Archive for July 17th, 2012

In case you missed it: Is Washington too soft on Beijing?

- July 17th, 2012

Things are heating up in southeast Asia as China flexes its military, economic, and diplomatic muscles by challenging several neighbours on maritime borders. Read more…

It’s the productivity, stupid

- July 17th, 2012

Mitt Romney
How I wish a guy like Mitt Romney or Jim Flaherty started talking this way… What matters is not how many jobs we create. It’s how productive and rich we are. Not having to spend $2,000 on a computer makes you richer, especially if your income is low. An excellent read – grab a coffee and go through the whole thing:

Did Mitt Romney and Bain Capital help office-supply retailer Staples create 88,000 jobs? 43,000? 252? Actually, Staples probably destroyed 100,000 jobs while creating millions of new ones.

Since 1986, Staples has opened 2,000 stores, eliminating the jobs of distributors and brokers who charged nasty markups for paper and office supplies. But it enabled hundreds of thousands of small (and not so small) businesses to stock themselves cheaply and conveniently and expand their operations.

It’s the same story elsewhere. Apple employs just 47,000 people, and Google under 25,000. Like Staples, they have destroyed many old jobs, like making paper maps and pink “While You Were Out” notepads. But by lowering the cost of doing business they’ve enabled innumerable entrepreneurs to start new businesses and employ hundreds of thousands, even millions, of workers world-wide—all while capital gets redeployed more effectively.

This process happens during every business cycle and always, always creates jobs. Yet is ignored by policy mavens.

It is now four years after the wheels fell off our financial system. The government has tried every gimmick to revive the economy: fiscal stimulus, monetary easing, loan write-downs, foreclosure modifications—all duds. It seems like no one remembers how an economy creates jobs anymore. The right answer, in fact the only answer, for jobs and better living standards, is productivity.