Playoffs and rocking chairs

The big game is tonight, the college football national championship.

No, I don't mean the contest between Oregon and Auburn for the chance to declare themselves "national champions" without ever facing undefeated TCU. I mean the bona fide championship game for I-AA in which the University of Delaware's Fighting Blue Hens and the Eastern Washington Eagles face off as the only two teams left standing after battling through weeks of actual playoffs.

So tonight, since it's the last game of the year and win or lose there won't be another one, I'll be cheering for the Hens.

Here's a not-so-secret dirty little secret of newspapers: We don't usually root, root, root for the home team. The newspaper I work for covers Philadelphia sports, and lately that's meant a lot of extra work covering playoff games. We had to cover the Phillies for weeks after anybody at The Washington Post had to worry about covering a Nationals game. We had to cover the Eagles after those folks at the Post were all done with the Redskins. Even the Flyers, somehow, managed to keep us working for weeks after their Capitals reporter had started his postseason vacation. Only the 76ers seem to have any respect for the idea of ending their season when the regular season ends.

Now here we are, in January, still having to cover college football even though there are only four teams in the whole country still playing. Just because those Blue Hens annoyingly kept winning. If they hadn't recovered that fumble against Georgia Southern a couple of weeks ago, my Friday night at work would be looking a whole lot easier just now.

It may sound like simple laziness to complain about covering playoff games, but it's actually a rational response to the incentives designed and created by management in our industry. And not just our industry, but pretty much all of corporate America. Throughout corporate America, management has decided to uncouple productivity and income — to sever the link between the two. They have decided, in their wisdom, to stop rewarding productivity.

Over the past three decades, productivity per worker has soared while income has stagnated or even gone down. Productivity won't get you a raise. It may not even let you keep your job. So if working harder and doing more means less pay or, at best, no difference in pay, then why should anyone want to work harder? Or, more to the point, on what rational basis could top managers expect their workers to do more for the same reward? Why should those managers rationally expect their workers not to respond rationally to the incentives they have created?

Let me take you back to the fall of 2008. Our paper was covering both a World Series and a presidential election, two huge national stories with local angles. The Phillies were on a roll and Joe Biden was on his way to being the first Delawarean on a winning national ticket.

We worked really hard and we covered both stories really well. As a result, we sold more papers — and more advertising — than we ever imagined we could. Hard work and quality work and two big stories meant big sales and big revenues and big profits.

But we were still only one paper in a huge national chain. And come January that chain announced massive layoffs. As a consequence, we will never cover another story as well as we could in 2008. The word from on high was clear: quality and increased sales will be rewarded exactly the same as their opposites. The link between productivity and income no longer exists.

The fracturing of the connection between productivity and income is bad for business. It incentivizes an avoidance of extra work and of top-quality work. It rewards this avoidance — expects it, designs it, plans for it, creates, engenders, requires and demands it. When the connection between productivity and income is broken, the CEO might as well send a memo to every employer reading: "Please do not work very hard and make sure you never do your very best work. I want lazy, shoddy and just-barely acceptable output from all of you." Their intent could not be made any clearer or more explicit.

The remarkable and astonishing thing — at my paper, in my industry and across the board in the American economy — is that so many millions of workers have continued to work their hardest and to do their best despite every incentive not to. Those workers continue to do the very best they can despite their employers all-but ordering them to reject care and craft and concern for their customers. They have continued to do such work because care, craft, customer and character still seem to matter to them more than any memo from the CEO's office — explicit or implicit.

Some lady working on the assembly line at the Acme Rocking Chair Co. hasn't seen a raise in eight years and her boss keeps telling her that she's got to increase the product-units-per-hour beyond all reasonable expectation of quality. Every incentive, every instruction Acme Rocking Chair is giving her demands that she lower her standards for quality and accept that it is now her job to crank out crappy chairs.

But somehow she has got it in her head that she doesn't really work for the Acme Rocking Chair Co. The way she thinks of it, she works for the person who will one day sit in that chair she's making. And unlike the Acme Rocking Chair Co., that person has never treated her badly. It strikes her as wrong somehow — morally wrong — to provide a crappy chair for that person.

