What an eye opening book. The author does a great job summarizing his points based upon the events of the past 50 years and their impact on the Middle Class in particular. The main point is that when business and working class/labor force goals are aligned a virtuous circle is created whereby the needs of both are met, profits are made, and the economy as a whole prospers. The author’s point is that in the past 30 years in particular business has shifted away from supporting their work force to bolstering the wallets of share holders and wallstreet. The shift to profit at any cost, the movement to driving down labor costs, and seeking out resources in other countries has driven a huge schism between management and labor and unless some serious shifts in business and economics are made the downward spiral will continue.
One salient example to all this is covered in the chapters on Walmart. Walmart’s drive to offer consumers the lowest cost possible has pushed manufacturers to move their factories over seas to China. By pushed that means Walmart has specifically told manufacturers they need to move their factories over seas to reduce cost or their products will not be sold at Walmart. To a business, this is the death kneel and those who have tried to fight this have sufferred tremendously. While consumers get the lowest cost, that cost is then passed on to the rest of the economy causing loss of jobs, increased dependency on welfare programs, and increased dependency on foreign goods and services. Walmarts profits soar but everyone else suffers in the long run. Since reading these chapters I have not shopped at Walmart, instead focusing more on local businesses.
I think the author does a fantastic job presenting his information culled from years of research and reporting on these topics. There is clearly a bias here towards labor and the middle class, and I would like to read some counter points to his arguements to make a more informed decision on these topics. Still, what I have learned is very jarring.
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