Corporatespeak and the Corporate Economy

I’ve noted for a long time the difference between the corporate economy and consumer economy. When I go out to buy a loaf of bread, I pull a couple of bucks out of my pocket and take home something I can eat.

The corporate economy, on the other hand, is a huge balloon hovering over the consumer economy. In the corporate economy, a couple of bucks is a laughable expense. Run it up to $200 before anyone even takes note. Flying business class, staying in large downtown hotels, or even flying private corporate jets are all supported by that economy. Hire 10 people, move them around the building 10 times, and then let them all go. Those are barely noticeable expenses in the corporate economy.

Buy a house? Don’t be silly. Build a new corporate headquarters!

The corporate economy is at least couple of orders of magnitude inflated over the consumer economy. I may go into wrangle a 7% pay increase from my boss, but meanwhile the corporation is pulling in for my efforts tens or hundreds of times what they pay me.

When corporations do business, it’s with fairy-land amounts. A million here, a billion there. Valuations are purely made up, based on other valuations which are themselves made up.

Occasionally someone will ask the question, “How did you get that number?” and if the corporate spokesman hesitates, then the stock market crashes. So shareholders have learned to stop asking that question.

All this came back to me as I walked past a meeting room today and saw a bunch of suits inside doing a meeting. It struck me that the point of that meeting was probably to have a meeting. The commerce in that room was based on pure corporate-dress and corporate-speak, which is a fairy-land lingo by which corporate types elevate themselves, mutually, into the fairy-land corporate economy.

Even if I could speak that lingo and put on the appropriate monkey suit, I couldn’t bring myself to do that. Not to make a moral stand, but more a question of my identity. Which is too bad, because that is the fastest road to riches, sapping that huge corporate economy.

I know, what I’m saying is nothing new. That corporate lingo is not too different from older ones, like the lingo that the French aristocracy spoke leading up to the revolution.


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