…you want to study…WHAT!?
From accounting violations to its use of the dangerous herbicide Roundup, a name for the dangerous carcinogenic agent glyphosate, to the embarrassment of CEO Hugh Grant and former CFO Carl Casale having to pay back about $3 million and $700,000 in bonuses, respectively, to its legal battles with farmers involving suits and countersuits, Monsanto is a nasty dying giant that according to many sources will not survive.
But they keep running “feel good” ads: “We work Together Here”…”We Dream Here”…”We grow ideas here”…”Count the Benefits”…”It’s Hard Work Raising 24 million jobs”…”Friendly Soil”…Talk to some of the farmers we know in the small Ohio town where my wife grew up and you’ll hear some not so friendly reactions to those ads that try to sell them on how they – farmers and Monsanto – can work together.
An ad campaign that extols the young man who switched from a career as an actor to a job as a botanist or the young ballerina who ditched out of the life of a ballet dancer and got a nice corporate job as an engineer is just deceitful advertising. Again, like Monsanto above and like so many large corporations, Wells Fargo has been immersed in countless legal troubles. The $16 billion in legal expenses that Wells Fargo has had over the past several years may cost them a lot more than just dollars.
There’s a connection between the two one-paragraph stories above: they’re both about corporate greed and deceitfulness at any cost – usually at the expense of the worker who produces their product – Monsanto’s pesticides – or performs their services – Wells Fargo’s banking, mortgage, investing, credit card, insurance, and financial services. Those services and products depend on us – the consumer – for their success and on the marketing departments to be sold. When there is a bad ad that causes a negative reaction, heads roll, apologies are made but the next day it is back to funny business as usual.
A very well-written article by Steven Pearlstein a Professor of Public Affairs at George Mason University (https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/09/02/meet-the-parents-who-wont-let-their-children-study-literature ) brilliantly debunks all the myths put forth by my generation (post-Depression Baby Boomers) about job security and why a liberal arts education is a road to nowhere (has anyone not heard Donald Trump go on about that in one of his recent ramblings?)
Mr. Pearlstein offers lots of facts and figures to substantiate his views on why a good liberal arts education is good for anyone in whatever career is their ultimate goal. As he states in very clear terms, one can find as many unemployed or under-employed lawyers and engineers as one will encounter free-lance actors, singers, dancers, writers, painters and directors who now work, now pound the pavement looking for their next gig.
One thing is certain: I have met in a fifty-year career in the arts many happily employed and unemployed artists of all disciplines. The secret is finding your path and doing what you love. Many of our parents and grandparents did not have that chance. Let’s not ruin things for the generation of college-bound young men and women who should have the opportunity to choose what they want to do with the rest of their lives.
Rafael de Acha