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What You Need is a Pay Cut!

by The Cranky Media Guy

"Recovery Hinges on Productivity", the headline touted. A recent story by Reuters sounded the call of economists to raise productivity in order to to bolster the sagging stock market, "according to a paper presented to a meeting of top policymakers, bankers and academics."

The story explains how the key to "recovery" is productivity. If we can just get productivity up, then the economy will recover and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Business and government, therefore, must work together to improve productivity of the American worker.

There is a message hidden in these words, however - one which the corporatists can never state plainly lest they incite a worker revolution: You make too much money.

You see, productivity is one of those terms that people sort of relate to, without any real understanding. To the average person, increasing "productivity" means that we need to make more stuff.  Great!  Making more stuff means more jobs, and more money.  Who would argue with that?

The problem with this common view is that it is completely wrong. In fact, it's pretty much the dead opposite of what the corporatists mean when then talk about "raising productivity."  Corporatists know that the average person doesn't "get it," however, which is why you'll hear them boldly making such pronouncements. If you knew what they really meant, they'd confine their statements about raising  productivity to the back rooms of Congress and the White House.

Here is the truth: "Productivity" is simply defined as the value of all goods sold, divided by the cost of producing those goods.  To "increase productivity," one must find a way to lower the production cost of those goods.

If you want to raise your productivity, you must produce more stuff while earning the same amount of money, or you must do the same work you're doing now, but earn less.  It's that simple.

A popular way to "raise productivity" is to lay off a few thousand workers.  This lowers costs and thus "raises" productivity. Nothing more is produced, of course, but it looks great on the quarterly bottom line - which, as we all know, is the only thing that really counts in this world.

If you can't lay off workers and still stay in business, another popular option is to fire your employees and then re-hire them as "temps" or Independent Contractors.  That way, you have the same people doing the same jobs, but for about half the money (or sometimes less).

What a great plan! I'll bet you just can't wait to help in the economic recovery. ...What? You don't want to work twice as hard for the same money? You don't want to do the same job for half the wages?  Well then, you're just a #&$( Socialist pinko commie wimp, aren't ya?

Okay, I have a better idea: How about if we just cut the salaries of CEOs in half instead of laying off thousands of workers. The savings will be about the same and nobody has to live on Government cheese.

Don't hold your breath waiting to hear some economist advocate that one, however.  These guys work for big corporations, or the federal government (which is owned by big corporations) or universities or "think tanks" in departments underwritten by big corporations.

The study cited in the article was done by Martin Bailey of the "Institute of International Economics" -- guess where their money comes from?

I liked economics in school. It was basic, direct, concrete, and easily understandable. It's too bad that economists slept through it.  Too busy dreaming of that future corporate paycheck to really care, I guess.

I've been trying to decide whether "Economists" don't know what they're talking about, or if they are just a bunch of lying-ass front men for big corporations.  Perhaps it's some of both.

But at least now you know the truth: Next time you hear that we need to "raise productivity," start planning your next vacation at a nearby homeless shelter.


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