Is the social contract in trouble? Yes according to Dartmouth College Emeritus Professor of Sociology John L. Campbell in this week’s On The Job.
Campbell says that there is a warning that we must heed as we watch the rise of billionaires like Elon Musk.
“Personal interest, from the standpoint of the super-rich, can get in the way of politics, can get in the way of good policymaking, can undermine democracy, can wreak havoc on a society. So, it’s very much a concern that people like Musk are on the rise,” he says.
Musk is one member of a very exclusive club. Campbell is concerned that in taking over twitter, Musk will be intensifying the concentration of media ownership in the States.
Billionaire Jeff Bezos own Washington Post and fellow billionaire Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News as well as major Australian newspapers such as The Australian and The Daily Telegraph.
“These guys control the information flow…in potentially devastating ways for the operation of democracy,” Campbell says.
Campbell speaks from the American viewpoint where the unfair treatment of workers compared to Musk who pays far from his dues in tax has resulted in the average worker often either opting for extreme politics or opting out of political participation all together.
“People increasingly believe the system is rigged against them,” Campbell says.
But Campbell also expresses cautious optimism about the “seeds and buds” growing among American workers.
Workers have been taking control back from their billionaire bosses bit by bit. What began with one Amazon worker on Staten Island has now spread as Amazon workplaces organise across the country. A newly formed Starbucks union has already seen massive wins for Starbucks employees.
“Workers have been emboldened by the possibilities that unionisation may be a good thing,” Campbell says.
Listen to the full episode here: