Deindustrialization Hits Europe
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  • Kenny

    If you don’t define de-industrialization, Mr. Mead, you will confuse yourself and your readers.

    What I mean this:Is de-industrialization a drop in manufacturing employment or a drop in manufacturing output?

    Without any qualifications to the term ‘de-industrialization,’ it would naturally be taken to mean a drop in output which is not what is happening in the U.S.

  • “The difference between the U.S. and European approaches isn’t that one avoids deindustrialization and the other does not; deindustrialization is coming, one way or another. Rather, the real difference is that the U.S. approach is more likely—unless prevented by statism, subsidies and backward looking policies—to help America find the shortest route to a healthy post-industrial economy.”

    Personally I think this is madness, the idea of a “post-industrial economy.” We have manufacturing industries, transportation industries, service industries, entertainment industries, even agricultural industries. Together they are the economy, and all of them are being revolutionized by advances in labor-saving technologies. Some of them — manufacturing — are additionally exposed to low-wage manufacturing competition overseas and to currency manipulation (also known as protectionism) on the part of our major trading partner in the low-wage world who shall remain nameless.

    You (I assume WRM is the author) put your finger on it last week when you remarked that increasing labor productivity (another name for labor-saving technology) meant that fewer jobs were required to supply all the basic goods and services people need. I pointed out that it is the number of manhours required, not the number of jobs, the number of jobs being equal to the number of manhours divided by the number of hours in the year that define a job.

    Thus a six hour day instead of an eight would lead to a 33% increase in the number of jobs (if my math is right). For two-earner families what’s wrong with a six hour day?

  • What’s wrong with a six-hour day? As Marilyn Monroe tipsily said in The Prince and the Showgirl, “It’s democratic!”

  • The six hour day — now there’s an idea that might pull blacks, browns, and whites together. We could use a little unity.

  • RSC

    Work–even factory work–is not cut and dried. Workers are not interchangeable. Some figure out ways to do things faster, better. They accomplish more. So if you artificially limit the amount of time those people are allowed to work, of course you’re going to get stagnation.

  • JKB

    6-hour day? So a 30 hr week? Are those workers going to tolerate a 25% cut in take home pay?

    And you still have the problem that hours worked pay is not even 50% of the cost of an employee. How do you reduce health benefits by 25%, workers comp by 25%, unemployment insurance by 25%, paid vacation by 25%, etc.

    Unless you cut the entire employee compensation costs (employee pay and benefits, government imposed employee taxes, assessments and insurance), you aren’t freeing up enough funds to hire another person. Since the benefits and government “license to employ” costs are relatively fixed, it makes sense to work the employees more hours and pay the overtime costs.

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