Turning Japanese?

Several German papers carried the news of an open letter asserting a “collective cut of working hours” from 40 down to 30 without any paycut!

The 100 signing authors – politicians, professors, unionists, and clerics – argue that Germany’s excess labor supply causes underemployment which is best solved by a redistribution of working schedule among all employable rather people.

As a salary-dependent guy I would not deny such a payrise. I however doubt the impact the letter’s signers try to promote.
Given the stance of Germany as an exporter of machinery and cars such a move would probably deepen capital employment, i.e. more workforce will be replaced by machines and robots in order to keep profits constant.
Rationalization like that happened during the 1970’s in Germany and during Japans “lost decade” in the 1990’s.

But more disturbing about rationalization is the result of incremental innovation. While entrepreneurs focus on optimizing tools and processes for the sake of market share they eventually end up with nothing.
As long as potential and existing entrepreneurs do not question padt and present business models that race for efficiency will lead to inNOvation (no innovation).
Just look at Chinas lenghty list of process patents, its economic setting as the world’s workbench and its struggle for innovation.

Don’t we ever learn?


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