We have a society in which people routinely feel undervalued in what they do, condemned to a futile life making money for the few while their own dreams and aspirations wither away. We enrich ourselves and others most effectively when we are allowed and encouraged to grow in an environment designed to foster our own particular talents and individual foibles. Instead of which we are crammed into uniform boxes designed not for the needs of the individual, but the "greater good" of larger organisations, be they corporations or governments. Inevitably the interests of those organisations end up mapping largely to the interests of the few who direct them rather than the many that they employ or notionally "serve", whether as citizens or customers.
Unsurprisingly, this leaves most of us feeling pretty crappy about what we do, and worse, about ourselves. As a society, how do we respond? Well, as a capitalist society, we respond like this: we create think-tanks and bullshit consultancies to sit around stroking beards (and charging money) to work out how we can reinject positivity back into the system as an afterthought. We've optimised for all sorts of other variables, maybe we just need to tune things a bit better for Corporate Social Responsibility, Resilience, or Whatever The Next Pointless Buzzword is. Zizek would have a field day! The capitalist ideology is so completely integrated into our world that we're even using its language and methods to fight against it; by which we inevitably do no more than strengthen it! How can we not see the glaring, bitter irony of labelling as "emancipatory" the idea of selling people tools and systems to help them cope with a work environment that crushes them?
Elizabeth Cotton's approach is no doubt well-meaning - an attempt to minister to the ills of a mentally sick workforce. But appealing to our corporate or political masters to pay for some new benefit, some new healing to soothe the wounds inflicted by the daily debasement of our spirit, is deeply misguided. First of all, it is inevitable that the cost will all too soon be borne by those doing the demanding; that's the way markets work. As an employee you have a cost; and you have a benefit to the company. By and large companies won't do things they don't have to that increase cost unless they also increase output. When they apparently do so in the short term, you can bet it will ultimately be taken away elsewhere. You can legislate to try and set some minima but unless you regulate every detail of workers' compensation and treatment, market forces will eventually even things out again. You can make the state pay, but that's just socialising the emotional costs of our corporate culture onto the taxpayer, which is just as flawed unless you can ensure that the worst offenders pay tax in proportion to the damage they do (hint: you'll fail).
The second, and much more worrying thing about all this is that we are just legitimising the fundamental idiocy. Instead of learning "coping strategies" we should be working to rewrite the entire system so that it doesn't make us sick in the first place. Are our dreams so stunted that we can no longer even imagine a society in which most of us spend most of our time doing things that enrich our lives and those of people around us? Surely that's got to be better than wasting our lives making others rich in exchange for the money to pay for things that help us forget the horror of the bargain we've accepted?