The first thing we note in that name – which has become attached to several kinds of businesses – is the fact that it is an extreme misnomer. There is nothing “sharing” about that group of businesses. Unless you call the lower to middle classes sharing their small assets and ideas in ways to make the upper entrepreneurial class extremely wealthy, a “Sharing Community.”
The business titans of the next generation will all come from this extremely wealthy group. They take into their rather exclusive club those they have identified as ‘like them’. And we all know our own.
A more accurate name would be the Greedy/ Grasping/ Exclusive and Excluding/ Racist and Sexist Community!
Wow! That sounds angry! – It is most definitely not a happy frame of mind.
Let’s take a look. Is it angry or is it accurate.
The ‘Sharing’ Community is the group of entrepreneurs who have taken a funnel; poured into the top all the assets they could not touch and do not own; taken the lions share of those assets – without buying them or putting upfront any kind of money in exchange for those assets; and have come out with multi-billions of dollars while the people who own the assets being used are given a dream that turns into a nightmare as they look at the fact that only a very few realize that dream. Those that realize the dream are the few used to disprove the rule.
The ‘Sharing Community’ is bringing in racism and classism like no other corporate structure has been able to create, maintain or enforce. They do it by painting pictures of this wonderful society – the beloved society – which will bring us all together in a very loving and sharing way.
Most of the folks, who have had this imitation stardust thrown into their eyes and who cannot see what is in front of them, but subscribe to the mythology, are the ones who will be hurt the most.
Take a look at the companies who have been most exposed by the media. The others won’t be far behind. Not totally exposed, however, because the media realize that while they must tell – at least part of the truth – their owners have to survive and they do that surviving through the advertising dollars of those new “Sharing Community” groups. It would be so easy if we all took on the responsibility of thinking – carefully thinking of what is presented to us so beautifully gift wrapped.
Take Amazon. There have been articles written, exposing the warehouse slavery which happens at Amazon – exposing how they treat their employees – not the ones at the top who are now multi-billionaires; nor the ones in the middle who are multi-millionaires; but the ones at the bottom making all of that possible for those top executives and investors.
Amazon has been talked and written about describing its racism and sexism, but we were too busy dreaming to listen. They have just recently shown clearly, not only their extreme racism but the very arrogant way they assume it is their right to act it out and expect the larger society to not notice and/or to approve. They don’t notice their own racism because it is totally ingrained in their structure and their corporate culture.
In Boston, they announced one day delivery to all except those who live in Roxbury. How is that racist? Roxbury is where most of the African Americans and other minorities live.
They were preceded almost a generation ago by the first company giving you access to the internet with your own personal account. If you were African American and/or other minorities deemed less than by this society you could not get such an internet account. It was set up so that you had to have a credit card to have an internet account and your credit card had to be rated above a certain level. We worked with many minorities who were denied access to the internet. Not until everything was running smoothly and the majority society was very skilled at the internet; saw its possibilities; started building companies to take advantage of the internet were those barriers relaxed – and other internet companies started to join in the picture. And at that point groups took on the job of trying to bring the ‘disadvantaged’ into the fold. Not as equals, but as those less than who didn’t know enough to join this revolution. Now, the rest of us would have to do our ‘nobles oblige’ and work to bring them up to speed, because they couldn’t do it themselves. Not totally up to speed, but just enough to maintain our superiority and show what looks like our compassion.
The story given out was that you had to have this kind of credit card because your monthly fee – which at the time was around $12/month – had to be taken out of your credit card each month. They had to know the money would be there when they automatically withdrew their fee – and other minor embroideries to attempt to justify this racist exclusion. One of the exclusions was – if you were divorced – and female – you had to be one year out of your divorce before you could get an internet account. How quickly we forget.
As we worked with people trying to get an internet account – they offered to pay their fees one year in advance to avoid the ‘guideline’ set up which excluded them – they had no credit card, couldn’t get a credit card, and the few that had credit cards did not have a high enough rating in their cards to qualify – our ‘forgetfulness’ also extends to the role of the credit cards in the continuing oppression structured into this society. That offer of cash or check in advance for one years fees was immediately declined by the company. So much for what the internet provider considered a necessary policy.
If you look closely at the policies and practices of Amazon you will find them riddled with racism and sexism. We are too far away from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s to think and parallel and see how grossly minorities are treated – and – we are too busy scrambling for something that we feel is important, to stop and take a serious look at what these companies are doing and how they are structuring into our present a more rigid racism and sexism for our children’s generation than that which we have had to face and fight.
