The following is a persuasive essay written in letter form. I decided to express my anti-capitalist views in a personal context by addressing the CEO of a company I worked for several years ago.
Within the U.S. economy, wealth is too unfairly distributed to allow for the mitigation of increasing class inequity, which results in a growing body of underpaid and under-educated workers. For the betterment of your company and the many thousands of lives it directly affects, I implore you, as someone in a position of authority and influence, to examine your priorities and consider placing the interests of the greater share of individuals above those of an affluent few.
I am a former employee of your company’s corporate headquarters, which manages over 100 youth correctional facilities and a handful of adult prisons. Having worked in your Human Resources Department, I am familiar with your employees’ wages. After you laid off 90 percent of said department, I was rehired into your Legal Department, where I learned the details of your company’s persistent litigation.
It is my contention that your business is in a position of great responsibility concerning the welfare of your employees, your inmates, and the surrounding public. Nonetheless, you operate by cutting corners in the name of profitable efficiency and at a great cost to those whom you, as chairman and CEO, are entrusted to aid and employ. When applied to the nature of your business, this approach augments the public danger of imprudent criminal reform.
Paying your guards insufficient living wages ensures that they will be young and unskilled. With a generational and socioeconomic affinity to the inmates, it follows that the two groups would form undesirably intimate bonds. As I recall, guard-inmate relationships caused half of your company’s legal complications. Moreover, the guards’ inexperience and lack of education fostered irresponsible conduct, such as the gross mistreatment of detainees, which produced the other half of your lawsuits. It is no surprise that one of your top-paid executives is a lawyer whose primary job is to handle the litigation and minimize costs by promoting out-of-court settlements. Your company is thus able to avoid exhaustive legal processes, comfortably circumventing potential guilty convictions on the company’s behalf.
Are you responsible for the social consequences of minimizing wages and contractual obligations? If they cause illegal behavior, the answer is a judicious “yes.” But consider, too, the moral bearing of your business operations. Following the HR layoffs, those positions were delegated, leaving many employees with much additional work—for which no one received a raise. However, everyone in the administration saw his or her salaries markedly increase. I can see no justification for this executive favoritism apart from elitist interest. Surely widespread prosperity is more valuable than a few lonely six and seven-figure incomes—as high as 100 times the earnings of your average employee.
Imagine a corporation where the lower echelon was allotted higher pay at the generous expense of the higher-ups. With less day-to-day struggling to make ends meet and with more savings to send themselves and their children to college, the lower-class workers and their families would be afforded greater opportunities, and would likely enjoy a stronger devotion to their charitable workplace. Further, with a focus on what’s best for the disadvantaged majority rather than those already financially privileged, I think your business would reach higher rates of efficiency in lowering recidivism and preventing the unlawful behavior paradoxically contributed by your employees.
The aforementioned principal responsibility to the people is indeed your company’s stated mission. Certainly, then, you are aware of the pride and prestige intrinsic to helping others. You are in an exemplary position to help lead our correctional industry and economic paradigm towards a higher ethical and socially conscious peak. A narrowed income gap is a significant step towards forging a more egalitarian liberty for workers and, by extension, for our democratic nation. The only question I ask you to ponder is, Is improving the lives of those less fortunate not worth your financial sacrifice?