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From the Washington Post: For a long time in America, earnings and productivity went hand and hand: The more productive workers got, the more they made. That relationship appeared to break down starting in the early 1970s, as productivity increased but wages flat-lined.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturing in the U.S. peaked in 1979 when there were over 19.6 million manufacturing jobs --- but that has been on a downward trend ever since. And 1979 was also when the total number of union members had peaked out at over 22 million. And so it' no coincidence that today the labor force participation rate is also at the lowest since 1979.

As to wages since that time: James Sherk, a senior policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, contends total compensation, properly adjusted for inflation, has kept pace with properly-measured productivity (on average).

The real problem, he says, is that far too many workers are stuck in low-productivity jobs, particularly in the health-care sector; he argues policymakers should be focused on helping those workers gain more skills and move into more productive sectors — specifically, by looking for ways to reduce the cost and increase the accessibility of higher education. (The healthcare sector? What about retail and fast-food?)

While average wages have fallen by 7 percent over the last 40 years, Sherk calculates total compensation has risen 30 percent. By using his methodology for calculating worker's wages, Sherk finds there’s hardly a gap between the growth in what an average worker earns and the average productivity gains over the last 40 years.

What he does find persists is a gap between productivity and median worker compensation. Sherk blames this on market forces, including globalization and automation, pushing lower-skilled workers into low-productivity jobs. If those workers could more easily and cheaply gain more skills — say, through widely available, low-cost online education — they could compete for higher-productivity jobs.

American workers need to be more productive and acquire more skills? Is James Sherk at the Heritage Foundation implying that if 20 million Americans (who are either unemployed or can't find full-time work) were all healthy and robust 21-year-old athletes with a PhD in computer Science -- and they all had a IQs of 175 or higher -- and they were all ambitious --- that they would all be more productive, and therefore, they would all find good-paying middle-class jobs?

For Economic Wonks Only (This is far above my pay level, but if you know of any economists who can make sense of all this, please have them explain it to me. Thanks.)

Per Media Reports

This is per a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, via the Huffington Post: "The economic recovery just keeps getting worse for the average worker as U.S. employers squeezed their employees even harder than usual in the first quarter [of 20123], leading to the biggest drop in hourly pay on record." Worker productivity is up, corporate profits, CEO salaries, and the stock markets are all at record highs --- but workers haven't been reaping the same rewards that their employers have been. Average Americans today are making less, after inflation, than they made in the early 1970s. Something has gone fundamentally wrong. American workplaces are simply no longer working for those who punch timecards. Last year Walmart's CEO Mike Duke made 796 times the average worker's pay and Target's CEO made 645 times the average worker's salary. The rate of CEO pay has far outstripped wage growth for the country's rank and file. A recent report from the AFL-CIO found that CEO pay grew at a rate 127 times faster than worker pay over the last 30 years.

Also Related to Workers

Originally posted to Bud Meyers on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 07:38 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Easy (31+ / 0-)

    Lay off the janitors and stick a broom up the remaining workers' asses.  They can sweep the floor while they work.  Instant increase in productivity.

    •  Refuting the Heritage foundation (8+ / 0-)

      in one graph.

      I have some sympathy with some of his analysis: I DO think that globalization is destroying middle income jobs.  But that would not explain why capital is getting so much more of labor's value add then before.

       photo fredgraph1_zps759f7c9f.png

      •  Globalization is not the main culprit (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bleeding blue, FloridaSNMOM

        technology is.

        •  Oh yeah, how about a link (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          How Technology Is Destroying Jobs from (ironically enough) the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

          (so if they're going to dis themselves, you know they're probably not doing so lightly or frivolously)

          •  Greed is not the main culprit (3+ / 0-)

            Capitalism is

            Greed is an individual moral failing

            Capitalism is the elevation of that moral failing into a whole system of exploitation

            •  So then you agree that the root problem is greed. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              radarlady, rbird

              It's just that Capitalism institutionalized it.  And frankly, it's not Capitalism that's the problem per se, it's the crazy, exclusionary greed of those who have all the capital.  At least capitalists like Henry Ford understood that if you paid the workers more, you'll have a happier work force, and you'll sell some of your product to them.  In fact, up to the 70s or so, capitalists weren't as rapacious as they are now.  CEO pay was about 40x what a worker made; now it's an order of magnitude more.

            •  Not capitalism, really (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It's the parasitic rent seeking that's rampant in this country. Those at the top are no longer capitalists, but rentiers.

              First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

              by Hannibal on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 07:13:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It is neither. Inflation-adjusted-per-capita GDP (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happy camper, radarlady, rbird, TexasTom

          has never been higher.  We can't find jobs because we don't need the work.  People are just afraid to demand their share.  Increasing 'productivity' won't do a damn thing, in fact it would probably just enable more layoffs.

          To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

          by ban48 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 02:13:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And PS - There is already $32T in off-shore (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dirtandiron, radarlady, rbird

            accounts.  Does it really need to go to $33T or $35T or $50T?

            To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

            by ban48 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 02:51:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Those numbers are very misleading (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            because of the skew in those numbers to the very wealthy.

            Heck, Bill Gates alone probably adds $5K per capita to the GDP of the Seattle area even if everybody else's has gone DOWN by $5K.

            •  If the economy has never been bigger, and (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              radarlady, godlessmath

              employment sucks, how does making the economy bigger help...???  It won't, especially if all you do is make another wall-street tycoon.  And, if you focus not on making wall-street tycoons, you could solve a big chunk of this mess without expanding the size of the economy.

              The problem with the US economy is we are like a person who tracks down the theif that stole from us, busts into their layer, looks around and sees all of his loot, and goes "Whoa, you have alot of money!  Can I have a job?"

              We spend $800B on TARP plus looked the other way with a wink-wink-nod-nod as the fed lent the bank some $14T in back-door loans, then we grovel before Wall Street asking for help creating "jobs".  (And we even nominated one of their representatives for president!)

              We shouldn't be asking them for squat.  After all that, we should each have a pet bankers, someone we can tie to the roof of the car and smack with a newspaper when he craps on the roof!

              To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

              by ban48 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 08:07:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

          "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

          by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:16:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  OK, that was a very persuasive (0+ / 0-)


            Or at least an honest one (considering that there is no evidence and you provided none - at least you're not just making shit up!!)

            •  . (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Laconic Lib, radarlady

              ... the number of jobs outsourced over the past 20 years and the trade deficits tell the whole story for those who care about the truth ...

              US trade deficit with China widens to $45 billion in May


              History of trade deficit with China since 1985:


              2012 deficit with China was a historic record.  They don't mention that it was the largest trade deficit with a single foreign nation in the history of the world:


              Our entire nations' trade deficit with the rest of the world in 1978 was around $30 billion but my Dad told me about that and he was very concerned.  He was just a federal trade representative for the federal department of commerce in Chicago.

              I guess these guys just made this shit up and has no bearing whatsoever on what is going on in this country regarding jobs and wages.

              Labor participation rate was the lowest since 1979 according Business Insider:


              Gee.  I wonder why.

              I won't persuade you if you already made your mind up what the truth is... but neither will anyone else if you are afflicted with mind lock.  Its just math and facts, not an opinion. Try arguing with some republicans, they suffer from the same affliction if none of this demonstrates something is wrong with trade policy in this country and causing serious problems.

