Uh-oh. The workers aren’t working as hard as they should..
Employers across the country are worried that workers are getting less done — and there’s evidence they’re right to be spooked.
In the first half of 2022, productivity — the measure of how much output in goods and services an employee can produce in an hour — plunged by the sharpest rate on record going back to 1947, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The productivity plunge is perplexing, because productivity took off to levels not seen in decades when the coronavirus forced an overnight switch to remote work, leading some economists to suggest that the pandemic might spark longer-term growth. It also raises new questions about the shift to hybrid schedules and remote work, as employees have made the case that flexibility helped them work more efficiently. And it comes at a time when “quiet quitting” — doing only what’s expected and no more — is resonating, especially with younger workers.
That certainly is troubling to employers. This article tries to answer why, and the journalist sets off on a quest to find the causes. I’m not going to discuss the answers at all because they’re garbage, but I instead browsed the article to see who they talked to.
“professor of economics…”
“Microsoft chief executive…”
“founder of Career/Life Alliance Services…”
“chief operating officer…”
“economist Lawrence H. Summers…” (Fuck Larry Summers)
“chief economist at the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise…”
Wow. That reporter sure spent a lot of time on the phone & email talking to people about why workers were in a slump. There’s talk about burnout, and the pandemic, and the recession, and the labor shortage, and workers setting more boundaries, and “quiet quitting”, but I noticed that someone was missing. There’s someone — a lot of someones — nobody talked to.
Gosh, that’s a peculiar omission. You try to find out why worker productivity is down, so you go talk to the employers to try to figure out why, and you get a lot of fuzzy, vague answers and shrugs. I wonder why?
My personal answer would be that what I’ve experienced and learned in the last few years is that I don’t like managers and tech CEOs and bosses and economists and think tanks and executives and good goddamn, fuck Larry Summers and why the hell do journalists still talk to him? It’s clear to me now, at last, in my old age, that capitalist businesses and institutions don’t care about workers except as hands and brains and eyes to be exploited to make money for the middle men and executives, and that very little of the vast profits management makes will trickle down to the people who do the work. Instead, they’ll use that money to buy politicians and found new companies that will find fresh ways to squeeze blood from the masses. Oh, you brought home a few pennies from a day’s work? Then you can afford to spend them on insurance and health care, those executives love to wring out your pockets, too. What’s this? You need a place to live? All the houses have been bought by landlords, who are eager to raise your rents. And if anyone notices they’re being gouged, well, we’ll distract them with lurid tales of drag queens reading children’s books and trans people using the bathroom and black folk protesting the denial of their rights and if that’s not enough, we’ve got a well-armed paramilitary police force staffed with bullies and haters.
That’s my answer. The system is so broken that the curtain hiding the machinations of the CEOs and big money executives is in tatters, and we are starting to see how our labor is stolen by the people we used to trust to manage our workplace, our communities, our country. Why should I work harder? Any extra effort is going to gain me nothing, because it’s going to be siphoned off by some asshole in a suit with a McMansion and a vacation home and an overpriced car and a condo in Cabo, paying private school tuition to keep their kids away from my kids, all built on my faith and trust and confidence in the system.
Well, guys, my faith and trust and confidence have been blown to flinders in the last few years. You’re going to have to find some other sucker to play your con game. I suspect a lot of workers are feeling the same way.
But you won’t know because you don’t talk to them.