So she works twice as hard for the same pay and bites her lip. And whenever she gets another memo from Mr. Acme informing her that product-units-per-hour must yet again be increased, she thinks, "Screw you — I'm going to keep making good chairs, the best chairs I can, no matter what you tell me, you dim-witted, overpaid moron." And exactly that — her perverse, rebellious commitment to doing good work as a way of doing justice for the customer and simultaneously flipping off the bosses — that's pretty much all that's keeping corporate America afloat.

I'm not sure that's sustainable.

Um, so anyway, Go Blue Hens!

  • http://www.processedworld.com Thomas Daulton

    Wow, I posted my comment about GDP without having read about the shooting. The Typepad page posts your comment, but doesn’t update the other comments until you refresh. Had I seen that stuff about the shooting, I would certainly not have changed the subject so callously.
    Wow.
    I join everyone in wishing solace on the victims and their families.
    I too, wonder how the “political discouse” in this country is going to change because of this. I just don’t envision anyone stepping back from the brink. Nearly everybody in this country is too hardened with the “I’m-right-your-side-is-wrong-and-dangerous” mentality.
    I’m worried there will be a respectful pause and de-regieur denunciations, but now that it’s been done, it’s no longer unthinkable.
    I wonder if politicians at all levels are going to start walking around in security bubbles, (private guards plus Popemobiles), making them even more insulated from the common people they’re supposed to be representing.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/ministerformagic Pius Thicknesse

    Has anyone been grabbing screencaps of the more virulent right-wing websites before they took their stuff down? TPM and TheSmokingGun would probably have some hay to make out of them.
    Incidentally, Justin, your rather odd definition seems a bit at odds with the one I learned in economics, which uses various metrics such as output over input, etc. Your use of the actual distribution of the monetary gains from company output is not one I’ve seen before, to be perfectly honest.

  • Albanaeon

    Latest HP posts say Giffords looks like she’s going to pull through. And the judge was John Roll.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/sunbowgems MercuryBlue

    “Guess what tweet @SarahPalinUSA just deleted? Here’s your answer: http://bit.ly/hPV95O” It’s the one that says ‘don’t retreat, reload’.

  • truth is life

    Well, technically, depending on which source you believe, NAFTA didn’t benefit every quintile. Especially if you count Mexicans and Canadians as “the population”.

    A lot more than just NAFTA happened in the ’90s.

    One thing which has occurred to me many times in the past 20 years is that if hourly pay had gone up like CEO pay, the Federal Reserve would have slapped an unimaginable hurting on the economy because OMG inflation! Must be stopped! So it’s federal policy that the rich can get rich, but the poor and middle-class shouldn’t.

    Well, that’s because the poor and middle-class actually spend their huge unearned profits on everyday things.
    And I’m only semi-kidding, there. Increasing overall pay that much would have led to major inflation that would severely injure anyone with a fixed income (for instance). But just increasing the pay of the wealthy that much? Doesn’t, because they don’t spend as big a fraction of their income as the not-wealthy. That’s not to say that I approve of the massive CEO pay increases, though.
    @Thomas: We always have multiple threads going on simultaneously, so don’t feel bad.
    Interesting thing about Giffords: She’s married to Capt. Mark Kelly, an astronaut, and was the first sitting Congressperson to have their spouse go into space. It’s strange I haven’t heard about her before, I’m a space person after all and she’s apparently a big space supporter (and a liberal, an all too rare combination from my point of view). I hope she’s all right.

  • http://www.tproe.com/disco.htm Nicolae Carpathia

    The cops have picked up a second “suspect” in the shooting. And they’re looking for a third.
    First I’d heard of it being multiple people.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/lorik922 Lori

    Has anyone been grabbing screencaps of the more virulent right-wing websites before they took their stuff down? TPM and TheSmokingGun would probably have some hay to make out of them.

