Naomi Klein’s essay entitled Coopting Dissent revolves around the relationship of employers and their employees in the multinational corporations. She discusses how employers believe that their problem is limited to their capacity to communicate their brand to their consumers. She also points out that companies care less on their employees and focus on generation of profit through a cause.
Klein begins with her own experience as a worker for a company that introduced an easy job but later on transformed it and focused on profitability. Corporations adopt their causes to benefit their brands and later on use it for promotion.
The essay, as written by an activist, is critical in tone. It explains that the irony of the corporations’ pursuit for their adopted cause to increase their performance and profitability but behind the rebranding and promotion is the hurtful conditions of their employees. Klein describes the condition of the employers who act as neighborhood friends to customers as “underpaid, casual, and insecure.” They work very hard for the company’s growth.
She emphasizes that companies strive to increase their profitability and customer value through rebranding and adapting advocacies. Rebranding takes place to highlight their concern to their consumers. Klein mentioned that its impact to the underpaid and overworked workers can be considered as the downside of rebranding. Often, employees devote more time to the company that what they usually do. In that case, corporations are not good friends to employees.
In terms of relevance, Klein tackled an important issue that cuts across working class sector. She highlights the issue of inequality and inequity among the employees hidden behind the mantra of warmth and concern of many corporations. And because corporations are being subjected to scrutiny by the civil society, they rebrand to introduce a cause that would likely benefit the company in the end.
Klein’s underlying assumptions, on the other hand, mainly revolved around her experience in Esprit and connected it with the situation of employees based on her own judgments. Klein assumed in her essay that all companies gear towards profit and not for the advantage of their consumers. The messages of companies, according to Klein, are to promote their products and services through their advocacies, and to gain competitive advantage from their causes.
Klein has mainly sided with the employees as it criticizes the corporations’ use of rebranding and promotion to gain advantage. The use of mantra to appease the customers’ depicts the fact that corporations do not have concern on the welfare of their employees.
Behind the warmth and sweet nothings of the companies’ brands are casual, underpaid, and insecure workers. She debunks the idea of her former employer, the Esprit brand, that the corporations are “good friends” to employees as good friends share mutual benefit and do not exploit each other.
In terms of fallacies, Klein has not included the side of some corporations, which could have given light to issues rebranding, sending a message to the customers, and communication. There are no proposed actions and instead, the essay mainly points the responsibility to the corporations.