              "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

              by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 05:16:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The problem with all that is (0+ / 0-)

                that over the past decade US manufacturing has grown by about 20% but employment has fallen by about 1/3rd (or more).

                Roughly US manufacturing supported about 18,000,000 million jobs and had a dollar value of about $1.8 trillion in year 2000.

                A decade later the value had risen to about $2.3 trillion so there should have been about 23,000,000 jobs if the jobs tracked value.

                Instead there were half the many jobs.  


                Anyways, why were there only half as many domestic jobs as expected based on the value of manufacturing?  

                As the MIT link I gave (as though one can't figure this out on their own) - it's due to automation, technology, etc.  (Well duh!!)

                •  believe (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  what you want Roadbed Guy.  I've worked in engineering for a long, long time and the most automation that displaced workers the most was in automotive workers and that happened quite awhile ago (80's).

                  US manufacturing has grown by ~20% but workers have been displaced by massive amounts .... when they write shit that doesn't make sense Roadbed Guy you have to think why.  

                  article: The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001:


                  I didn't realize how much bullshit is published till I got laid off in 2002 and couldn't find a job anywhere in the country for 18 months in my profession ... all the while the media is blathering on and on about American workers don't have enough skills for the jobs available. (all bullshit, I knew tons of engineers and programmers in my same boat back then and since). I moved across the country in vain till, thru nepotism, found a good job.  My resume' reads like egyptian hieroglyphics in science, engineering and computer programming having done advanced research in atmospheric studies (literally rocket science working on rocket systems and instrumentation) and technology development in display systems funded by the department of advanced research projects agency (DARPA) among a multitude of other things in small, medium and four of the largest companies in the country.

                  Yeah... manufacturing has grown alright I guess.  I've worked 3500 hours in 2010 and 2011 (each), probably a mere 3000 hours in 2012.  I currently do what used to be two engineers job... web development and maintenance and flight test.

                  I am responsible for those numbers being out of whack  (like lots of engineers and many other types of workers) but that is what is being demanded of me and them.

                  I have tried to educate people about trade and why balanced trade is good for America but I have to compete with a media that virtually always says the opposite.  They may 'win' the 'argument' but the truth is in the numbers and the numbers are ugly.  In human terms, it is or can be devastating (walmart here I come if they'll have me)... perhaps not to you ... yet.

                  "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

                  by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 06:58:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Again, not at all (0+ / 0-)
                    and the most automation that displaced workers the most was in automotive workers and that happened quite awhile ago (80's).
                    As this article points out, loss of jobs due to automation is continuing to occur in the auto sector

                    And sure, I admit that the auto sector and manufacturing was ahead of the game in loss of jobs to automation, but since this diary is not limited to manufacturing, it is fair to consider that similar automation is now (and recently) spread to virtually all sectors of the economy, with loss of jobs.

                    For example, self-checkout at the supermarket replaces 4 jobs with one.  There are kiosks at McDonalds to rent a movie, putting Blockbuster and their employees in dire peril.  MOOCs are rendering university professors obsolete. etc. etc.

                    I am not against the idea that balance trade is a good idea, but it is not that relevant to the current high unemployment rate in the US.

                    •  . (0+ / 0-)

                      manufacturing has always been the bedrock of a sound economy.   The 'service based economy' model has no long term viability in all of history ... nothing has changed this.

                      40 stats about the US economy:

                      A strong manufacturing sector (we've lost 32% since 2000) supports the service based jobs.  I am not going to be able to persuade you about anything obviously and you are simply a waste of my time.  The facts are out there and nothing has improved in manufacturing sector and therefore the economy swirls around in the globalization toilet while people who refuse to to take the time and effort to understand why manufacturing is the most important element in a sound economy and balanced trade is critical to it scratch their heads about why there is so much unemployment and the quality of the jobs are so poor.  Scratch away till there is bald spot

                      "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

                      by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 10:54:23 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  . (0+ / 0-)

                        For 20 years 98% of all MSM 'reporting' has been pro-globalization and pro- service based economy with no countering with pro balanced trade and regulation of it (Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution calls for it).  You are a victim of brainwashing like so many in this country.

                        "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

                        by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 11:21:11 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

      •  To explain this further (8+ / 0-)

        think of the following example:

        A worker creates $10 in revenue an hour.  It used to be they might get $7.50 of that, now they are getting $7.00.  The difference is increasing.

        The mix of low and high wage jobs shouldn't matter if Heritage is right.

        But they aren't.

    •  You should use a different character for the (6+ / 0-)

      worker. This actor is an uber conservative Republican. Too bad though, he has a great program showing how some working people bust their ass in harsh conditions just to make ends meet.
      Maybe these so called "labor laws" in Amerika need to be relaxed so we can have our Children work 17 hour days in a wobbly factory building so we can be "more productive"
      What's so productive about the 'Heritic' foundation anyway ??

      •  That's what's ironic about Mike Rowe. (3+ / 0-)

        He gets paid 400 times as much to pretend to do the jobs of real working people but has absolutely no understanding of or sympathy for those who actually do dirty jobs at crappy pay for years on end.

        A waist is a terrible thing to mind.

        by edg on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 12:05:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's just freakin' wierd. (0+ / 0-)

        Getting "down and dirty" is simply not a conservative Republican trait, even if he gets paid an insane amount to do so, he's STILL getting down and dirty with the commoners.

        I suspect part of it is because most of the workers he works with are also uber-conservative Republicans.

      •  Dang, (0+ / 0-)


        I thought he was kind of attractive.

        Yeah, all the good ones:  married, gay, right wing.  The odds are stacked against me.


        He was on Bill Maher the other day promoting the cause of valuing skilled trades.

        Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

        by delphine on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 08:02:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Explain CEO pay??? (1+ / 0-)

      "For a long time in America, earnings and productivity went hand and hand: The more productive workers got, the more they made"

      Unless their job is to run American industrial power into the ground. That should be classified as treason. Not proof that one is qualified to be President.

    •  There is another way to think of productivity (0+ / 0-)

      than efficiency in returning profit to an owner.

      I take the Heritage Foundations perspective as being focused on whats good for business, more sales, better returns on investment, the elimination of competition.

      The idea is that given the development of raw materials supply chains, energy costs, tool ups and infrastructure are more or less established, labor costs and government regulations for environmental and worker safety, taxes for infrastructure, education, healthcare, social security are really whats making it hard for them to compete with unregulated, untaxed slave labor from India and China.

      The choice as they see it is either to move manufacturing to where the cheap slave labor is and take advantage of the low taxes, non existent regulations, and the race for the bottom generally, or invest the money to build new more efficient operations the way Europe has and turn workers into people with choices about the quality of their lives.

      Obviously the manager class has been screaming for austerity so that they can have a larger share of the surplus profits and waste less on the means of production, but strangely enough are beginning to learn that better educated, safer, more contented workers give sweeter milk, which sells better, increasing profits faster than just skimming the cream off the top.

      The Heritage Foundation is just a few decades behind the times and sort of analog where the competition has all gone digital.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 06:18:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't you know those (27+ / 0-)

    workers working multiple minuimum wage jobs are least according to my crazy uncle who only watches Fox news.  Most of them have cell phones they must be doing well.

