Why do you suppose companies provide severance? Out of the goodness of their hearts? I think not. They do it to get you to sign a general release saying that you won't sue the company. They do it because they are scared of you. Just ask any corporation's chief Human Resource counsel.
The interesting dichotomy is that the HR department in the same company would tell you that severance is a reward for being a long and loyal employee. Hey guys, it can't be both.
Let's go back to the whole human capital thing. Flesh or money? We know it's the money. So why can't HR departments shoot straight? They've lost the argument that they represent the human interest (flesh) side. Yet they have absolutely nothing to contribute to the dialogue. They pay lip service to displaced employees, yet don't do jack to provide a constructive alternative severance benefit package that would actually help displaced employees.