Capital-centred thinking underscores the current anti-social direction. This retrograde thinking puts the ownership and control of social wealth and narrow private interests as most important. It makes the claims and fate of those who own and control social wealth as the priority and most important feature of production, not those who work and are the actual producers of value.
Human-centred thinking puts the human factor, those who work, the actual producers, and their control and claims on the social product they produce as the priority and most important quality of modern production. This thinking recognizes the human factor as the transformative and central condition for creating social wealth and its use-value from the bounty of Mother Nature, for making steel out of iron ore and coal. The claims of the human factor, the actual producers, on the social product they produce are not a cost or liability but the priority and aim of modern production. Without fulfilling this aim and extending it throughout society to all people, the modern economy lurches from crisis to crisis, both general and particular crises.
Those who own and control U.S. Steel and their political representatives in government are captive within the capital-centred thinking. They view the human factor as negative or worse, as something to exploit and throw away when old, sick, and injured or in real or imagined ways a bother to their narrow private interests. For those in control, everything associated with the human factor and its needs is a liability that disturbs their private interests: wages and benefits are a liability or cost; pensions and post-retirement benefits are a liability; even the Stelco pension plans, which contain hundreds of millions of dollars of social wealth are considered a liability; claims of governments on corporations on behalf of the people to invest in social programs and public services are said to be a liability. Can you imagine; U.S. Steel even refuses to pay municipal property taxes, knowing full well that much of that tax goes to public education, which is the bedrock of modern Canada. How anti-social is that!
This backward thinking leads them into one crisis after another. Instead of solving problems of how to harmonize production and consumption within the broader socialized economy through activating the human factor and scientific planning, they lash out in anarchy and violence wrecking production as U.S. Steel has done not only at Stelco but in the U.S. and Europe as well. Instead of meeting the claims of the human factor, the active and retired actual producers, they attack their claims, livelihoods and conditions of work, and by doing so, attack the very producers of social wealth and the conditions necessary for production to take place seamlessly and in harmony across the economy.
Everything that those who own and control U.S. Steel have done throughout North America and in Europe has worsened the crisis. At all times, they have sought desperately to assert monopoly right and further their narrow private interests in contradiction with the broad public interest and public right and the need of the economy for accommodation and harmony. As a self-serving concocted cause of the general crisis and the particular one the steel sector is in, they blame competitors for dumping steel; they blame low prices, which they declare are creatures of a marketplace beyond human control; they blame the downturn in the oil sector and its reduction in demand for steel tubing; they blame the human factor and its claims on the value it produces; they refuse to face the reality that their direction is wrong and outmoded. They have gone to the U.S. Congress to attack their competitors; they initiated the Carnegie Way to belittle and reduce the claims of the actual producers and pat themselves on the back for not only wrecking production but wrecking lives; they have shut down production throughout their empire and fired workers willy-nilly but nothing has worked because they are caught in the old capital-centred thinking and direction and refuse to acknowledge that the economy is social and demands pro-social solutions to resolve its problems.
Wages and benefits of active workers are not liabilities; they are claims on value the workers reproduce. Pensions and post-retirement benefits are not liabilities; they are reproduced by the human factor through work and by doing so the active generation guarantees the rights and well-being of the retired generation and also the new generation coming into being. The rights of each generation of workers fall within the general arrangement between workers and the social wealth they produce to guarantee the well-being of all members of society from birth to passing away. Workers are always available to work and in return expect as a right that the value they produce goes in part to guarantee the well-being of all including themselves throughout their lives.