And a Triplet…

If you doubted the accuracy of yesterday’s twin quotes, the second of which suggested that the overclass is enjoying a luxury boom even as the mass of the population sinks toward and through 99er status, consider this item from today’s edition of The New York Times:

The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever.

American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.66 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or non-inflation-adjusted terms.

Corporate profits have been going gangbusters for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history.

This breakneck pace can be partly attributed to strong productivity growth — which means companies have been able to make more with less.

4 Replies to “And a Triplet…”

  1. “This breakneck pace can be partly attributed to strong productivity growth — which means companies have been able to make more with less.”

    When I read that quote the first time, it irked me. My understanding of productivity is that it is a ratio of cost of inputs to revenue generated. Productivity can be increased by doing the same amount with less, doing less by reducing your inputs by an even greater percentage, or by doing more with more as long as your returns increase by a greater percentage than the inputs.

    I don’t this is an entirely pedantic clarification because it illustrates pretty starkly that productivity, often represented as an unqualified good, often simply means that a bunch of people were laid off, their jobs exported, or took cuts in their compensation so a company could widen its profit margins and increase productivity.

  2. Yes, and it’s one of the main reasons why it now takes something like 4 or 5% economic growth to yield any new jobs at all.

    The corporate capitalist overclass is simply immensely far out of control. Alas, it also owns the means of communication and all the politicians.

  3. This should show pretty clearly that the lack of jobs in this economy has nothing to do with a lack of profitability in the private sector. I wonder how those clamoring for continuation of “job creating” tax cuts can sort out the contradictions?

    To be honest, I’m even wondering how increased demand can really create more jobs… it seems that we’ve reached such a point of efficiency that further demand will just result in more productivity from existing workers, rather than opening opportunities for new hires.

  4. Well, ruling elites never admit their rule creates problems, and they only know one possible solution — more for us.

    Supply-side economics has always been bullshit. But that has also never stopped our overclass from repeating its claim.

    The problem they face now, however, is quite serious. In order to extricate their system from chronic depression, they need a huge rate of overall growth. But, if that were ever to happen, it would further increase the rate of ecocide. The energy prices it would trigger would probably kill the boom.

    So, these people are simply partying like it’s 1999.

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