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Chapter 6
Alternate Economics

Turn! Turn! Turn! A Time To Work And A Time To Work More

by HAL MOUNTSAUERKRAUTEN, Alternate Reality News Service Court Writer

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the most important class action suit in American corporate history. The case has the prosaic name MultiNatCorp et al v. Aabrams et al, but it may more accurately be called Business v. Slacker.

According to research by the Hudson Institute, many Americans choose not to work to their fullest capacity. You’ve seen them: people with PhDs in molecular biology who prefer to drive a cab, MBAs who can’t hack the business world and drop out to work on farms, people with MAs in medieval Scandinavian scatological blank verse who…umm…well, maybe not so much them.

The Hudson Institute calls this “life time theft.” Their studies on the subject conclude that business is losing money because people aren’t working up to their full potential. One study by the Hudson Institute estimated that almost 27 million Americans are costing companies $362 billion annually.

And, corporate America wants that money back.

Alessandro Aabrams, the individual named in the suit, trained as an MD, but, in his second year of interning, ran away to Buffalo to work in a ham packing plant. The statement of claim states that his decision will cost the Blackbeard and Bluestocking HMO, a wholly owned subsidiary of MultiNatCorp, over $27 million over the course of his lifetime.

“What’s wrong with ham?” a stunned Aabrams, in an exclusive interview, told the Alternate Reality News. “People have to eat, don’t they?”

Using information from the last census, the Hudson Institute compiled a list of names of people who have, by its theory, stolen time (and, therefore, revenue) from corporate America. Aabrams was chosen to be named in the suit on the basis of the fundamental juridical principle of alphabetical order by last name.

Dozens of corporations vied to be named as the primary plaintiff. MultiNatCorp was chosen on the basis of the time-honoured juridical principle of eeny-meeny-miney-moe.

Janie Buzzkill, a legal expert I often use to pad my word count, pointed out that there was precedent for the lawsuit. “At the turn of the century,” Buzzkill explained, “right wing think tanks developed the theory of ‘time theft,’ the idea that employees who didn’t work to their fullest potential during office hours were stealing from their employers. As you can imagine, this theory was very popular with middle managers trying to justify their existence by squeezing more productivity out of the employees below them.”

Then, Buzzkill turned to her left and lowered her voice. “But, of course, this theory was never actually tested in a court of law,” she said, “so, it’s anybody’s guess whether this suit has any merit.”

The suit has ping ponged its way through lower courts. And, not the sedate ping pong of casual North American players, but the cutthroat Chinese ping pong that has left many legal scholars with a severe case of whiplash.

Without clear direction from lower courts, the case will be a difficult one for the Supreme Court. “On the one hand, the majority has shown a deference to corporate interests,” Buzzkill, who had donned a false moustache and trenchcoat and went by the name Rex Meateater to fool my editor into thinking I had more sources for this article than I actually did, stated.

“On the other hand, the Constitution really says nothing about life time theft,” Meateater continued. “Since they are rabid Constructionists – really, they drool over thoughts of the intentions of the Founding Fathers – somebody should get them bibs – you might expect the Court to find for the defendant.”

What about the minority on the Supreme Court? “Oh, they’re bound to oppose whatever the majority decides,” Meateater commented. “There hasn’t been a unanimous decision at this level since Berger was a gleam in his parents’ eye. Not that it matters – minority opinions are like ex-boyfriends: nobody pays any attention to them.”

Should the plaintiffs win their case, nobody is sure how they expect to be redressed. Some speculate that they would force citizens to work at jobs they were qualified for on the basis of the time-honoured juridical principle of “nobody gets what they want in life, so get over it and get on with it.” Others suspect that many corporations would be satisfied with a pound of flesh, since they could potentially use such rendered flesh to search for medical breakthroughs.

“I know that ham isn’t kosher,” Aabrams, not realizing that nobody in the mainstream media is really interested in the comments of a…meat packer, commented, “but is that any reason to sue me?”

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