  •  I forgot to add... (12+ / 0-)

    REPORT: 1/3 of U.S. Jobs Prone to Offshoring

    Dancing with Robots: Technology Skills of the Future

    If people won't go protest in the streets, then they'll end up sleeping on them instead.

    by Bud Meyers on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 07:56:22 AM PDT

  •  Well, productivity improvements from technology... (7+ / 0-) do not require increasing worker productivity. On the contrary, many IT investments are financially justified based on reductions in staff as well as reductions in the skills required for remaining staff load which equals lower wage requirements. That's how the term "productivity" is interpreted in a corporate sense - maintain or improve the quality, maintain or improve the profit, and reduce the cost - it's the only perspective that "cares" about productivity and gives it value. How does that influence your article?


    •  Cutting Wages will Create Jobs? (13+ / 0-)

      "Gary Becker and others have called for a cut in the minimum wage as part of the solution to the unemployment problem. This group believes that if markets are free to adjust, then they will clear, so any problem with involuntary unemployment must be due to some impediment to full market adjustment. What is the impediment? Becker and others assert that the failure of wages to fall sufficiently fast in recessions is due in part to the presence of the minimum wage, and the wage stickiness creates an excess supply of labor (and hence, unemployment). "

      If people won't go protest in the streets, then they'll end up sleeping on them instead.

      by Bud Meyers on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 08:11:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Whether productivity gains ... (8+ / 0-)

      ... are the same workers making more stuff at higher wages so they can buy the extra stuff ...

      ... or fewer workers making the same amount of stuff at the same wages so the gains flow to the company shareholders ...

      ... comes down to whether we generate the demand to motivate the companies to increase production and compete for workers.

      For the past three decades plus, the strategy has been to depress demand to keep labor markets slack to keep wage growth slow so that productivity gains flow to the company owners.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 10:04:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whose strategy? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, Rogneid, Farugia
        the strategy has been to depress demand to keep labor markets slack to keep wage growth slow so that productivity gains flow to the company owners.
        I agree that demand has been slack but not by strategy and that owners have profited more but not the same owners as those who are impacted by low demand.

        There are no economic strategies in place on a national level.

        There is no strategy or even merely a national gov't presence influencing business policies the lower and medium range of business, none at the now huge multinational level, and large US corporations may even be juggling artifacts from a noncomprehensive set of out of date industrial era policies.  

        No one is in control like in the EU or China, such as they are. Even business entities like the Business Roundtable or Chamber of Commerce are not in control and do not have strategies but do their own juggling of disparate requests.

        There is no "They", the President is not in any way exerting influence, he has no strategy, Congress has is AWOL. The ship's overrun by the pirates and it's every man for himself.  

        •  The Federal Reserves' strategy ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kck, happy camper

          ... and the neoliberal economic policy stance.

          As far as "there is no strategy or even a national gov't presence influencing busines spolicies the lower and medium range of business" ...

          ... of course there is ~ financial deregulation, reduction in upper tier effective income tax rates, abandonment of industrial investment policy, "fight inflation first", ongoing reductions in government spending as a share of GDP and international corporate wealth capture agreements (branded as "trade agreements" since that sounds nicer) all combine to form a policy stance leaning toward maintaining unemployment far above full employment levels.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 11:37:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with most of that. (0+ / 0-)

            I do not believe the Fed has a strategy for the whole economy or desires to keep unemployment low. It has a money policy. Very limited scope.

            As for the rest, I call it an ideology. A strategy has a sustainability component that spans the desired life of the entity. I've seen no evidence of a neoliberal or Republican interest in increasing unemployment, reducing the middle class or limiting growth, expansion, or prosperity. They have no goals to improve those factors but they formed their ideology in the presence of a functional Democratic Party and opposing pressures now nonexistent.

            They've succeeded beyond their original goals ruining the economy even for the average voters who bought into that crap.

            •  You seem to be arguing that ... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kck, radarlady

              ... a policy stance cannot have an effect unless some of the actors that carry the policy stance out have that effect as part of their deliberate objectives.

              That is a secondary issue. Whether or not the Federal Reserve intends that result, their policy stance since the 1980's have had that result. Whether the union busting since the 1980's was intended to increase income inequality, it did so. Whether the so-called "free trade" policies was intended to help maintain stagnant wages and debt-led GDP growth, they have that effect.

              We saw a Great Compression of income inequality in the latter half of the 1930's through WWII, and maintained that through maintenance of the post-WWII Fordist economic policy regime, and then since the 1980's we reversed that.

              In the context of a Fordist policy regime, productivity growth leads to income growth which leads to demand growth which provides demand for the product. In the context of a neoliberal policy regime, productivity growth leads to profit growth which leads to increased economic power of the already wealthy and, given that a large part of the income of the wealthiest is devoted to maintaining and expanding their wealth, does not necessarily lead to the increase in demand required to soak up the expanded productivity of going concerns.

              Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

              by BruceMcF on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 02:48:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Whoo-wee, can you say, "Clueless"? (5+ / 0-)

    "Out-of-touch," maybe?

    Is it ever painful and infuriating to hear victims blamed.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 08:05:40 AM PDT

  •  Vert important diary, thanks. (13+ / 0-)

    American workers are very productive AND beset with stagnant wages.

    American businesses are continuously competing for more profits through innovation, increases in productivity, increasing customers (e.g., workers with more money to spend), etc.

    Having an economic policy means allowing for BOTH.

    The country (e.g., gov't, a unified labor vision, ???) needs a comprehensive strategy for wages and jobs in this economy.

    Industrial era views of productivity are anachronistic and need to be called out. Productivity is a valuable factor, does influence jobs and wages, but only if savings are offset by innovations and expansion in other areas. The total number of jobs is far more relevant to a comprehensive economic strategy with an objective to expand prosperity.

  •  See? Of *course* it's the workers' fault (13+ / 0-)

    If you want to make more money, work more. If you want to make more money get a better job.

    I make 300x more than you do because I'm the CEO and you're not. You just need to stop whining and become a CEO.

    There, now. Don't you feel better?  


    (d@mn narcissist sociopaths...)

    "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." James Madison, Federalist #51

    by history first on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 08:21:42 AM PDT

    •  Macro v. individual (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, happy camper

      When speaking to a "you" then of course this is true.

      If you want to make more money, work more. If you want to make more money get a better job.
      What other choices do individuals have? This is always the set of options we have as individuals.

      For businesses that want a thriving economy with customers and growth and for cities, states, and national strategies that theoretically plan for all of the population, it's BS.

      •  We the people know that (5+ / 0-)

        An economic system is a cycle, a process. It needs energy from consumers and producers in order to sustain itself. The Kochs, Waltons, Art Pope and others may see some other outcome but I only see a zero-sum game. It's madness.

        "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." James Madison, Federalist #51

        by history first on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 10:22:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some basic assumptions there (9+ / 0-)

        For instance, working more does not necessarily equal more money.

        Not everyone can get a better job, for various reasons. Perhaps they don't have the cognitive abilities, or the physical abilities, to do a better job.

        Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

        by splashy on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 10:47:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree 100% (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, history first, radarlady

          That's why we're in the mo0numental jam we're in and why we know that in the best of circumstances it will continue for decades since even if we had a powerful and kowledgeable leader it takes time to change.

          The world has changed around us and the US economy and business class have adapted. But no one in our country is actually in charge of the economy like, say, in China. No strategies have been made much less implemented to create the volume of jobs Americans need and, a different issues, no strategies have even been discussed to guarantee a continuing pool of jobs for Americans of all abilities and locations.

