Easy for Jamie Dimon to say
“Savvy businessman” Jamie Dimon gave words of wisdom to college graduates this weekend:
“Throughout my life, throughout this crisis, I’ve seen many people bury themselves by failing to stand up, being mealy mouthed and simply going along with the pack,” said Dimon at the university’s Carrier Dome, where more than 5,000 students received diplomas.
He told students to “do the right thing, not the easy thing” and not to become someone else’s “lap dog.”
Dimon, 54, who was the subject of student protests before the ceremony, was met at the end of his speech with loud applause by the audience of more than 17,000.
“Have the courage to speak the truth, even if it’s unpopular,” said Dimon. “Have the courage to put yourself on the line, strive for something meaningful, even to risk the embarrassment of failure.”
I would guess he really believes that he is proof of all that by standing up for the banksters when it’s “unpopular” to do so. He’s a hero in his own mind.
Sadly, it doesn’t appear that the youth have been particularly radicalized by any of this:
Fewer than a dozen students removed their graduation robes during Dimon’s address in a planned sign of protest of the bank executive as the commencement speaker. More than 1,200 students, alumni and supporters signed an online petition urging the university to rescind the invitation to him.
Some of them are probably going to regret not taking a symbolic stand while they had the chance. In a job market like this, you don’t take stands of any kind on the job. not that Dimon would know that. He breathes the rarefied air of the super-rich, who have all the fuck-you money anyone could possibly want.
That’s the truly sickening thing about Dimon’s speech. Due to his cohort’s hideous professional malpractice, these kids are going into a workforce in which the worker is at a huge disadvantage. It’s not just that 10 percent of the workforce is out of a job (a number which is undoubtedly understated). The problem of high unemployment hits everyone who’s working as well.
These young college graduates are going to find that they are competing for jobs with people who have years of experience and are willing to take cuts in pay and benefits because they have a nut to crack every month or kids to support and they need a job very badly. But older people are at a disadvantage as well. They tend to require higher pay and expect their experience to count for more (plus employers just don’t like ‘em).
Those in between are working in a world in which the competition is so stiff that they can’t afford to “put themselves on the line” or rock the boat in any way. They are doing the work that used to be done by three people (hence “productivity growth”) and they are stuck in whatever dead end job they found themselves in before the recession began because everyone knows you are daft to quit with 10 percent unemployment. Workers are at the mercy of their bosses, working as wage slaves, getting no raises, feeling trapped and at their mercy. Refusing to be a “lap dog” isn’t on the menu in an environment like this.
When there is 10 percent unemployment, the whole workforce is under stress. And the longer it goes on, the more frustrated, angry and depressed the average working stiff feels. Masters of the Universe can drone on about being brave and finding meaning and telling the truth even if it’s unpopular, but he might as well be speaking in tongues for how relevant it is to workers right now.
Those kids may not know it, but they soon will. And I hope they find it in themselves to look back on this day and wish they’d turned their backs on that bastard when they had the chance. It was probably their last opportunity for a good long while to follow his advice.
"Digby" has been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a writer whose political and cultural observations have entertained and informed the blogosphere since 2002. They can currently be found at www.digbysblog.blogspot.com. More Digby.
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