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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The St. Louis Fed says corporate power structure is Un-American

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Top jobs are about power first, then skill. Keeping America white is also at the top of the agenda despite many pro-active concessions made over the last five decades. According to a Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis study published by the Department of Labor, white men charge the most, and comprise 95%-97% of Fortune 500 companies. The research goes on to say, "In short, the fact-finding report tells us that the world at the top of the corporate hierarchy does not yet look anything like America."

If the DOL is willing to admit it, then it's essentially undeniable. In light of that, it's not unrealistic to hypothesize middle management replacements that are not white men often become women and minorities who are either unaware of glass price ceilings or don't mind doing the same job for less. Then of course, a whole round of bias takes place under that gang because they too have social biases, and the cycle goes on.

Apart from political and cultural bias in power positions, there is also a whole range of discrimination at every other level. In other words, even though the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sites Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or origin there are quite a few other things to discriminate against with less flak. A few things on the long list are poor character, bad attitude, distracting smell, inappropriate attire, weird vibes, criminal record etc. There's no shortage of things to discriminate against, and employment law only covers the Sesame Street basics of human decency.

If employee candidates can successfully surpass discrimination barriers then come the work related obstacles. Employers themselves have objectives, be they personal, profit driven or purely administrative. Employers assessing potential employees at this level look for compliance, pliability, flexibility, subservience, friendliness, demeanor etc. In other words,  things that contribute to the "corporate environment" and ethos should not be underestimated. Things like overzealous use of skill, over achievement, excellent know how, experience and industriousness are technical requirements that sometimes get  in the way of status quo loving managers and executives.

Image license: Chris Yunker, CC BY-SA 2.0