Working People: the Real Value Add Sector of the Economy

I recently read an interesting piece in the UK Daily Telegraph about the demise of the traditional working class. It set me thinking and I posted a response, that I include below with a few changes, which gathered a lot of favorable responses about the interesting nature of the analysis.

‘We ran our manufacturing business on the basis that the only people, who really added value to it, were those who worked on our assembly lines making the product and those who designed said product. Everyone else was not only dependent on this value add, but also their job was to organize, support and facilitate this value add and get waste out of the process. This is not to say their role was unimportant; simply that it was a support role not the core value adding process.

I suppose this has influenced my societal attitudes. I don’t know whether working people constitute a class, but those who make our goods, grow our food, mine coal, oil or gas and provide the basic services of power, water, sewers, nursing, and so on still have my respect and I tend to see everyone else as dependent on them. Though often these days many hardly knowing they exist: the invisible working people. Like Mexican immigrant labor tending the flower beds in Palm Springs I have seen when I visited people simply ignore as if they are not there. They looked stunned when I say hi to them each morning as if someone has seen through their invisibility cloak.

And nowadays those who work to add value support an immense parasitic class (and it acts like a class or series of classes distorting our economy in their own self interest) that add no value but take a lot of income. They include much, but not all, of the City of London and Wall Street. Those parts that do nothing to facilitate the productive process but merely act as a giant casino. And the layers of unnecessary bureaucracy in local and central government and in major corporations. We have lost sight of value add and the economy suffers and becomes the play thing of left and right wing elites and the game players in organizations.

I don’t feel nostalgic for a past with great poverty, but look forward to a better future organized around value add manufacturing, and services, and a society that rewards real value add not the bs variety.

About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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