Was the increased ruthlessness of Western economies since the early 80s good?

Nov 2014
238
ph
#1
I think it is fair to say that since the early 80s, Western economies and management culture has gotten a lot more ruthless, especially against slackers and the merely good enough, which would have been tolerated in the softer and kinder period before the 80s in the West, but this has resulted in Western economies becoming a lot more efficient than they were in the 60s and 70s, whole in the same time the compensation and rewards for the go getter type A social climber personality has increased immensely, is this a good this a good thing, or is the genteel period in Western countries and corporations before the 80s better for society social cohesion as a whole, and on a related question, is social cohesion heavily overrated, especially when there are competitive and efficiency gains to be made in a more hobbesian gladiator like ultracompetive environment?
 
Jan 2010
4,265
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#2
I don’t think this at all fair to say unless you either extend it to the whole world or restrict it to one country. China is quite ruthless in pursuing its economic goals.

Having said that, I believe that the global economy has become increasingly “winner take all.”
That’s given us a world with material resources that people in, say, 1960, could only dream of.

Is that good or bad?
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,367
US
#3
The OP is broad and sweeping. Let’s look at the U.S. The period that followed the conclusion of the Civil War until the Teddy Rossevelt administration was called the “Gilded Age” and the era of robber barons, a full unbridled period of hands off philosophy by the government. One could easily assert that this era was more ruthless. As for the other”western nations,” can the OPor others provide a period where there were ore social and human services, I. E., safety nets for its citizens (and non) than the last 30 plus years?
 
Dec 2011
4,363
Iowa USA
#4
The OP is broad and sweeping. Let’s look at the U.S. The period that followed the conclusion of the Civil War until the Teddy Rossevelt administration was called the “Gilded Age” and the era of robber barons, a full unbridled period of hands off philosophy by the government. One could easily assert that this era was more ruthless. As for the other”western nations,” can the OPor others provide a period where there were ore social and human services, I. E., safety nets for its citizens (and non) than the last 30 plus years?
Dear Rodger, Technology had not made food, (basic, rather than "status symbol") housing, and clothing relatively affordable in the Gilded Age!

There is no realistic comparison to be made between an era where most people faced subsistence as their challenge, as had their ancestors, and an era in which broad-based social norms fed the very high expectation that "your children deserve to live better than you do!".
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,957
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#5
Market economies know different "ages" and what we have seen after WWI was the increasing influence of Socialist ideologies on our societies which changed the equilibrium a bit in favor of the working class, the common people and so on ... this was due to the world competition between the two great models [market economy and Socialism]. Western governments preferred to avoid the social clash, conceding this and that [and also with a nice and wide intervention of the public capital in the market]. Overall because population and economies were growing without problems.

To be accurate it was in the 70's that this strategy begun to change, even before of the great crisis [1973] the process of growth saw salaries increasing [in percentage] more than profits. Then the energetical crisis showed that the system was weak. To this we need to add that the world abandoned the monetary stability [not a little step!].

The main problem was that, after decades of increasing demand, the consumers [full of goods!] felt a diminished necessity to buy ... the demand decreased: crisis of over-production.

And finally ... inflation.

The market economies needed to change paradigm and to increase the financial sector to sustain the demand. Industrialization was going to become post-industrialization, and the involvement of the Asian giants in the Western economical system generated the transformation of our economies towards service economies.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,367
US
#6
Dear Rodger, Technology had not made food, (basic, rather than "status symbol") housing, and clothing relatively affordable in the Gilded Age!

There is no realistic comparison to be made between an era where most people faced subsistence as their challenge, as had their ancestors, and an era in which broad-based social norms fed the very high expectation that "your children deserve to live better than you do!".
If you read the OP you will see the main point is in regard to “ruthlessness” and “slackers.” So, for me, the issue isn’t,t technological advancements, but a willingness to offer assistance. Certainly today economies, which are part of societies administered by governments, are more willing to offer assistance. Just because one can doesn’t,t mean one will. I believe those in control of the economy are more generous today. And, in reference to your post, yes times were tougher, but the economies of the past, outside of charities, in general did not care. That is why, in large part, times were tougher.
 
