Tuesday, February 19, 2008
In Endo, Leo (Jason Abalos) rants, “Ang pangit-pangit ng buhay!” and it is not entirely unbelievable. Why not, when the context in which he expresses his ire contributes to the way he sees life?
Leo is a contractually-employed laborer, hired on a short-term basis the temporariness of which denies him of the benefits of health insurance, paid leave, among others when he goes beyond the six-month cutoff time and enters the permanent phase of employment. This contractualization has created the catchphrase Leo and young people of the contemporary times use in reference to their five-month work’s final day: “endo” which is a contraction of “end of contract.” Even as contractualization is not legal, it has become an ordinary condition for young laborers so they are left with job insecurity, recurrent training, lack of deep-rooted work ethics and constant risk of being fired from their one or only source of family income. Rather than be jobless, some of these young adults take the short-term work and undergo the training that is required for the job. Before they get to master their craft and before they acquire a permanent status, off they are sent by their bosses.
Since the culture of contractualization has seeped into the life of Leo, having wheeled from one short-time job to another, his love life somewhat mirrors his employment’s ephemeral and uncertain condition. His love life aside, the stark reality of the constantly wandering roots that young contractual employers are makes for one of the most depressing issues in Marxist criticism. It is true that up to now, the working class continues to struggle for proper wages, excellent working conditions and job benefits but at the same time, the capitalists oppose just these in order to gain more of the surpluses for fear of slipping into the shoes of the proletariat class. The contractualization in companies is yet another exploitation of the working class by the capitalists, a case which ignores the corporate social responsibility that business owners should practice as a way of returning the favors the society gives to them by way of patronizing their goods and services. But wielding power in the form of the mode of production and the surpluses generated by its utilization by the proletariat has somewhat encouraged capitalists to create ways in which to preserve the status quo. Hence, the contemporary corporate world has this “endo” status and the entire culture of norms and terms that comes with it. As capitalists strip themselves of the humanity coming from the moderation from economic and social greed, they simultaneously and irreparably dehumanize their workers by making them work like machines, giving them lower wage than is legally required and, eventually, denying them the benefits of regularization by ending their contracts just before the deciding time.