June 24, 2024

Three Charts That Illustrate America’s Political and Economic Malaise

Galloway doesn’t dispute any of that, but he chalks up the wage-productivity gap to a few fuzzier factors.

No. 1, he says, was that “we just decided that the consumer was king.”

In his estimation, the shift from an economy driven by manufacturing to one powered by consumers has had the pernicious effect of reorienting America’s business sector around catering to disgruntled, entitled customers.

He recalled how, as a child, his family would take its busted television to the repair shop and foot the bill to fix it. That’s no longer possible or even practical in most cases, as globalization and automation have driven the price of electronics so low that it usually makes more sense to just replace your flat-screen when it goes on the fritz.

Now, he said, “you expect a nice man in a brown suit to come take it and give you a new one, and a handwritten apology note from a customer service.”

To demonstrate the growing power of consumers, Galloway charts the number of goods carried each year by shipping containers, which increased from 102 million metric tons in 1980 to 1.83 billion metric tons as of 2017.

Factor No. 2 is what Galloway calls “the gross idolatry of ‘innovators,’” which has exacerbated economic inequality by heaping huge rewards on tech entrepreneurs, while harming working people.

Time magazine — which is owned by Mark Benioff, the founder of the customer service software company Salesforce — regularly features Silicon Valley titans on the cover of its annual “Person of the Year” issue, for instance.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/27/us/politics/scott-galloway-economy.html

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