          There are plenty of solutions. Always have been. But no one is ready, willing, able, or positioned to implement anything.    

          Except Governors, perhaps. State legislatures and Governors have extraordinary powers and are much more easily and more often influenced by voters. And "people power" has some of the abilities...

        •  not even that--the corporatist don't want workers (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laconic Lib, splashy, radarlady

          to make more. It is the ultimate lie: business don't want workers to earn more. So they do things like game the system to get incentives to go overseas to pay workers pennies, busting unions, undermining the minimum wage and all of the 19th century Progressive reforms.
          And let's not forget playing states against one another which lowers wages even more (like Rick Perry trying to poach businesses in other states--I love Lewis Black)

          "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." James Madison, Federalist #51

          by history first on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 11:44:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Productivity is high because of machines (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kck, Roadbed Guy

    Takes a lot of skill to make a pair of shoes by hand.

    Takes a lot less skill to push the button on the side of the machine that makes 1000 pairs of shoes, and at higher quality than hand-made.

    Productivity and quality is higher. Salary is lower, no surprise.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 09:16:44 AM PDT

    •  Which leads us to looking at the concentration... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, elwior, Cassandra Waites

      ...of profits in less hands and their decisions to reinvest those profits internationally. Te money is not sitting idle. The fruits of US productivity have gone global. We need a national economic defense strategy that provides jobs regulation and taxes that are tuned to produce prosperity here in this globalized economy.  

      •  kck, "the money is not sitting idle?" Really? Last (5+ / 0-)

        I read, there's trillions just parked in "offshore accounts." But maybe this and the other sources that report the same, and the IRS's puny efforts to account for it and tax it appropriately, and enforce the weak little laws that the bankster lobbies have let stand or that somehow slipped into the US Code:

        That money sure looks to be doing nothing but "sitting idle." It's not being used to build "infrastructure," or to fund the necessary switch to alternate energy, or to feed people, or encourage land conservation, or educate people, or deal with some pretty scary global health issues -- it is being used, a pretty small bit of it but enough to really stink, to build opulence and satisfaction of every whim and demand for ever-more-delightful pleasuring of the very few, and bribery to protect their status and privilege and lifestyle.

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 09:56:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hence... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, mozartssister, Laconic Lib

          the stratospheric prices of luxury items. It justifies earning... no stealing so much money out of workers pockets. Cars and jewelry more expensive than my house.  The latest : gourmet/Michelin rated travel around the world at 275000 dollars.

          Un pour tous et tous pour un aka United we stand

          by livebyChocolate on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 10:51:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  See, this is why (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laconic Lib

            I think Jonathan Haidt is DEAD wrong when he says conservatives feel more disgust that liberals.  

            That sort of thing DISGUSTS me to the core.  Assholes spending 100K at the snap of a finger on god knows what useless crap to feed their insatiable sense of entitlement while other people literally go hungry.  

            Of course, conservatives define morality in terms of sexuality (as in: the more constrained, the better).  Money is proof of virtue (as in: the less constrained, the better).

            Whereas I believe what you do with your money is where the virtue lies--and that there should be "reasonable" limits on amassing resources that other people suffer and die for basic lack of, frankly.  As the saying goes: if I own the only pig in a starving village, am I morally allowed to throw it off the cliff?  

            And while we're at it, asshole, stay the hell out of my bedroom.  

            "If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life." — Albert Schweitzer

            by mozartssister on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 01:52:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •   Nothing is "parked" really. (0+ / 0-)

          From the taxpayer's prespective "parked" may be accurate but being in offshore accounts means invested in offshore liquid assets that ironically may even cycle through foreign investors to the US. Money doesn't sit in a safe. The notion of "parked" means that its in various instruments that as long as interest rates are kept this low are under pressure to move those funds into actual capital investments or take them as taxable profits. But they're not sitting idle. Ironically, the concentration of wealth, archaic US tax laws, lack of regulatory oversight, and incestuous interlocking multinationals controlling the funds actually allow these "foreign" funds to profit from US bonds and the US economy anyway. The US gov't can change the financial and  economic factors that favor the placement of those funds at any time.  

          •  ...but the PEOPLE that make up the US gov't won't (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            do any such thing, I guess. It's individuals acting collectively against the interests of the most of us, each little bit of regulatory capture and scam adding up to cutting off the feeding of children and those transvaginal wand things being mandated...

            In the meantime, stuff that would really help, like a unified national health program, ain't gonna happen either.

            And it's interesting how there are so many kinds of "money." My bi-weekly direct deposit paycheck dollars are a whole hell of a lot different from the annual take of a CEO guy or gal, and from Treasuries (and Special Treasuries, of interest to us Social Security "takers,") and a whole lot different from the notional-value counterfeit "dollars" that are supposedly represented in the "value" of derivative transactions that I bet neither one of us could begin to understand.

            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

            by jm214 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 02:00:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed, the more productive workers become (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the more downward pressure there will be on wages (since, as you say, the gain in productivity results from automation - not from working harder as the diary seems to imply).

      It seems like many economists are still working on the decades ago disproved notion that the profits involved in automation trickle down to the workers . . .

    •  Spar, where do you get the notion that machine-mad (9+ / 0-)

      e shoes are "higher quality" than hand-made? Do your Wall Streeters, your John Galts, wear the "machine-made" shoes of "all man-made materials" spat out of machines in Vietnam and Malaysia and the People's Republic? Because they are of "higher quality?" Your premise is grossly incorrect and misleading. Along with that "libertarian" notion in your last sentence.

      But keep spitting those "machine-made" notions out of your Upintheair assembly line. Keep pushing that button that gives you a food pellet for each so many presses...

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 09:46:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Should that person pushing the button (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, MKinTN, Laconic Lib

      Make a living wage?

      If someone has to be there to tend things, they should be paid enough to survive without having to depend on other taxpayers to bring their wages up to snuff. The corporation that is paying too little is asking taxpayers to subsidize the wages they are paying, thereby stealing from taxpayers.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 10:49:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think it's theft at all (0+ / 0-)

        The alternative is that person being dependent on taxpayers 100%. Any amount they get is better than other people fronting all of it.

        Overpopulation is a big part of the problem: hard to command high wages when there are thousands of equally qualified people willing to do it cheaper.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 01:03:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But you need techs to fix the machine. (0+ / 0-)

      Or to optimize its functions or sometimes to build one. We need engineers to design and test them. We need an investment in higher paying, higher skilled jobs to compete. We may not compete on basic labor, but technology creates greater efficiency so long as you can maintain and improve it.

      But we still need food servers and such which, without tips, still need a financial floor for a healthy economy to exist. They need to earn enough to pay taxes, to afford the basics and still a bit more. A living wage standard should be built into an economy. High taxation from the wealthiest should provide for inexpensive lifetime education for their benefit and ours.

  •  So the path to prosperity in America (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is just not to have fast food workers?

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 09:45:37 AM PDT

  •  His productivity-v-comp'n graph is misleading (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA, shaharazade, elwior

    Chart-1 in Sherk's report shows total compensation roughly keeping up with productivity starting in 1973.  But folks have been critical of wage stagnation since 2000 or so.  If we just look at that portion of the graph (2000-present4)...

