‘The Expolitation of US Worker Productivity’

The chart below from Sociological Images (“The Exploitation of U.S. Worker Productivity”) shows how the productivity of US workers has risen steadily over the past four decades.  But wages have not kept pace, as most American workers haven’t gotten a raise — in real terms — since the early 1970s.


One response to “‘The Expolitation of US Worker Productivity’

  1. I’ve seen this graph before and I have a few problems with it. I believe it can be a bit misleading. Yes the wages have remained constant and productivity increases. When we look at the graph I feel like most people seem to forget about the evolution of our economy and the massive leaps in technology we have accomplished since 1970. The productivity of the worker isn’t solely based on how much more efficient the worker is. One must remember these workers are only more productive because they are managing machines to produce the goods they used to produce by hand. So the productivity statistic is taking into account the extra work the machine is doing the worker couldn’t. Now the salary statistic seems to disregard the fact that these machines also require “payment”. I would go as far as to say that any required money placed into a machine should be considered a salary for that machine. It makes the machine run and keep it performing optimally and it is am expense on the corporation. Anything from electricity to repairs. Looking at it from this perspective now we can notice that the machines require not only constant maintenance but they also cost enormous amounts of money to purchase. The cost of purchase should also be considered as a sort of salary expenditure on the machine. Rather than doing allocated payments to person through the duration which they work for the owner, the “cost of salary” is payed upfront for purchase and then to run the machine. These can not be ignored. But this graph does just that. It disregards the fact that factories are using less people and more machines and it also ignores that these machines cost money. Argue all you want that it’s wrong to think of it this way but I propose you this. All you are to a business is a machine. The business is meant to produce it doesn’t care if what’s doing the work can have intelligence (which seems to be scarce in humans) or a machine preprogrammed to do it. Humans are just machines that move around and have thought, and because we have this ability to think we automatically apply this sort of special value to ourselves. We like to believe we are all special at all times in all situations and that what we think matters. Which realistically isn’t the case whatsoever. But deep down we are all just a machine made from the same blueprint and all with the exact same components. So when looking at a workplace environment we can not look at us as a human being, we must only consider us machines who is stead of getting a lump payment at once receive our cost of maintenance over time.

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