Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why Unemployment Is Good Business

“Business is business. The objective of industry is to make money. We are determined to make money. We concentrate solely on that aim. If we are satisfied that a billion-dollar merger will mean greater profits, we go ahead and engineer it.

“One of the easiest ways to cut down expenses being to cut down salary and wage rolls, we of course lay men off right and left. If elderly workers have become less nimble because of their long years of service, they are the logical ones to be dropped first. Naturally, the greater resources at the command of the enlarged combinations are unstintedly used to acquire the very latest labor-saving machinery, enabling us to dismiss still more wage-earners.

“In our eyes the most valuable executive is the one who can produce the most with the least amount of labor—the smallest number of workers and the smallest payroll. Our up-to-the-minute methods make it feasible for us to dispense with enormous numbers of workers—it is not uncommon for us to install one machine which enables half a dozen men to do what formerly took half a hundred or even a hundred men.

“Yes, we know that through our creation of gigantic enterprises—manufacturing, distributing, retailing, and every other kind—and through our vast expenditure on research, on invention, on machinery, we have caused grave dislocation of employment; but instead of being criticized for all this technological unemployment, we should be commended, since it is conclusive proof of our mastery of the science of management. What happens to all the hordes of workers we release is not our concern. Our responsibility begins and ends with running our business with surpassing efficiency, which means with a minimum of human labor.

“No, the unemployment thus created does not enter in any way into our calculations. Our bounden duty is to exercise every ounce of ingenuity we possess to do away with jobs, not to create them. Our objective is money, not more and more men, but fewer and fewer men.

“We are much too engrossed in increasing profits to give a thought to what happens because of our reducing the number of workers. How to take care of unemployment is a problem for others to solve. Let George do that.... We haven’t the time to bother with it. It isn’t our worry.”

------Forbes Magazine, April, 1930, "Are U.S. Business Leaders Morons?"


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Unknown said...

You wouldn't happen to have a link to the original article, would you? Thanks.

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