    There seems to be a fair amount of scrubbing going in RightWingistan right now, but they night as well not bother. Goggle cache is forever.
    It will certainly be interesting to see the spin from the Right over the next couple of days. Fox has already gone the classy route of victim blaming and licking their chops over the chance to gain further political advantage by replacing Giffords with a Tea Partier. I’m sure others will follow their lead. However, the Right’s favorite post-violence talking point isn’t available in this case because Arizona already has the Holy Grail—concealed carry with no permit required. I guess they’ll have to go with more victim blaming—if Liberals weren’t too wimpy to carry they’d have been able to stop the (concealed carrying) shooter before he got off so many rounds. Sigh.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/sunbowgems MercuryBlue

    if Liberals weren’t too wimpy to carry they’d have been able to stop the (concealed carrying) shooter before he got off so many rounds. Sigh.
    I heard, though now I couldn’t tell you if it was on MSNBC or one of the news sites, that there was return fire.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/lorik922 Lori

    I heard, though now I couldn’t tell you if it was on MSNBC or one of the news sites, that there was return fire.

    I’m sure that the Right Wing gun worshipers will figure a way to spin it so that it’s still some evidence of Liberal wimpiness and lack of resolve. I’m not quite sure how*, but I’ve come to expect it and I’m rarely disappointed.
    *I often have trouble figuring out exactly what they’re going to say. I think being constrained by logic is a real handicap in that regard.

  • Albanaeon

    Gods, apparently one of the dead is a child…

  • P J Evans

    The guy they picked up was running an anti-Giffords event at a shooting range last June. With an
    M-16.
    Why did it take 30 minutes for the EMTs to show up???? They had the shooter on the ground and restrained a lot sooner than that.

  • Brenda – who was in Flagstaff, AZ but is now in Chicago.

    Re: Long time for EMS to show up. I lived in AZ until August of 2010. They are against raising taxes and the state is short of money to fund such things. That may not be the only reason, but it I think it is part of it.
    Brenda

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/sunbowgems MercuryBlue

    When we say ‘I disagree with what you say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it’, unless we’re law enforcement or serving military, we don’t actually expect anybody to, y’know, die.
    I imagine Tucson traffic sucks.

  • truth is life

    The guy they picked up was running an anti-Giffords event at a shooting range last June. With an M-16.

    *nitpick*
    It should probably be an AR-15. I don’t think it’s legal for civilians to have M-16s in the US. Even after the expiration of the assault rifle ban, I think it was prohibited by a ’20s law (automatic weapon). Of course, he might have been breaking the law.
    */nitpick*
    That said…yeah. That does make it more likely for this to be right-wing junk. More than it already was, anyways.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Allegedly, the shooter has a youtube channel.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Classitup10

  • http://profile.typepad.com/ministerformagic Pius Thicknesse

    Thirty min–? *jaw drops* Good lord. I hope someone at the scene knew a lot of first aid and some medical aid.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/sunbowgems MercuryBlue

    On the marginally less dim side, nobody can argue that this was anything but premeditated.
    Anybody got the time and nerve to go through the guy’s videos? Or are we waiting till we know if that YouTube channel is the same guy?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/lorik922 Lori

    It should probably be an AR-15. I don’t think it’s legal for civilians to have M-16s in the US. Even after the expiration of the assault rifle ban, I think it was prohibited by a ’20s law (automatic weapon). Of course, he might have been breaking the law.

    Yes, the gun would have been an AR-15. I have no doubt that there’s some number of civilians who have M-16s, but they wouldn’t appear in public with them because they’re illegal. An AR-15 is expensive, but legal.

    And I’m only semi-kidding, there. Increasing overall pay that much would have led to major inflation that would severely injure anyone with a fixed income (for instance). But just increasing the pay of the wealthy that much? Doesn’t, because they don’t spend as big a fraction of their income as the not-wealthy.

    The thing is, the PTB would at least pay attention to runaway inflation. One of the problems with giving ever more money to the rich is that they go in search of more & more places to invest. Which was part of the reason we ended up with the runaway derivatives market from hell. Which no one paid any attention to until it was too late.

  • Xavier

    A lot more than just NAFTA happened in the ’90s.

