SLAVE technology update
In our dynamic 21st century economy, every state knows it must continuously expand its labor productivity and competitiveness to assure basic survival. Wise leaders understand they’re competing not only against other nations but against the machine itself. Innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship are desperately required just to stay in the game. A few months back I reported on a dynamic new field known as State Labor and Value Enhancement (SLAVE) by which states are creatively maximizing labor productivity. Being such a critical issue, I think we should update recent developments.
Starting with a fundamental human austerity theory assumption that longer lifespans require delayed retirements, creative SLAVE entrepreneurs have demonstrated that the same principle holds true in other aspects of human work. If the population is healthier, they ask, why not require seven days work rather than five, and 16 hour days as they do in parts of Asia rather than an absurdly unproductive eight? While great strides are being made in increasing the work output of grandparents, it’s clear there’s a great deal of low hanging fruit in the work time expansion process.
But state of the art SLAVE technology goes far beyond the simple expansion of work time. Spain, as noted in the original post, is one of the key leaders in this dynamic field based on its ingenious technological breakthrough that achieves infinite levels of productivity as defined by the key human capital metric of the ratio of work performed divided by wages paid. Here’s an example of how the technology works:
Charo Garcia scrubs toilets for a living and used to do it with a smile. She sweeps, mops and does other dirty work at a public high school, proud to create a better atmosphere for rowdy teens to learn.
“I clean as if they were my own,” said Garcia, who has a 15-year-old son. There’s one problem: Garcia has not been paid for four months.
Garcia’s plight is shared across Spain: legions of blue-collar workers, from gardeners to bricklayers, are working for months without pay as employers struggle to stay afloat in an economy shaking off recession, saddled with colossal debts, and with slim prospects for any major improvement soon.
People like Garcia are caught in a trap: If they quit rather than wait to be laid off, they lose entitlement to unemployment benefits. And if they do bail out, there’s a monster awaiting them — a 21 percent jobless rate.
“There are a lot of people getting up in the morning and going to work and not getting paid,” said Gayle Allard, a labor market expert at IE Business School in Madrid.
It’s a phenomenon seen in eastern Europe as well, with workers in countries like Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia waiting months, in some cases years, for a paycheck from cash-strapped employers.
The article notes that chickens are often better off than the workers, an exciting demonstration of the potential of this technology. Imagine if the cost of human capital could be reduced to that of hens!
Commenter Stephan observed that this technology is also well advanced in the United States as we find in this article from CNN Money entitled “Unpaid jobs: The new normal?”. The article notes that
“With nearly 14 million unemployed workers in America, many have gotten so desperate that they’re willing to work for free. While some businesses are wary of the legal risks and supervision such an arrangement might require, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right”. “People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary, so they’re going to outperform, they’re going to try to please, they’re going to be creative,” says Kelly Fallis, chief executive of Remote Stylist, a Toronto and New York-based startup that provides Web-based interior design services. “From a cost savings perspective, to get something off the ground, it’s huge. Especially if you’re a small business.”
The biggest obstacle in the US to expansion of this needed technology are burdensome regulations. “Unfortunately for many employers hoping to use unpaid labor to advance their business goals, there are strict federal and state rules that workers must be paid the minimum wage and paid for overtime, and must abide by other provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act.”
And there are management issues that need to be overcome, which the article points out in a sub-heading entitled “The challenges of hiring and managing modern day serfs”. As one of the masters notes, “It’s really hard as a single entrepreneur to babysit these people who need to learn. They’re not making any money, so you have to be very patient”. But these are issues which certainly can be overcome, perhaps with some harsher penalties against slackers along with, of course, education. Many SLAVE experts see great potential in studying classical Greek and Roman history, feudalism, and even American history up to about 1860.
The United Kingdom, as would be expected with its impressive history of colonial domination, has recently shown great advances in SLAVE technology as we find from this recent Guardian article entitled “Young jobseekers told to work without pay or lose unemployment benefits”. In this innovative program, young job seekers are required to work for no wages for two months at supermarkets and budget stores in order to qualify for jobless benefits. They’re forced to work up to 30 hours per week and be available between 9:00 am and 10:00 pm. The program obviously has great potential.
Long term though, I’d think the United States is the natural leader in SLAVE technology due to its work ethic and the important historical fact that the culture of slavery itself existed just 150 years ago. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich demonstrated exceptional US leadership the other day in proposing that we end child labor laws and put children 9 years and up to work as janitors. While implying that these youngsters would still be paid a small amount, the fired adult janitors would greatly increase the pool of human capital available for utilization in SLAVE programs. The leverage of child labor will no doubt be copied by nations throughout the world and will be an important tool in productivity enhancement.
That’s it for now. We’ll continue to bring updates on these exciting productivity breakthroughs in future posts.