Image: Don’t Tread on Me Platter by Francis McIlveen
Mother Jones printed another outstanding issue in July. “All Work and No Pay: The Great Speedup,” by By Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, shows: “After a sharp dip in 2008 and 2009, US economic output recovered nicely to near pre-recession levels—we did better than most of our fellow G-7 economies. But not so American workers: Far more people here lost their jobs, and fewer were hired back once the recovery began, than anywhere else.”
Why? Because “job creator” rich assholes don’t need more workers when the workers they have take up the slack. Americans foolishly believe that they will be rewarded for their hard work and productivity. It just ain’t so.
Recovery for Rich Assholes
“All Work” points out: ” Increasingly, US workers are also falling prey to what we’ll call offloading: cutting jobs and dumping the work onto the remaining staff.”
“US productivity increased twice as fast in 2009 as it had in 2008, and twice as fast again in 2010: workforce down, output up, and voilá! No wonder corporate profits are up 22 percent since 2007, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. To repeat: Up. Twenty-two. Percent.”
You keep producing more for less.
Productivity has surged, but income and wages have stagnated for most Americans. If the median household income had kept pace with the economy since 1970, it would now be nearly $92,000, not $50,000. (Mother Jones)
It’s no coincidence that the forks in the road begin during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing an index of real output by an index of hours worked of all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers”
The chart above does not show the real effect of “productivity” upon compensation. It stands to reason that the more hours one works for free, the less one gets paid. Additionally the consumer price series increased at a 5.3 percent annual rate, resulting in a decline of 2.6 percent in real hourly compensation for non-farm businesses in the first quarter of 2011.
If you have a job it looks like you’ll be working even harder now that the unemployment rate is over 9%!
You don’t get paid for productivity.
Productivity is a measurement of output per hour, output of goods and services. Let’s pretend we live in a meritocracy where productivity is rewarded with pay commensurate to ones productivity. The more you produce, the more you’re paid, right?
Let’s compare you to a high paid executive, for example Larry Ellison the CEO and founder of Oracle. Mr. Ellison isn’t the highest paid executive in the world, ranking 167th according to Forbes, at $8.2 million per year. That honor goes to Stephen J. Hemsley, CEO of United Health Group (an insurance company that, arguably, produces nothing), who brings down $101.96 million per year.
Larry Ellison is, however, more well known and a notorious rich ASSHOLE. In 2008, Mr. Ellison received a $3 million tax break when he argued that his $200 million, 16th century samurai palace in Woodside, CA had become obsolete! That move cost the Woodside school district $1.4 million. A 2006 San Francisco Chronicle article also reported that “Ellison habitually pushes his credit limit of more than a billion dollars to its maximum to finance his yachts and homes. And that’s not even counting some $20 million a year he burns through in miscellaneous lifestyle expenses.” More recently, Mr. Ellison conned San Francisco to pony up for the America’s cup giving him long term leases on several public owned piers.
If you make an average wage in the United States, you’re making maybe $43,000 per year. In 2009 the average wage was $40,711.61. Mr. Ellison makes $8.2 million per year or more than 190 times what you make. He makes more than your annual salary in two days.
Let’s say you work about 8 hours a day, 50 weeks per year. Larry will swear up and down that he works 24 hours a day, every day because he producing while he’s sailing and dreaming up new ideas in his sleep. Even if that’s true, Larry produces more in a relaxed 20-minute morning dump that you produce in a day. After all, output is output.
Wait a minute, Oracle produces millions of dollars of goods and services every day, but Oracle is a company with thousands of employees. Larry Ellison, however brilliant, is still one person who can only produce so much in a 24-hour day. Is Larry trying to claim his employees’ production for himself?
The delusion that hard work is an end in itself; that we must be lazy or inferior if we don’t produce more and more is a myth propagated by rich assholes who would rather be sailing.
“This delusion drags in its train the individual and social woes which for two centuries have tortured sad humanity. This delusion is the love of work, the furious passion for work, pushed even to the exhaustion of the vital force of the individual and his progeny.”–Paul Lafargue, The Right to be Lazy.
Everybody who’s had a real job understands that the more you work, the less you get paid.
Refuse to take up slack, be a professional. As Harlan Ellison (no relation to Larry Ellison) says, “The amateurs (who work for free) ruin it for the professionals.” If you truly have pride in your work, you won’t let it be watered down. Professionals go on strike if their work is threatened, while amateurs (scabs) slavishly meet productivity quotas without regard to commensurate pay.
If you remember just one thing this Labor Day it should be this: Don’t take a piss without getting paid for it. Larry Ellison gets paid for every dribble, every excretion, why should you be any different?