    True. True. I forget sometimes that I’m an outsider. When people mention Clinton and economic growth in the same sentence, the first thing I think is NAFTA. Obviously, the same is not true for an American.
    I’m still sceptical of the claim that Clinton’s policies were the main cause of the population-wide income growth, though, since Clinton was mostly neoliberal. I’d love to talk and learn about this, but I don’t think now is a good time.
    Good Lord, a creepy Youtube channel, a dead child and a dead judge.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mmy mmy_whose ‘to read’ list keeps getting longer

    did I hear correctly — one of the victims was a 9-month old child. Please tell me that that was reported incorrectly.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    @MB: Watched them. They seem to be a pretty thin bit of incoherence about him being some sort of sleepwalking-dreamer who creates his own grammar, and then it ends with him saying that the government is not legitimate because our currency is not backed by gold.
    Yeah.
    This was about the gold standard.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/sunbowgems MercuryBlue

    mmy: I heard nine-year-old. Haven’t heard nine-month-old.
    Ross: The gold standard. WTF.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/lorik922 Lori

    did I hear correctly — one of the victims was a 9-month old child. Please tell me that that was reported incorrectly.

    I’ve seen multiple reports that one of the 6 fatalities was a child, but haven’t seen anything about how old s/he was.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mmy mmy_whose ‘to read’ list keeps getting longer

    @MercuryBlue: I heard nine-year-old. Haven’t heard nine-month-old.
    Trigger warning to parents:
    I had this horrible image of someone shooting a child in hir parent’s arms. Please let that not have happened. One way or another someone watched their child be gunned done. I cannot imagine the pain.

  • chris y

    mmy, 9 years, apparently. I don’t imagine that helps much.

  • Andrew Glasgow

    @Lori

    Yes, the gun would have been an AR-15. I have no doubt that there’s some number of civilians who have M-16s, but they wouldn’t appear in public with them because they’re illegal. An AR-15 is expensive, but legal.

    I suspect that this shooter was less than intensely concerned about violating the law.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/lorik922 Lori

    I suspect that this shooter was less than intensely concerned about violating the law.

    He was alleged to have appeared in public with the gun last summer. At that time I presume he was a little more concerned about legalities. Also, if he had been seen in public with an M16 it’s highly likely that there would have been some sort of investigation and I haven’t heard anything about one. I’m going to assume that it was a legal and fairly easy to get AR-15 unless someone can prove that it was an illegal and fair more difficult to obtain M16. For me this is definitely a “pics or it didn’t happen” thing.

  • Xavier

    Watched them. They seem to be a pretty thin bit of incoherence about him being some sort of sleepwalking-dreamer who creates his own grammar, and then it ends with him saying that the government is not legitimate because our currency is not backed by gold.

    Those videos made me feel ill. The way he uses syllogisms as a tool illogic was just…the mind is a very fragile thing. I couldn’t finish the second one.

  • Brandi

    Why did it take 30 minutes for the EMTs to show up????
    I’m sure somewhere there’s a Freeper who’s posted “OBAMACARE HURRRR” or something equally tasteful.

  • Lila

    EMTs are not allowed to move in on the scene of a shooting until the scene has been declared safe. This is to keep the body count from increasing as EMTs get shot.

  • Brandi

    Actually, that makes good sense. Depressing, but good sense.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mmy mmy_whose ‘to read’ list keeps getting longer

    @Lila: EMTs are not allowed to move in on the scene of a shooting until the scene has been declared safe. This is to keep the body count from increasing as EMTs get shot.
    This is in response to the horrible tactic of first attacking a group/setting off a bomb and then shooting on/setting off another bomb to mow down the first responders. This has happened often enough to make being a doctor/nurse/EMT more dangerous in some areas than to be a police officer or member of the military.

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/sunbowgems MercuryBlue

    Yeah, it makes sense, if one’s top concern is EMTs’ safety. Which is a valid concern to have, and I am not saying anyone’s wrong to prioritize EMTs over victims, but while the EMTs are being kept out of the way, people are dying from lack of medical care. It’s a frigging miracle Giffords is alive, I think, injury like that and no medical attention for a half hour.

  • chris the cynic

    In case anyone is following so closely in the comments they don’t notice, you should all be aware that Fred has created a post about the shooting.

  • Dash

    the government is not legitimate because our currency is not backed by gold.
    For those who are not USians, this is one of the Tea Partiers’ catch phrases, and makes clear (in case we didn’t know) where the guy is coming from.
    About the EMT rule: that’s also the standard rule for lifeguards. You don’t put your own life in danger. If EMTs and other medical responders stay out of the area until it’s established as safe, people may die from lack of medical attention, but if they go in and get shot, the people will die anyway, and more will die because there will be no one to provide any medical attention.
    And about the shooting: I feel stupid saying this whole thing makes me feel sick, because, really, of which of us isn’t that true? But I’m going to say it anyway.