Their control will be complete by the time what they are doing is recognized and addressed. Didn’t Amazon feel free enough to eliminate Roxbury from their one day delivery without expecting any blow back from such a policy and without even realizing the racism of the policy? Or did they put the policy in place knowing it would negatively affect African Americans and other minorities in the neighborhood and that was the reason for the policy in the first place, but it went into place anyway because their goal is to benefit their “own” and to eliminate anything they feel might be a ‘danger’ to the development of their business? And, is that ‘danger’ minorities and women?
A corporate structure reflects the times in which it was created and the people who did the creating of the structure. The racism and sexism of the original founders would be intricately incorporated into the structure they put into place. Their fears, their identity, their needs would be very much woven into the structure of what they found. I meant “found” because most of the ideas about which we are discussing were stolen from others without any need to do otherwise. That spirit would be all through their creation. They would take someone else’s idea and add their own racism, sexism, insecurities into what they created and continue to create.
And then there is Airbnb! Found to have racist policies by Harvard Business School Harvard Gazette Article they are still free to exercise them. HBS Article . By the time the rest of us catch up and understand what they have structured, they will have taken us back to the days when African Americans had their own b and b listing of places they could stay because they were closed out completely from the accommodations others could use. This time, the close-out will be complete because it will be hidden and not many will take on the deconstruction necessary to lay that bare.
Once upon a time during the Civil Rights Movement, colleges and universities used a discrete kind of racism and sexism. A way to discriminate without saying we have rejected your application because you are too dark; too non-American; too, etc.
One huge way they put in place to enforce that discrimination was to require a picture with your application.
Those minorities who did not have the tell-tale entries in their application – their name; their address; the schools they went to before applying; etc. would be caught in the net of the picture requirement and the schools could then – and they did – reject the applications based on the recognized basis of racism and sexism rather than allowing the application to go ahead and be considered on its merits. Some colleges and universities didn’t totally reject all minorities, but they had a quota. Once that quota was reached, all others were rejected and the picture requirement made that possible.
Airbnb started without a picture requirement unless you had an African American sounding name or your application to use their services was picked up with something being not quite right. What was that? A possible minority, you say?
To correct that, they have apparently started to require a picture from almost everyone. Does that sound familiar? A policy which does the same thing and allows the same kind of discrimination practiced by colleges and universities a generation ago.
Take a look at other companies which are a part of this ‘sharing community’. Basically, you are allowed to use assets you struggled to acquire for your family, etc. to ‘share’ with others. You use them sometimes and you rent them out to others at other times. What happens through this process? You generally rent them out at a lower rate than an established business offering the same services. The fact that the people in these other businesses have struggled for more than one generation to get their reimbursement up to a fairly decent amount and are still struggling for things like health insurance, etc. means nothing to those renting out their similar assets for less. They are thinking of how rich they are going to become and maybe even be able to buy more than one of the same kind of asset or something similar to expand the services offered and they and their friends are going to walk into the very rich sunset together.
Instead, they find they are increasingly pushed against the wall and deprived of much because the reason the other services cost more begins to push into their lives. The assets experiences wear and tear; they have expenses which were not included in their initial calculation of how much they were going to profit; they gradually start down that slippery slope and lose even that with which they started. What is also enmeshed into this corporate revolution is the all out hunt for and stealing of the ideas and businesses of others, who do not have access to the investors in this Sharing Community. I have met more people whose corporations are viable and struggling who have been swamped and destroyed by the greedy grabbing and stealing of their ideas and their decades of work developing a business which is then stolen and put in place as though it came full blown out of the minds and experiences of those claiming it as a part of the “Sharing Community.” That kind of theft is no less criminal than the kind against which this society has definite criminal laws.
Who is profiting from the use of their assets – the investors in the overarching business which has set itself up to allow this asset use. They are multi-billionaires in record time – like a few years, if that long. Where did all of that money come from? The backs and lives of those who see what is being offered as some pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and the marketing and advertising of the overarching businesses who are very good at painting that picture.
It is time to take a good look at what this society is becoming and how the masses are moving into an indentured servant class while their lives are being taken to make a greedy group wealthy beyond their wildest imaginings. And they are ‘sharing’ this wealth with who? Certainly not the people who made it possible. They are still struggling to just get back to where they were before they took their assets into this conglomeration.
It is time to tell the truth and give correct names to what is around us. “The Community Indulging in Massive Greed”: “The Community using the assets of the masses in the process of using the Masses to Acquire Billions of dollars without Sharing”. “The Community of the Greed which has discovered the way to maintain and grow its outsized Male Ego by insuring the survival of racism and sexism in a virulent form, masked from the society until that society is enmeshed and unable to extricate itself from the tentacles which enslave them and benefit the investors who created what they call “A Sharing Community.”
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