Monday, April 19, 2010
Getting paid for doing...Nothing?
There was an interesting letter to the editor in the Dallas Morning News the other day. The writer, Rob Lofland from Lindale, Texas, addressed the issue of jobs and the way business is managed today. He said, "There has been a colossal shift in the way management, especially management of large, publicly -traded companies, view their responsibilities."
He goes on to say that in the past 20 0r 30 years management has shifted the focus of that responsibility away from the product, from consumers, from workers, to "asset management and creation of wealth for stockholders and management."
Later in his letter he writes, "Much of the effort of those who run the large companies and all the effort of those on Wall Street and related business actually create nothing. They are getting paid exorbitantly to move money around."
Loftland acknowledges that there is nothing inherently wrong or evil in that, but he does wonder about the impact on jobs and consumers.
I wonder, too.
If the focus is always on the bottom line and profits to shareholders, the worker and the consumer get short-changed. And those are the people who are more important to the long-term success of a company than the shareholder. Without the worker to produce the product and the consumer to buy the product, the company would cease to exist. And that would be bad news for the shareholders.
As I mulled this all over deciding whether to blog about it, I couldn't help but see the parallel in the business side of writing. For the past 20 or 30 years the focus has shifted from the books and the writers to profits and marketing. The days when authors were appreciated and rewarded for writing a good book are gone. Now they are appreciated and rewarded for having a platform, for being a good salesperson, and for having a hot new concept.
Maybe I'm just a curmudgeon, but I liked the old days better.