Thursday, November 8, 2007

What changed back? (TAP; "Who's to Blame for the Brave New Economy?")

Something changed to make [American CEOs and Wall Street financiers] greed and lack of social concern far more dangerous to our economy and democracy. What was it?"

Something changed BACK during the boom; what was that?

As a cab driver, not an economist, I find it easier to understand simple motivations than a whole economy. During the boom, as during the fair-share growth period following the great compression", high growth meant everybody could make money so everybody was allowed to make money (if you ask me) -- so the pressure on labor was off.

Post-postwar prosperity to boom, productivity growth sloughed off so the profit grasping pressure on labor was high.

I think the same motive thing is what allows CEOs to water down their corporations' stock with untoward options -- stock holders would not tolerate such chicanery if profits were not pumped so high by the looting of (unorganized) American labor. boom the pressure came back on because today's super-bean counter corporations needed the DOUBLE-bubble of simultaneously returned high-productivity gains and the tech-bubble to feel the freedom to ease up on labor. (I know motive isn't the whole explanation for fairer income growth during the double-bubble; I just think that was most of it.)

Of course, the flip side of the motivation thing is that American labor has nothing like the awareness of European labor of the absolute need to organize to protect itself in the free market (and in the national legislature). So you have heavy pressure from the side of the heavy bean-counters and little back pressure from sleeping at the switch American labor: a sure formula for a race to the bottom.

As the fellow said in the post just above (that was me!):
If our media -- and our progressive professors -- would just stop parroting the official federal poverty line and establish a new line from realistic measurements
-- just do that one thing --
that would announce almost a doubling of the number of folks living in poverty (both from the current official number and from 1968's more realistic official number -- which would revolutionize the labor discussion in this country overnight.

Posted by: Denis Drew | Nov 8, 2007 11:43:48 AM

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