Saturday, October 30, 2010

Movember 2010

It's Movember again, and like I do every year I've donated my upper lip for the cause of mens health.

If you want to support me you can donate my clicking the following link; and donate online using your credit card or paypal.

Or write a cheque payable to Movember Foundation, referencing my registration number 554054 and mailing it to;
Movember Foundation
PO Box 292
VIC 3181

This year I have decided to grow a pencil mo. I've taken as my inspiration these manly men;

The trick seems to be to shave a little bit under and over the mo to get that defined straight line of a pencil.

Go the Mo!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Last one out turn off the lights

Fordism. Many people believe Henry Fords greatest contribution to modern economics to be the invention of the assembly line. This is not the case. The assembly line had been in existence for centuries in one shape or another. Even if we narrow our focus to the use of the assembly line for producing automobiles, the credit still goes to a man gloriously named Ransom Olds, who produced Oldsmobiles. It's true that Ford and his team developed and refined the concept making it ever more efficient, but Fords contribution lies elsewhere. His genius, even if he didn't realize it until later, was to pay his workers higher wages than his competitors. In this day and age it seems completely illogical that paying higher wages makes your business more efficient but this is precisely what Ford discovered. He could pick and choose the best mechanics and workers for his factories, and they travelled from across the country specifically to work for him. Those that did manage to secure a position with Ford tended to be motivated and hang on to their jobs for longer, leading to lower turnover. But the most surprising, unintended and important consequence of all was that he paid his workers well enough to afford the products they had themselves made. He created his own loyal customer base.

Contrast this with our modern age and the business concept of outsourcing. Here the business sees employees as a cost base and does everything it can to reduce wages, to the point of only employing overseas workers as long as they are cheaper. The motor industry embraced this concept greedily and whole heartfelt decades ago. The outsourced the manufacturing jobs to robots. Almost everything else was outsourced overseas to places where labour cost one tenth as much as the US. Notably the executive positions were kept in house. End result being those loyal consumers no longer had jobs to pay for the objects being consumed.  

Today, Detroit, home of Fords once glorious factories is now no more than a ghost town. It's possibly the worlds first ghost city.