    Productivity:  5.03 -> 5.31
    Wages/Comp: 5.01 -> 5.18

    So, productivity has been increasing at about twice the rate of wages in that time.

    Don't be a DON'T-DO... Be a DO-DO!

    by godwhataklutz on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 09:52:29 AM PDT

  •  Productity is a sham. (11+ / 0-)

    As the author of this diary points out, wages stopped being connected to productivity long ago.  So as productivity has shot up over the decades, CEOs and higher ups have taken the profits for themselves.  IN other words, workers are working harder and the rich are taking all the profits from that harder work and getting richer.

    Meanwhile, like most economic measurements, productivity is suspect.  Productivity is basically how many workers that company employs and how much they sell/produce.  But if a company can outsource workers, because those workers are often contracted through a totally different company/third party, that means productivity suddenly shoots up because the produce the same stuff but they have fewer workers.  

    Poof!  Magic.  Employees disappear but the company is still selling the same amount of stuff.  The fact somebody somewhere must be making it doesn't count.

    And as mentioned, if productivity is what is so important, how do CEOs justify their own massively skyrocketing pay increase.  Has their productivity been increasing to match those pay increases?  No?  So why the double standard?  Oh, right...because its the Heritage Foundation.  

  •  I see unproductive workers! (13+ / 0-)

    They have titles like CEO and Chairman of Board. They sit around, counting their billions, while making about $200 a minute.

    Let's outsource THEIR jobs to Singapore, or somewhere.

  •  Sometimes I wonder (12+ / 0-)

    if the good old Protestant work ethic hasn't done us a disservice.

    We have unemployed people feeling guilty to the point of suicide; and then we have others blaming people like him, calling him a lazy moocher who doesn't deserve a break.

    Work, work, work; and then work harder. If you don't succeed (whatever that means) then you didn't work hard enough.

    Even if you've ruined your health in the process, it just wasn't enough, and it's your fault.

    WORK as in the 4-letter word.

  •  Well Jim DeMint (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, elwior, Praxical, Laconic Lib

    ...better start upping his productivity.  He's got to multiply his productivity sixty-six-fold if he's gonna match the minimum-wage worker.  Because he not doing much of anything for his money right now.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 10:30:34 AM PDT

  •  The thing is (5+ / 0-)

    productivity is not about producing more per hour but how much what you produce is worth, hence certain sectors of the economy's high productivity. BS must be worth a lot; it explains the CEOs high salaries.

    Un pour tous et tous pour un aka United we stand

    by livebyChocolate on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 10:58:28 AM PDT

  •  Slavery is the highest form of capitalism. (6+ / 0-)

    The corporate pigs that lord over the globe will not be satisfied until chattel slavery is restored over the globe or until all human workers are replaced with robots.

    Don't believe it?

    How US prison labour pads corporate profits at taxpayers' expense

    Thanks to rightwing lobbying, companies can use a loophole to exploit a scheme designed to give offenders work experience
    In 1979, Congress created the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program (known as PIE; pdf) to establish employment opportunities for inmates "that approximate private sector work opportunities". On the surface, the program is a great idea. It gives prisoners something to do, allows them to contribute to their own upkeep and, hopefully, gives them a better shot of getting an actual living wage job upon release. Such was the intention, anyway.

    Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, this is not how the PIE program has worked out. Instead, it has become little more than a tidy profit-making scheme for corporations and other entities willing to exploit the captive labor force – often at the expense of private sector jobs.

    The worst abuses of the PIE program occur in the agricultural sector, particularly in states where draconian immigration laws have led to labor shortages that have left crops rotting in fields. Rather than have to pay real-world wages, farmers turned to lawmakers to help, who, in turn, were only too happy to offer up their prisoners as a cheap alternative. In Arizona, for instance, a state law requires that all able-bodied inmates must work. Prisoners who do jobs within the institution can expect to be paid between 10 cents and 50 cents an hour, but those lucky enough to get a job working for one of Arizona's Department of Corrections (ADC)'s private partners can expect to be paid a whopping fee of "more than 50 cents an hour"......

    "Is this testing whether I'm a replicant, or a lesbian, Mr Deckard?"
  •  Orwell showed how hard work (6+ / 0-)

    is repaid in Animal Farm. I made the following as short as I could, but do check out the bit at the end where the pigs use their betrayal of Boxer as propaganda.

    Boxer was the admiration of everybody. He had been a hard worker even in Jones's time, but now he seemed more like three horses than one; there were days when the entire work of the farm seemed to rest on his mighty shoulders. From morning to night he was pushing and pulling, always at the spot where the work was hardest. He had made an arrangement with one of the cockerels to call him in the mornings half an hour earlier than anyone else, and would put in some volunteer labour at whatever seemed to be most needed, before the regular day's work began. His answer to every problem, every setback, was ‘I will work harder!’ — which he had adopted as his personal motto. . . .

     . . . [I]f the holding of debates on Sunday mornings was liable to bring [Farmer Jones] back, then the debates must stop. Boxer, who had now had time to think things over, voiced the general feeling by saying: ‘If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right.’ And from then on he adopted the maxim, ‘Napoleon is always right,’ in addition to his private motto of ‘I will work harder.’

    . . .. Boxer worked harder than ever. Indeed, all the animals worked like slaves that year. Apart from the regular work of the farm, and the rebuilding of the windmill, there was the schoolhouse for the young pigs, which was started in March. Sometimes the long hours on insufficient food were hard to bear, but Boxer never faltered. In nothing that he said or did was there any sign that his strength was not what it had been. It was only his appearance that was a little altered; his hide was less shiny than it had used to be, and his great haunches seemed to have shrunken. The others said, ‘Boxer will pick up when the spring grass comes on’; but the spring came and Boxer grew no fatter. Sometimes on the slope leading to the top of the quarry, when he braced his muscles against the weight of some vast boulder, it seemed that nothing kept him on his feet except the will to continue. At such times his lips were seen to form the words, ‘I will work harder’; he had no voice left. Once again Clover and Benjamin warned him to take care of his health, but Boxer paid no attention. His twelfth birthday was approaching. He did not care what happened so long as a good store of stone was accumulated before he went on pension.

     Late one evening in the summer, a sudden rumour ran round the farm that something had happened to Boxer. He had gone out alone to drag a load of stone down to the windmill. And sure enough, the rumour was true. A few minutes later two pigeons came racing in with the news: ‘Boxer has fallen! He is lying on his side and can't get up!’

    About half the animals on the farm rushed out to the knoll where the windmill stood. There lay Boxer, between the shafts of the cart, his neck stretched out, unable even to raise his head. His eyes were glazed, his sides matted with sweat. A thin stream of blood had trickled out of his mouth. Clover dropped to her knees at his side.

    ‘Boxer!’ she cried, ‘how are you?’

    ‘It is my lung,’ said Boxer in a weak voice. ‘It does not matter. I think you will be able to finish the windmill without me. There is a pretty good store of stone accumulated. I had only another month to go in any case. To tell you the truth, I had been looking forward to my retirement. And perhaps, as Benjamin is growing old too, they will let him retire at the same time and be a companion to me. . . .

