Friday, July 14, 2006
What Do "Productivity" And "Profit" Really Mean To Us?
I recently saw an article in Tech Central Station from a sycophantic neocon by the name of Tim Worstall. This gentleman lives in Europe and claims to have CEOs as friends. He clearly sees himself as many cuts above the average American worker, whom he calls "Joe Six-Pack". From the vantage point of his exotic expatriate domain, he explains to us "stupid" folks back in the states how the American system really works. In an intellectually lazy and self-indulgently periphrastic article, he reprises Economics 101 by pointing out that job growth and the expansion of "profit" and "productivity" do not always go hand in hand. Well, duh... CEOs have been able to strip existing corporations of extraneous personnel through the magic of computers, the Internet and sundry other modes of automation. They keep the old companies chugging, doing the same things they've always done, but with much less overhead. "Productivity" soars, "profit" rises. Job growth does not occur. This is because the corporate changes have rendered more labor unnecessary, hence demand is flat, and wages do not rise. We freakin' got that, Einstein.
The fact that "productivity" and "profit" do not translate into more jobs is one of the cardinal features of The New Economy. That doesn't mean they should be. The vast profits accruing from the increase in productivity are going almost nowhere - other than into the pockets of the CEOs and the shareholders. Good for them. They're riding high on a historical anomaly. What generally happens - at least in an authentically expanding economy - is that profits are plowed back into new plants, new products and, inevitably, more jobs. Profits were not intended only to make a few people rich. They were intended to grow the business, which is the last thing that modern CEOs are doing. They are shrinking the business, reducing the corporations they oversee to mere husks of their former selves. Their profit is cannibalistic, not generative - the harbinger of corporate death, not growth.
Mr. Worstall clearly does not see this, reveling near-drunkenly in silly circular arguments. All such blithely cocky imbeciles should be quickly put to the sword. And our advice to you is this - the next time you hear Our Feckless Leader praise to the heavens our sterling new economy with its glorious "productivity" and "profit", remember that these phenomena occur at your expense, and will never hold anything in store for you.
"It's The Productivity, Stupid" from Tech Central Station