Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Prince and Beggar Alike

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We support the deities of old and their marvelous afterworlds, some of which are separated into "good folks" and "bad folks."

Yesterday I learned of the death of Ken Thomson, the richest man in Canada, chief stockholder of International Thomson, Inc. Mr. Thomson's net worth is estimated at $19.2 billion dollars. He had a loving children and has a son who is carrying on the good ol' family business. Also he donated his lavish art collection, estimated at more than $30 million, to a Canadian museum.

Mr. Thomson was 82.

Now he's trying to shove his skinny CEO butt through the eye of a needle. Astride a camel.

Mr. Thomson bought the mid-sized, family-owned business I worked for. He accelerated production schedules, laid off full-time salaried workers in favor of "independent contractors" (no benefits), and cared far less about quality than quantity. The product now sold by the Thomson subsidiary I used to work for is a shadow of its former self, a cubic zircon demoted from a diamond. And every day the product grows shoddier and shoddier, its standards lowered and its "independent contractors," even the trained ones, unable to meet the ever-increasing demands while dealing with the ever-dwindling fees for service.

In the 1980s, several hundred people earned a good living proudly producing a quality product. Today a skeleton staff depends on outside producers to create an item so inferior it's embarrassing. International Thomson has squeezed at least one business for every last drop of blood.

Is my experience the exception to the rule? Oh, I think not. Thomson owns so many different kinds of companies, and chances are every one of them has been similarly milked dry in the pursuit of that $19.6 BILLION.

But Death comes to us all, right kind readers? A day may come when wealthy people like Ken Thomson can get their organs cloned and live to be 400, but it's not here yet. So, just like the poor, innocent Black guy strapped to a gurney for a lethal injection, or the poor little old lady who can't afford her heart pills, Ken's toast.

If he was a Christian, he'd better hope he got to the Pearly Gates as thin as a sewing thread. Because otherwise, all the ordinary little folks like me who've gotten downsized in "revised head counts" will show up on his Celestial Resume.

In fact, the bored gods tell me you can't buy your way into any pleasant afterlife, no matter how well-heeled you are. That went out with the Egyptians and has never returned.

Bon Voyage, Ken. Nice camel.



buddy don said...

i shore wish thisn wuz the eggcepshun, not the rule, but it seems to be the way of the worl innymore. i wurk on wall street n see or hear tell of this kinda thang most everday.

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Hecate said...


What on eart can you do with $19 billion dollars? What can you buy, have, enjoy that you couldn't buy, have, enjoy with, oh, say, a mere $10 billion or $5 billion or $1 billion? Where does it stop and when do you start helping others? Never, I guess.

Anne Johnson said...

To my gentle readers:

www.josshouse is a Spammer. I'm dispatching Quetzalcoatl to handle this one.

Raevyn said...

*sigh* yep... He gives us hard-working, peace loving (and goat loving! I promise) pagan-type Canucks a baaaaad name.

Interrobang said...

Hell, he gives us (debatably) hard-working, peace loving, atheist-type Canucks a bad name, too. I have had experience with another tentacle of the Thompson empire, I believe. I wouldn't rate them as nasty as, say, just about any large company whose name starts with "General," but okay.