  • RickRS

    I’m wondering if there some confusion with an election event where the Tea Party candidate Jesse Kelly had a fundraiser where he invited supporters to “help remove Gifford from office” and “shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly”.
    Some collectors are licensed to own fully automatic weapons, including M16 and others. My brother reports he stopped at a range in Las Vegas and he and his sons have their pick of several automatic weapons to shoot. A bit expensive, as you paid by the clip, which emptied in 10 seconds or less. The point being, there are civilians with fully automatic weapons, both legally and illegally.

  • Amaryllis

    @Joel Johnson: I’m late catching up with this thread, so I’ve no idea if you’re still reading, but add me to the list of people hoping you can find a dental care provider soon. If you really think there’s an infection, that’s nothing to fool around with.
    Have you made inquiries with the federal Health Resources Services Administration?
    http://www.hrsa.gov/index.html
    They may be able to find you a publicly-funded clinic.
    Or you could check with your state dental association; a lot of them have programs for un- and under-insured patients. Or are you anywhere near a university with a dental school, sometimes they have clinics attached with sliding fee scales.
    Or you could try talking to a dentist directly. Many of them do a certain amount of pro-bono work, or will do the work and let you repay them in small amounts as possible. Worth a try, anyway.
    I don’t want to sound intrusive, but teeth make me worry. And maybe you’ve already tried all this, and so far haven’t had any luck. But please keep trying til you find something. Abscessed teeth can be seriously, nastily dangerous. (You should have heard my dentist at my recent root canal, on the subject of “You’d better take Every Antibiotic Pill in the bottle.”)
    On a hopefully happier note, good luck with the library application. You’ll never convince me that a library can be bad at all!

  • truth is life

    The thing is, the PTB would at least pay attention to runaway inflation. One of the problems with giving ever more money to the rich is that they go in search of more & more places to invest. Which was part of the reason we ended up with the runaway derivatives market from hell. Which no one paid any attention to until it was too late.

    True, true. Excess money slushing around the investment markets is pretty bad, too, just less noticeable. Plus, if you took the money used to give (real) raises to CEOs etc. and put it into raises for the line workers and such, it probably wouldn’t come out to more than a couple hundred dollars per worker, which wouldn’t really cause inflation the way multiplying personal income by 2-3-4 plus times would.

    True. True. I forget sometimes that I’m an outsider. When people mention Clinton and economic growth in the same sentence, the first thing I think is NAFTA. Obviously, the same is not true for an American.
    I’m still sceptical of the claim that Clinton’s policies were the main cause of the population-wide income growth, though, since Clinton was mostly neoliberal. I’d love to talk and learn about this, but I don’t think now is a good time.

    I’d say it was part of a general world-wide phenomenon probably linked to the collapse of the Soviet Union. But I understand that now isn’t the time, so I won’t go any farther.

  • Mau de Katt

    I’ve lost two jobs that way — doing my best to provide excellent service to the customer, despite the pressure from mgt and “efficiency experts” to focus on quantity rather than quality. Of course they said they wanted both, but it was literally impossible to provide any sort of quality and keep up with the quantity/time demands they insisted upon.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/fearlessson FearlessSon

    I am reminded of my first job after college, where I worked retail at a Game Crazy store.
    At that store, there were certain daily minumum quotas on things like pre-orders and loyalty card sales that each employee was required to meet in order to remain employed, at least ostensibly. I spent my first few months on that job in a state of worry because I could not meet those quota with any consistancy. Indeed, even the more experienced clerks would only meet them on a good day, most frequently getting at most half of that. But I realized eventually that no one was getting fired for not meeting quota, as long as they at least made a token effort of it.
    There were a few people at other locations, managers mostly, who would make the quota consistantly. I always thought that they must either be good salesmen or just really pushy. Though it turns out that for most of them, the way that they make the quota was by going crooked. They would do things like examine the customer records for customers who had not been in the store in months but still had credit on their accounts, then use that credit to buy the person items that counted toward that quota without the customer’s knowledge or permission. Of course, when the company found out about it those people would be fired immediately.
    By the time I left that job, I came to the conclusion that the company deliberately set up unrealistic quotas, at a level that was very difficult to meet regularly but not impossible, precisely to produce this result. If the employees do not make the quotas, the company can do things like deny them raises by claiming that they are lucky not to be fired. Or if employees go crooked and make the quotas, then the company can reap the profits the crooked employee is making for them, then let that employee go once they can no longer claim plausible denibility and keep their hands clean. Either way, the company wins and the employees lose.
    I was glad when I got out of it.

