United, we stand

Earlier this week, United Airlines made the type of mistake that could actually be the beginning of the end, not only for United, but also for capitalism in general. That is if (and only IF), the people recognize that THEY actually have the upper hand.

It pains me to say that United Airlines was in fact operating within their rights to remove a customer from a plane and compensate them for the trouble; the reality of them having this ability is really just another symptom of capitalism gone awry. Capitalism is a *game* and a quite slippery one at that. United set the rules for their portion of the game and they hold all of the winning cards; the only question is when they were going to use one.

A business sets the rules for the way they interact with the public (the customers) and if you don’t follow the rules, you lose! Why? It’s THEIR rules, that’s why. The rules are slanted in their favor because they wrote them in their favor. You want rules to be slanted in your favor? Then build your own corner of capitalism with your own rules and start pulling in  your own customers. That’s how “the game” works – you pull in customers, they give you money, and if you play the game better than the next guy, you win! That’s why it’s called “getting ahead”.


This is how capitalism keeps morphing itself, from one group of players (businesses) to another; always adapting, always staying one step ahead of the next guy. It’s a “dog-eat-dog world” because everyone is trying to get ahead of everyone else. And because of this, it encourages people to cut corners, fake information, bribe others, and generally do *ANYTHING* and everything possible to get ahead. This behavior is not a symptom of trouble, it’s an anticipated outcome of people interacting this way. And if you think I’m stretching the truth to fit this example, think again. This type of behavior happens all the time within “the game”. You can see it if you simply open your eyes and look around:

  • The taxpayer who “cuts a few corners” on their taxes, maybe claims a few extra deductions, just so they can get a few extra bucks back on their tax return
  • The politician who slides some extra “pork” into his pet-project bills, so that he and some of his favorite constituents can reap a tidy profit
  • The mechanic who sells the consumer some unneeded parts or service, because it’s easy money
  • The business or corporation that tells their employees about their banner sales figures as a way to boost employee morale, then refuses to give a reasonable raise to their employees because “the budget won’t allow it”
  • That same business or corporation that also raises employees medical premiums a given percentage (of net pay) which just happens to be the exact amount of their last pitiful wage increase (gross pay)
  • The doctor that prescribes a particular brand of medicine because the pharmaceutical company pays him for his loyalty
  • The special interest group that pays the (politician/doctor/businessman) because they know having some “pull” on their side can be quite profitable in the long run

It’s fraud, it’s conspiracy, it’s corruption, and it’s all designed into “the game” from the very beginning.

SO how to we change “the game”? How do we beat the players at their own game? How do we build a world that is fair & equitable for all inhabitants?

Change the things we value, thus changing what we desire and strive towards.

And that’s one reason why I endorse a Resource Based Economy.



About hemibill

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2 Responses to United, we stand

  1. hemibill says:

    Today I got this email from United Airlines (because I used to have one of their credit cards). What I find interesting is that they never suggest that they stop over-booking flights. Isn’t that the real root problem here and isn’t that the single easiest thing for United Airlines to fix??

    Dear Mr. XXXXX,

    Each flight you take with us represents an important promise we make to you, our customer. It’s not simply that we make sure you reach your destination safely and on time, but also that you will be treated with the highest level of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect.
    Earlier this month, we broke that trust when a passenger was forcibly removed from one of our planes. We can never say we are sorry enough for what occurred, but we also know meaningful actions will speak louder than words.
    For the past several weeks, we have been urgently working to answer two questions: How did this happen, and how can we do our best to ensure this never happens again?
    It happened because our corporate policies were placed ahead of our shared values. Our procedures got in the way of our employees doing what they know is right.
    Fixing that problem starts now with changing how we fly, serve and respect our customers. This is a turning point for all of us here at United – and as CEO, it’s my responsibility to make sure that we learn from this experience and redouble our efforts to put our customers at the center of everything we do.
    That’s why we announced that we will no longer ask law enforcement to remove customers from a flight and customers will not be required to give up their seat once on board – except in matters of safety or security.
    We also know that despite our best efforts, when things don’t go the way they should, we need to be there for you to make things right. There are several new ways we’re going to do just that.
    We will increase incentives for voluntary rebooking up to $10,000 and will be eliminating the red tape on permanently lost bags with a new “no-questions-asked” $1,500 reimbursement policy. We will also be rolling out a new app for our employees that will enable them to provide on-the-spot goodwill gestures in the form of miles, travel credit and other amenities when your experience with us misses the mark. You can learn more about these commitments and many other changes at hub.united.com.
    While these actions are important, I have found myself reflecting more broadly on the role we play and the responsibilities we have to you and the communities we serve.
    I believe we must go further in redefining what United’s corporate citizenship looks like in our society. You can and ought to expect more from us, and we intend to live up to those higher expectations in the way we embody social responsibility and civic leadership everywhere we operate. I hope you will see that pledge express itself in our actions going forward, of which these initial, though important, changes are merely a first step.
    Our goal should be nothing less than to make you truly proud to say, “I fly United.”
    Ultimately, the measure of our success is your satisfaction and the past several weeks have moved us to go further than ever before in elevating your experience with us. I know our 87,000 employees have taken this message to heart, and they are as energized as ever to fulfill our promise to serve you better with each flight and earn the trust you’ve given us.
    We are working harder than ever for the privilege to serve you and I know we will be stronger, better and the customer-focused airline you expect and deserve.
    With Great Gratitude,

    Oscar Munoz
    United Airlines

  2. John Van Etten says:

    You are right on Bill.

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