     However, Benjamin and Clover could only be with Boxer after working hours, and it was in the middle of the day when the van came to take him away. The animals were all at work weeding turnips under the supervision of a pig, when they were astonished to see Benjamin come galloping from the direction of the farm buildings, braying at the top of his voice. It was the first time that they had ever seen Benjamin excited — indeed, it was the first time that anyone had ever seen him gallop. ‘Quick, quick!’ he shouted. ‘Come at once! They're taking Boxer away!’ Without waiting for orders from the pig, the animals broke off work and raced back to the farm buildings. Sure enough, there in the yard was a large closed van, drawn by two horses, with lettering on its side and a sly-looking man in a low-crowned bowler hat sitting on the driver's seat. And Boxer's stall was empty.

    The animals crowded round the van. ‘Good-bye, Boxer!’ they chorused, ‘good-bye!’

    ‘Fools! Fools!’ shouted Benjamin, prancing round them and stamping the earth with his small hoofs. ‘Fools! Do you not see what is written on the side of that van?’

    That gave the animals pause, and there was a hush. Muriel began to spell out the words. But Benjamin pushed her aside and in the midst of a deadly silence he read:

    ‘ 'Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler, Willingdon. Dealer in Hides and Bone-Meal. Kennels Supplied.' Do you not understand what that means? They are taking Boxer to the knacker's!’

    A cry of horror burst from all the animals. At this moment the man on the box whipped up his horses and the van moved out of the yard at a smart trot. All the animals followed, crying out at the tops of their voices. Clover forced her way to the front. The van began to gather speed. Clover tried to stir her stout limbs to a gallop, and achieved a canter. ‘Boxer!’ she cried. ‘Boxer! Boxer! Boxer!’ And just at this moment, as though he had heard the uproar outside, Boxer's face, with the white stripe down his nose, appeared at the small window at the back of the van.

    ‘Boxer!’ cried Clover in a terrible voice. ‘Boxer! Get out! Get out quickly! They're taking you to your death!’

    All the animals took up the cry of ‘Get out, Boxer, get out!’ But the van was already gathering speed and drawing away from them. It was uncertain whether Boxer had understood what Clover had said. But a moment later his face disappeared from the window and there was the sound of a tremendous drumming of hoofs inside the van. He was trying to kick his way out. The time had been when a few kicks from Boxer's hoofs would have smashed the van to matchwood. But alas! his strength had left him; and in a few moments the sound of drumming hoofs grew fainter and died away. In desperation the animals began appealing to the two horses which drew the van to stop. ‘Comrades, comrades!’ they shouted. ‘Don't take your own brother to his death! ’ But the stupid brutes, too ignorant to realise what was happening, merely set back their ears and quickened their pace. Boxer's face did not reappear at the window. Too late, someone thought of racing ahead and shutting the five-barred gate; but in another moment the van was through it and rapidly disappearing down the road. Boxer was never seen again.

    Three days later it was announced that he had died in the hospital at Willingdon, in spite of receiving every attention a horse could have. Squealer came to announce the news to the others. He had, he said, been present during Boxer's last hours.

    ‘It was the most affecting sight I have ever seen!’ said Squealer, lifting his trotter and wiping away a tear. ‘I was at his bedside at the very last. And at the end, almost too weak to speak, he whispered in my ear that his sole sorrow was to have passed on before the windmill was finished. 'Forward, comrades!' he whispered. 'Forward in the name of the Rebellion. Long live Animal Farm! Long live Comrade Napoleon! Napoleon is always right.' Those were his very last words, comrades.’

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 11:25:28 AM PDT

  •  What exactly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Do the stupid fucks at the Heritage Foundation do, again?

    Does it involve actual useful, productive work?

    Seeing that the answer to that is no, how do these lazy, useless sycophants know whether we're productive enough?

  •  higher productivity means higher unemployment (0+ / 0-)

    because the job creation pipelines are dead.

    look some jobs are bound to get killed.
    Elevator operator, door man, galley slave,
    these get replaced by automatic controls, motors, engines.

    but take a factory they figure out how to replace 50 line workers with 30.  They may move some of these workers
    to second shift, but, the growth of this industry is diminished for employment.

    then the last 30 years, they bring in illegals from south of the border to work labor intensive jobs like slaughterhouses or

    so the supply of good jobs dwindles while the wage pressure is brutal on low skill jobs.  

  •  Even Robert Kennedy in 1968 understood that (0+ / 0-)

    "productivity" in a free-market economy is often absurd--

    Robert F. Kennedy on what GDP does/does not measure

    RFK said this in 1968.  In a speech I heard today it was quoted and it stirred me.

    “We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution, and ambulances to clear our highways from carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. The Gross National Product includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm and missles and nuclear warheads…. It includes… the broadcasting of television programs which glorify violence to sell goods to our children.

    “And if the Gross National Product includes all this, there is much that it does not comprehend. It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike. It does not include the beauty of our poetry, or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials… the Gross National Product measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile….”

    Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.
    John Maynard Keynes
  •  I Can't Tell You How Much I Hate These Bastards (5+ / 0-)

    Whenever I see people toiling extra hours without extra pay just because they are told it's part of their job (says who), my blood boils. People like the Koch Brothers or that lowlife scumbag Lloyd Blankfein fill me with rage. Blankfein's face is enough to raise my bloodpressure.

  •  I've worked at the same job for 29 years (3+ / 0-)

    Basically the standards of how much we produce have remained fairly constant, only gone up slightly in 29 years.

    Here's the thing though:

    We have a 1 year probationary period and you have to meet the min production standard to become full time. The min is fairly close to the max amount the average person is capable of producing so nobody hardly ever is exceptional and everybody struggles to be average.

    But my point is that I plugged what I got when I got the raise  into an inflation calculator and the people now days who become full time employees and get a raise now earn 3500 dollars less in real terms than I did in 1985.

    •  try plugging the (0+ / 0-)

      numbers into the inflation calculator at John Williams' '' and you might be surprised.  He calculates inflation by the method used by the US government in the 1970's.

      "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

      by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:24:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ShadowStats... (0+ / 0-)

        ...are fantasy stats.  More to the point, they are obvious nonsense.

        If you look at what they claim in their charts, inflation has been running around 10% for most of the past decade -- which, in turn, implies that prices have doubled in the last eight years.

        That just bull...

        Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

        by TexasTom on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 06:15:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You know how to tell when a conservative is lying? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob

    When they base their argument on "properly-measured" something or other.

    If my bank properly-measured my bank account, I'd be a millionaire instead of a hundredaire. And pigs would fly.

    A waist is a terrible thing to mind.

    by edg on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 11:58:19 AM PDT

  •  When MBAs say "Productivity" (0+ / 0-)

    they're not talking about how skilled, educated, hardworking or virtuous employees are.  All they consider is how much employees' labor costs as  compared to what goods and services produced will bring in the Market.

    From that point of view there MAY have been a reason to share some profits with workers when the workforce acquired education and technical skills during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    However, there came a time when the skills and diligence of workers became relatively unimportant to profitability as compared to the capital-intensive innovations ... for example: automation, architecture,  advertising and promotion, and outsourcing ... decided on by employers.

    (This, by the way, was a phenomenon Karl Marx described around the time of the American Civil War, under the rubric of "Alienation of Labor." )

    So, in practice:
    Cut wages: productivity rises.  Eliminate benefits: productivity rises.  Invest in automation: productivity rises A LOT.  

