have access to enough pay or even credit through the banks to be able to afford the education; training; social services such as food banks, affordable public transit, local community clubs, recreation programs, and public parks; healthcare or medical insurance for catastrophic illnesses or accidents that they and their families need or deserve (Chug, 2000, p. 56). The biggest and most crucial example of this can be seen in the Ignited States here a majority of the population has no form of or insufficient medical insurance. The United States government has decided to only provide the bare minimum medical insurance to the elderly and the low income earners, whereas the affluent enjoy the best medical care and insurance policies and coverage (Phillips, 2003, p. 20).
When it comes to education, the single most reason why the moderate and low income earners are able to gain any form of education and being able to provide basic education to their children is because it is free. They are aware of the competitive nature of the job market UT there and they completely understand that a better higher education would be absolutely essential in order for employers to hire their children, however they simply do not have enough money to afford it or take on a loan that great without proper job security given the work conditions that they suffer. Again, the affluent can afford the best education in the world for their children without any worry about the financial costs behind it. The lack of power that the working class experiences at work unfortunately gets extended to their homes (Chug, 2006, p. 0).
Even though the government subsidizes university costs for students, the continuously rising student debts and tuition hikes in order for the universities themselves to stay competitive with each other become an evident barrier for students hoping to attend and finishing post-secondary education (Phillips, 2003, p. 21). Not only do the working class and their families have to compromise on proper healthcare, education, and social services, but they also have an all around poor quality of life as their low incomes cannot even afford them good accommodation, remonstration, the ability of being able to purchase something nice for themselves or their families, taking a vacation, etc (Chug, 2006, p. 62).
All of this combined stress from work and their personal lives sometimes tends to push these workers into the hands or poverty or crime as they feel like they have no other choice but to give up on ever finding decent work with a decent pay and benefits or engage in illegal methods of earning money to provide a life for their families. In conclusion, the noble and historically democratic idea of the ‘Free market’ goes not seem so noble or democratic after all upon examining it under the microscope of a political economic perspective. The possession of all of the market power of the Unilateralist ruling or business class and their dominant ideology of putting business needs over workers needs as compared to the severe lack of power of the working class is so significant that it almost seems as though both these classes live in different worlds.
The moderate and low income earners do not have any job security, let alone decent wages and their families tend to have a poor quality of life as they cannot even afford basic education for their children, let alone aspiring to send them off to university for higher education in hopes of them being able to compete for jobs when it is their time; they do not have access to proper health care or enough medical insurance in case of a medical emergency or when they become elderly; social services such as food banks, affordable public transit, local community clubs, recreation programs, and public parks are limited due to government cutbacks on spending for them and they can absolutely forget about having any money left for leisure activities or vacation with their implies. While these individuals cannot afford basic necessities of life, the market continues to grow and become competitive day by day without causing any sort of concern for the government towards the welfare of its people besides the affluent.