  • Xavier

    Okay, I just found this (Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us ) referenced in a Brazilian blog I follow, and it seems too on-topic for this thread to let the chance pass by. It’s a RSA animated lecture about motivation, with a focus in the workplace. The speaker makes a case for why the “carrot and sticks” approach doesn’t work as common sense indicates it would. As the speaker says, “When the profit motive gets unmoored from the purpose motive, bad things happen”.
    By the way, it introduced me to RSA Animate, which is really, really awesome.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/ministerformagic Pius Thicknesse

    By the time I left that job, I came to the conclusion that the company deliberately set up unrealistic quotas, at a level that was very difficult to meet regularly but not impossible, precisely to produce this result. If the employees do not make the quotas, the company can do things like deny them raises by claiming that they are lucky not to be fired. Or if employees go crooked and make the quotas, then the company can reap the profits the crooked employee is making for them, then let that employee go once they can no longer claim plausible denibility and keep their hands clean. Either way, the company wins and the employees lose.

    Again and again the parallels to the Soviet Union just astound me.
    Konstantin Simis once wrote of how the USSR, in desperation, put some Army officers in key positions in critical factories to try and stem corruption in materials procurement for fulfilling the yearly plan quotas. It didn’t work, because the corruption problem was too deeply rooted. If you ran a factory in the USSR, you had to bribe, cheat and steal to obtain the necessary raw materials to make production quotas. So one of the Army people Simis talked to said he gave up and turned a blind eye, resulting in production going back to “normal” (i.e. with the usual procurement methods of bribing the delivery guy at the, say, metals plant to send over the right volume of steel so his factory could rework them into whatever, and so on).
    Iin the USSR, not fulfilling the plan could get someone from high up breathing down a lot of peoples’ necks, and forfeiture of the bonus wage for plan overfulfillment; in some cases people simply resorted to doctoring the material output figures reported back to Gosplan. The inevitable retail shortage of such goods should come as no surprise to anyone.
    The same “Stakhanovite” unrealism of the mandated quotas now in widespread use in the USA, just as they were in the USSR, has spawned the same culture of widespread fear of lack of fulfillment of mandated quotas, spawning the same reckless outright cheating, fraud and fakery by people willing to be dishonest, and the same fear of getting one’s ass severely (metaphorically) kicked among the more honest.
    I think this sort of weird morphing together of the worst of capitalism and communism is not what John Kenneth Galbraith exactly envisioned when, in 1977, he said the two systems were taking on more of each other’s features. At that time, he was commenting that the USSR was adopting certain reforms such as introducing greater price responsiveness into retail-sector products, and that the USA was expanding its welfare state and government interventionism.
    Truly a warped mirror image it is today.

  • ajay

    Pius: based on that comment, I think you would really like a book called “Red Plenty” by Francis Spufford. Just published this Christmas in the UK; not sure if it’s out elsewhere.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    I am reminded of my first job after college, where I worked retail at a Game Crazy store.

    By the time I left that job, I came to the conclusion that the company deliberately set up unrealistic quotas, at a level that was very difficult to meet regularly but not impossible, precisely to produce this result. If the employees do not make the quotas, the company can do things like deny them raises by claiming that they are lucky not to be fired. Or if employees go crooked and make the quotas, then the company can reap the profits the crooked employee is making for them, then let that employee go once they can no longer claim plausible denibility and keep their hands clean. Either way, the company wins and the employees lose.