    And that begs the question:  why should Capital "give away their profits" to  Labor, when increases in productivity and profitability  result from decisions made and risks taken exclusively by capital?  On what basis does ANY worker demand more than bare sustenance in return for work that any two legged animal with  thumbs can provide?  

    "Class Struggle" is not a problem, it is a process.  We can be sure that Capital never,  forgets that fact and never relents.

    But if Labor continues to content itself with voting for the "nicer" of two Pro-Business candidates ...

    The Boni are returning  and they want ALL  their Stuff back.

    •  Heh. (0+ / 0-)

      "And that begs the question:  why should Capital "give away their profits" to  Labor, when increases in productivity and profitability  result from decisions made and risks taken exclusively by capital?"

      Because when Capital throws the dice, Labor is part of the wager.

      •  Labor is "part of the wager" ONLY when (0+ / 0-)

        Capital loses a  bet.

        But seriously:  isn't it difficult to devise a moral argument for "wealth distribution" that  a Positivist might take under consideration ?

        A lot of our left-ISH thinkers have been making the "Productivity" argument ... as if Labor had earned more compensation as a result of  (for example)  improvements in  technology, which they neither devised nor paid for.

        And that suggests another  question:  if Capital has improved profitability by eliminating the need for many of their workers, what is the moral standing of workers who survive the purge and continue working in the enterprise?

        Is Solidarity a Polish Joke ?

        •  Wrong. (0+ / 0-)

          Labor's always part of the wager.  It's just that they don't tend to reap any of the benefits when Capital wins.

          "But seriously:  isn't it difficult to devise a moral argument for "wealth distribution" that  a Positivist might take under consideration ?"

          Given that I'm at work and can't really research philosophical standpoints readily, this might not answer your question, but how about: If it weren't for the Labor, Capital would have shit-all.  It's only through the sweat of the brows of those who made their product and provided services that someone who just invested some money gets anything back.  It's the labor that made the company successful while the Capital just wrote a check.  Labor spent years of their lives doing something other than what they wanted to do, while, generally, Capital just invests a small amount of their net worth in return for doing virtually nothing but collecting regular checks.

          Or you could look at Henry Ford: Pay your workers more and they'll be able to spend more, and some of that will flow back to you, assuming you sell something worth buying.

          The moral standard of the surviving workers is exactly the same as those who were cut: they're just a bunch of people trying to make a living as best as they can.

          •  Wrong? Really? (0+ / 0-)

            On one point at least we're saying the same thing:  when Capital "loses  it's bets"  Workers  suffer. (As, by the way, do Savers and small investors.)  But when Capital "wins" ... labor, savers and small investors do not benefit anything LIKE "proportionately."

            The problem is not persuading a Kosack, Socialist, Christian, Jew or Socialist that that there's something wrong with that : that "the workman is worthy of his hire" . Torah, Gospel and Marx and all our fellow-bloggers all make that point repeatedly and vividly.

            The problem is persuading ... you know ...  Rich People, and the Teabaggists who wish they were them and think their grandchildren will BE them.

             Positivists from Nietzsche to Rand to Koch explicitly reject Gospel, and Torah, while absolutely excoriating Marx.

            My own opinion is "Bosses understand four  things: riot, boycott, legislation, and work stoppage"  and of these, only legislation actually works.

            The beatification of Henry Ford is something of a sore point for me:

            From my reading, Henry Ford's  Five Dollar Day was only about double the national average for low-skill labor.  It gave him the pick of punctual, hard working men with some familiarity with hand tools and a willingness to relocate to a company town.

            In return, the men were able to afford the rents and company store prices that prevailed IN Flint and Dearborn, and put up with Ford's "social engineering" , including the visiting  "Social Workers" who weeded out those who kept hard liquor or socialist literature in their homes.

            When Ford imagined the market for his early cars, he spoke of "Any man having a good salary" ... professional men and supervisory workers -- not the hired hands on the assembly line.  It would not be until after WWII that Ford workers in any great numbers would be buying Ford cars -- and by then Henry Senior was NOT the prime mover and planner at Ford Motor.

            While Henry Ford didn't keep a portrait of Adolph Hitler in his office ... Hitler did keep a portrait Ford in HIS.  And it wasn't just the Dearborn Independent's virulent anti Semitic screeds the Fuhrer admired ... it was the whole package of social efficiency and control that Ford had developed that  on a local level,  looked very much like what industrial fascists hoped to achieve on national levels.  

            For post-War industrial fascists: the whole Hitlerite "war and racism"  thing turned out to be a foolish distraction from the main objective:  a disciplined and productive workforce and no popular politics gumming up the works. (Arguably -- breaking OUR  lumpen proletariat of the habit of viewing their world through the prism of War and Race is still a work in progress. )

            And so long as we accept "every worker for himself" as the standard -- before long we will HAVE the productive
            and submissive workforce   fascists hoped for ...

            Except that the Fascists never understood how useful consumerism, student debt and free market health care would be in in maintaining social control and profitability.

  •  The prime directive for a corporate CEO is to ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... maximize return on the owners' investment.  That's the CEO's fiduciary responsibility.  Profits aren't everything; profits are the only thing.

    So all that these statistics say is the we now have better CEOs.  They are getting more productivity at less cost to the owners.  

    Your wages reflect the cost of other options: hiring immigrants, off-shoring you job, automation, hiring someone younger, etc.

  •  Back in the late '80s (0+ / 0-)

    I was part of a 4-person team in the Accounts Payable department of an office products distributor. We had a computer system that required us to match invoices to bills of lading and warehouse receipts by hand. We then had a computer upgrade to a system that did the matching automatically, only kicking something out if there was a discrepancy. Within a couple of months the department shrank to just one person: me (and I wasn't even the department supervisor). I could process the same number of invoices by myself that it used to take 3-1/2 people to do in the same amount of time. My salary did not increase by four times - in fact, it didn't change at all, even though I tried to argue that I should have been paid as much as my former supervisor was making.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 12:16:28 PM PDT

  •  In another report, (0+ / 0-)

    The Heritage Foundation examines employee-slapping as an incentive to greater productivity.

    Love or hate the President all you want -- but we have GOT to retake the House and hold the Senate in 2014!

    by mwm341 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 12:27:51 PM PDT

  •  Millions Of Middle-Class Jobs Killed By Machines (0+ / 0-)

    Per Huffington Post,  By BERNARD CONDON and PAUL WISEMAN 01/23/13 04:38 PM ET EST AP:

    NEW YORK — Five years after the start of the Great Recession, the toll is terrifyingly clear: Millions of middle-class jobs have been lost in developed countries the world over.

    And the situation is even worse than it appears.

    Most of the jobs will never return, and millions more are likely to vanish as well, say experts who study the labor market. What's more, these jobs aren't just being lost to China and other developing countries, and they aren't just factory work. Increasingly, jobs are disappearing in the service sector, home to two-thirds of all workers.

    They're being obliterated by technology.

    Year after year, the software that runs computers and an array of other machines and devices becomes more sophisticated and powerful and capable of doing more efficiently tasks that humans have always done. For decades, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines; an Associated Press analysis finds that the future has arrived.


    EDITOR'S NOTE: First in a three-part series on the loss of middle-class jobs in the wake of the Great Recession, and the role of technology.


