Posts Tagged ‘Henry George’

Low wages mean low productivity

source: Wikimedia Commons

source: Wikimedia Commons

source: Wikimedia Commons

source: Wikimedia Commons

[L]abor is most productive where its wages are largest. Poorly paid labor is inefficient labor, the world over…. The efficiency of labor always increases with the habitual wages of labor—for high wages mean increased self-respect, intelligence, hope, and energy.

–Henry George (Progress & Poverty, Book IX, Chapter 2)

George gives plenty of examples from his time, but modern examples abound too.  I happened on a 2006 article (pdf) by Wayne Cascio comparing how Sam’s Club and Costco treat their labor.  The short answer is: Costco treats their workers much better, including higher wages, better benefits, and more job security. And, the article continues, the results are consistent with Henry George. Based on 2005 data,

 Costco’s hourly labor rates are more than 40 percent higher than those at Sam’s Club ($17 versus $10.11), but when employee productivity is considered (sales per employee), Costco’s labor costs are lower than those at Sam’s Club (5.55 percent at Costco versus 6.25 percent at Sam’s Club).

Similar differences are cited in sales per square foot, and operating profit per employee.  Obviously, the figures nearly a decade later would be different, but I suspect the comparison would be similar.

Too much to post

That’s why I’ve not posted much lately, there is simply too much to post about. So I need to accept that some things will be missed, but here are two:
(1) UK Georgist journal Land & Liberty “commissioned ten top American economic reformers to address Barack Obama’s election call for ‘change for America’ and to offer ideas for a programme for President Obama’s White House.”  Results are in the Winter ’08-’09 issue, which unfortunately hasn’t been posted yet on their web site, but one can request a subscription.

(2) Saving Communities has posted the entire contents of the first issue (January 8, 1887) of Henry George’s weekly newspaper, The Standard.

Henry George books are on line

All of Henry George’s major works are now available for free download, but not all from the same place.  Here are the links.  Many of the speeches and articles have also been posted but I don’t know if anyone has inventoried the links.

Boom Bust Bailout

Henry George had a lot to say about economic meltdowns, and it’s time to review.

What causes a meltdown?

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