    Yeah, but you got to watch that cracktastic training video with the ludicrously racially insensitive jive-talking-white-girl

  • http://www.karennilsen.com Karen Nilsen

    This discussion fascinates me and echoes so many of the things I’ve felt but couldn’t express over the last six years. I just quit my job at a therapeutic program run by one of the largest corporations in the “helping” industry. True capitalism and corporatism have nothing to do with each other as far as I’m concerned. My parents successfully ran a small business to promote their art careers. They put their heart and soul into their work. Sure, they didn’t make a lot of money. But they made enough. And in their minds, the money was just a by-product of the process of bringing their vision to the world. Now that I’ve quit my day job, I’m planning to follow in their footsteps, as I’ve witnessed a rare opportunity in the growing e-book market for indie writers whose work doesn’t quite fit the commercialized corporate model.
    Capitalism is about small business and competition. Corporatism is about companies so large the government can’t regulate them and monopoly. There’s a book I recommend called Rescuing Capitalism from Corporatism: Greed and the American Corporate Culture by John David Rose. He published this book independently, as I suspect the monolith corporations controlling the publishing industry were loth to put a title like this on the shelves. As far as I know, it’s only available on Amazon.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Begone

  • Caravelle

    Italics

    smash!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/lorik922 Lori

    Plus, if you took the money used to give (real) raises to CEOs etc. and put it into raises for the line workers and such, it probably wouldn’t come out to more than a couple hundred dollars per worker, which wouldn’t really cause inflation the way multiplying personal income by 2-3-4 plus times would.

    This is true. I’ve seen people argue that skyrocketing CEO pay doesn’t really hurt workers since spreading it around would only give each worker a trivial increase in pay. That’s actually why spreading the money around would be beneficial. It’s too small an amount to cause problematic inflation, but workers would greatly benefit from having the money circulating in the real economy rather than chasing dubious investments.

  • http://jamoche.livejournal.com Jamoche

    Whoever was helping someone find a place to live in the DC area, Copperbadge on LJ is trying to help find someone a roommate: http://copperbadge.livejournal.com/3174325.html

  • Nick

    So, it’s the 20th century and the guy who looks after the horses can’t understand it. Sure, there’s this new-fangled “automobile”. But his team does a great job of looking after those horses. Why did they just cut 40% of his team? And they say there may have to be a pay cut. It’s insane, isn’t it? But that’s how it goes. Newspapers are dying. I wish I had something optimistic to say to Fred about that, after all Fred isn’t a bad person and it seems he isn’t adapting very well to the world where Newspapers are obsolete. But I don’t have anything.
    There is a chap (let’s call him Bob) who, I suppose, manages my team in some sense. And the company has a big boss (let’s call him Phil). And in 2010 they both wanted to motivate their staff. So that’s two people who want to motivate me.
    Now, Bob is a smart guy and so he went and looked up how to motivate staff. Turns out that just like “How do bees fly?” and “Why does my headphone cord get tangled up in my pocket?” this is something that has been researched by actual bona fide scientists. And so he gave us one day a week to do what we like. Not “whatever the hell we like”. Not fishing, or watching movies. But whatever out of the always too long list of things that the company would want us to do at some point. Not what’s “most urgent”, according to some meeting or according to the big boss, just any of the things that need doing.
    This works. Everybody is motivated because they are self-determined. If they feel that X needs doing and isn’t getting the attention it requires, they can work on that for a whole day every week until they’re happy with it. If they can persuade someone else the same, they can work together for that one day a week. We get lots of good work done, things that niggled but never got management attention, and everybody is happier.
    Phil on the other hand got where he is as a Salesman. So his motivational plan was to give everybody one month salary bonus if the company exceeded its financial targets. How does the company do that, and how do we make it happen? Well, if you’re a salesman, you go out and sell. If you’re anybody else, you just do your job as usual, try not to incur any tremendous expenses and hope.
    I’m sure Phil thinks his plan worked. We exceeded our targets and everybody got a bonus (well, I got an email saying I received a bonus, I can’t say I checked my bank account). But nobody at the company is poor. We don’t have someone making minimum wage and trying to feed and clothe three kids. So a month’s salary doesn’t mean every much. Maybe someone buys a nice piece of furniture, then they forget about it. If we were focused on the money we could work for a crappy company that has to pay high salaries to retain staff.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X