  •  low-productivity jobs? (3+ / 0-)

    I have a problems with this:

    The real problem, he says, is that far too many workers are stuck in low-productivity jobs, particularly in the health-care sector; he argues policymakers should be focused on helping those workers gain more skills and move into more productive sectors — specifically, by looking for ways to reduce the cost and increase the accessibility of higher education.
    Okay, so we give a personal care attendant some new skills and move them into a more ‘productive’ sector. But don’t we still need personal care attendants?

    There is no acknowledgement in this Heritage Foundation “analysis” that for the foreseeable future there will be jobs that are low-productivity but nevertheless must be done. There is still a lot of work out there that is just not that amenable to innovation or technology. There are still plenty of tasks where you still have to put your hands on something or apply brute force to it.

    What I infer from the Heritage Foundation is that low-productivity (i.e.: low return for Capital) work earns poverty-level wages and we are supposed to accept that is the natural order of things. I don’t know about Heritage but I still believe in the version of the social compact where working a job, any job, should earn you reliable access to the necessities of life.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 12:51:54 PM PDT

  •  Productivity is output per labor hour-day-year (0+ / 0-)

    etc. If the workers are so unproductive, who is propping up those massive CEO and upper management salaries?

  •  Typical Conservative Think-Tank Approach (5+ / 0-)

    When reality denies your argument, dispute reality.

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 01:41:48 PM PDT

  •  you have to laugh (5+ / 0-)

    What does a think tank wonk "produce"? And they have the audacity to lecture me?? I build bridges and skyscrapers and schools.

    socially conservative, economically radical, interracially married old school democrat.

    by WesEverest on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 02:37:48 PM PDT

  •  I'll Tell You What . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, jan4insight

    This time, Industry, you start paying me more and then I'll be more productive.  Since 1970, you've played it the other way, and I'm still waiting for my share of the productivity gains.  Meanwhile, you've screwed me and everybody I know out of our fair share of the gains.  

  •  In theory, I can agree (8+ / 0-)

    with one part of Sherk's statement -- it should be easier for employees to gain more skills, so that they can move up the ladder into better jobs. Back when I was working (in the Dark Ages), I had a boss that did exactly that; recognized employees with talent and made sure they got the training needed to move into more responsible (and lucrative) positions.

    But that's not what this guy is saying -- he wants workers to gain more skills so they can do the work of two or three workers without having to pay the extra money.

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 02:53:30 PM PDT

  •  After the Jason Richwine fiasco on Immigration (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluezen, jbsoul, Dirtandiron

    Should the Heritage foundation be putting out studies at all?

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 03:20:47 PM PDT

  •  . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, jan4insight

    think tanks are mostly propaganda outlets.  Who funds them? ... they will write whatever someone pays them to and put their name on the piece so the entities that pay them won't have to.

    "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 04:33:25 PM PDT

  •  People need to work harder? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Really? Go to a construction site, a farm, or a fishing boat, anything where people have been working in the 100 degree heat and tell them that. I dare you Heritage Foundation!

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 06:42:58 PM PDT

  •  Shorter Heritage: (0+ / 0-)

    We want more money. YOU have to worker a lot harder.

  •  Since US productivity is waaaaay up, (0+ / 0-)

    Demento's Heritage demands MORE MORE MOARRRRRR. Set up the jump nets outside the worker dorms.

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes

    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Fri Jul 19, 2013 at 06:41:53 AM PDT

  •  Short "Work faster, Granny!" The boss wants (0+ / 0-)

    to buy an island for his little girl's sweet 16 party.

  •  Which Workers? (0+ / 0-)

    While I'm sure that benefits for "workers" have gone up substantially since 1979, we have to consider which workers we're talking about. Hedge fund managers are workers, and I'm sure their benefits have soared.

    If you take out highly compensated workers (let's say, workers making over $100K/yr) do you still see large gains? I doubt it. there's a distinct difference even in wages for all workers vs. non-supervisory workers. The wages for all workers has gone up since then, but the wages for non-supervisory workers has gone down.

    Or, just think of it this way: how much have healthcare benefits gone up since 1979 for workers at McDonald's?

    But worker productivity is up over 80% since then. I just don't think compensation has kept pace.

    And, BTW, where does this compensation come from? How much of it is really government spending disguised as private compensation? Healthcare benefits are costs to companies, so they are written off as business expenses. That means they are subsidized by taxpayers.

  •  i have skills (0+ / 0-)

    I have 3 degrees, a BA in History w/ a 3.96, a BS in Civil Engineering, and a Masters in Math (statistics emphasis). I went for as long as they would give me a loan, overbooked every semester because my parents are broke and always will be, and finished the degrees in 7 years. My debt is 75k and my payment will be $950 a month gross, though I am of course not being charged now and will get it reduced to $550 when I get a job. I can't go back to college until I get a grown-up job. I graduated in December. I've been applying to 250 jobs/month (internships, entry level, a few past entry level, most of the jobs I'm applying for pay circa 40k, the highest ones 60-65k, all regions of US). About 80 are engineer, about 60 are statistician, about 50 are internships, about 5 are historian. I also apply to financial institutions like the Fed. I was prepared for it to take a while, because I figured that although I'd obviously get interviews from my resume, I might have had to do many interviews. I have had one interview, which was with a small town's PW department, and they interviewed about 40 people out of 100 or so that applied. The vast majority of the time, I never hear from the company or organization. The long lag time of responses or lack thereof was something I wasn't prepared for.

    In school, everyone was an idiot but got straight A's. One of them thought Lincoln was the 5th president and the civil war happened in the 1950s. Just before I left, some girl who never came to class and whose brother ran for congress emailed me the solution guides for all the classes. Turns out they were all cheating. They acted like it was a disaster because it took them a whole month to get a job. I asked who they worked for, they said they worked for their dad. I came to realize I didn't know anybody under 30 who had ever gotten a job through a competitive interview process. I knew 50 year olds who got headhunted, that was it.

    My point is, especially with my generation, workers have tons of skills on their resume, especially education. In my experience, however, the message I'm getting is that education doesn't matter, and HR people don't see it as legit. Whoever thought up the concept of being overqualified should be shot. In today's job market and HR philosophy, Bart gets a job before Lisa 100% of the time, and it's not close. To a lazy HR person hiring for an entry level job, Bart is the blatantly obvious choice and Lisa is someone to be avoided. Bart's experience working a register and upselling people at McDonald's is more valuable to people than Lisa's PhD, if Lisa didn't have an internship (which makes you wonder what the vast majority of college kids who don't have relevant internships are going to do, and most places don't let recent graduates get internships for some reason). HR people put 100% of weight on work experience and 0% on education, and make negative personality inferences based on Lisa's resume that should wait for the interview, if applied at all. They want people who are willing to conform to management and manipulate coworkers and customers. The skills they want are pathetic and almost everyone has them, but they only apply if you've done them on the job. If you did them in school, doesn't count. They also want aggressive, gladhanding, hypocritical people, and pretty much only listen to internal references, which in my opinion is corrupt. Principle plays no part. In the interview, they expect you to interrupt and talk over them in a very cheesy manner. We live in a marketing economy.

    Increasing demand is the only thing that creates good jobs. Having workers get more education doesn't change anything about the job market. Of course they should get more education just because, and for the theoretical second job, but in my experience it doesn't change anything.

    All the same, tell your kids they can study humanities in their spare time, and make sure they know they have to get an internship. Tell them they shouldn't cheat, but everyone else is.

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