Dec 2011
4,363
Iowa USA
#7
If you read the OP you will see the main point is in regard to “ruthlessness” and “slackers.” So, for me, the issue isn’t,t technological advancements, but a willingness to offer assistance. Certainly today economies, which are part of societies administered by governments, are more willing to offer assistance. Just because one can doesn’t,t mean one will. I believe those in control of the economy are more generous today. And, in reference to your post, yes times were tougher, but the economies of the past, outside of charities, in general did not care. That is why, in large part, times were tougher.
Actually, the largest reason why the 1880s were tougher had to with the incredible difference in labor inputs to produce food, shelter and clothing. So in a sense, I agree that I was going off topic certainly, the reason that I emphasized the importance of the societal expectations is that we can appreciate that the loss of status and security is more troubling to individuals than living at same condition as one's ancestors. Whether we today are objectively healthier and eating more chicken, pork and beef or not, the phenomena of losing ground socially is happening thanks to "winner take all". The consequences for a democratic republic are well, for lack of two-dollar word, apparent....

In the capitalist world, reducing labor input leads to great productivity which (until rather recently in some economies) has led to greater purchasing power. Once some 90 to 97 percent of workers aren't producing food, shelter and clothing, a policy of rushing into automation of other careers (think truckers for instance) is certain to have negative social outcomes.
 
Dec 2011
4,363
Iowa USA
#8
Market economies know different "ages" and what we have seen after WWI was the increasing influence of Socialist ideologies on our societies which changed the equilibrium a bit in favor of the working class, the common people and so on ... this was due to the world competition between the two great models [market economy and Socialism]. Western governments preferred to avoid the social clash, conceding this and that [and also with a nice and wide intervention of the public capital in the market]. Overall because population and economies were growing without problems.

To be accurate it was in the 70's that this strategy begun to change, even before of the great crisis [1973] the process of growth saw salaries increasing [in percentage] more than profits. Then the energetical crisis showed that the system was weak. To this we need to add that the world abandoned the monetary stability [not a little step!].

The main problem was that, after decades of increasing demand, the consumers [full of goods!] felt a diminished necessity to buy ... the demand decreased: crisis of over-production.

And finally ... inflation.

The market economies needed to change paradigm and to increase the financial sector to sustain the demand. Industrialization was going to become post-industrialization, and the involvement of the Asian giants in the Western economical system generated the transformation of our economies towards service economies.
Well, in USA the public temperature is probably too warm to allow the Davos crowd another "bite at the apple" after the joys of Glass-Steagal repeal, but my tendency is to veer too close to contemporary politics.
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,367
US
#9
Actually, the largest reason why the 1880s were tougher had to with the incredible difference in labor inputs to produce food, shelter and clothing. So in a sense, I agree that I was going off topic certainly, the reason that I emphasized the importance of the societal expectations is that we can appreciate that the loss of status and security is more troubling to individuals than living at same condition as one's ancestors. Whether we today are objectively healthier and eating more chicken, pork and beef or not, the phenomena of losing ground socially is happening thanks to "winner take all". The consequences for a democratic republic are well, for lack of two-dollar word, apparent....

In the capitalist world, reducing labor input leads to great productivity which (until rather recently in some economies) has led to greater purchasing power. Once some 90 to 97 percent of workers aren't producing food, shelter and clothing, a policy of rushing into automation of other careers (think truckers for instance) is certain to have negative social outcomes.
This is a sidebar as well, but your post has interesting sociological inferences. When you say, “losing ground socially,” and “social expectations,” I agree with your assessment. So maybe the OP is simply just a matter of perception, as opposed to fact. I have children within my own home, nephews, and friend’s children whose expectations are rather high, when it comes to what they believe they deserve. Our ancestors had no such expectation, which is, for me, a further indication that today’s economies are not less ruthless than the recent or not so recent past. To the contrary, It is much kinder, so to say. Social standing is not much of a consideration when one has concern about the necessities. Only those who are generally comfortable and provided for have the luxury to consider this.
 
Dec 2011
4,363
Iowa USA
#10
This is a sidebar as well, but your post has interesting sociological inferences. When you say, “losing ground socially,” and “social expectations,” I agree with your assessment. So maybe the OP is simply just a matter of perception, as opposed to fact. I have children within my own home, nephews, and friend,s children whose expectations are rather high, when it comes to what they believe they deserve. Ourancestors had no such expectation, which is, for me, a further indication that today,seconomies are not less ruthless than the recent or not so recent past. To the contrary, It is much kinder, so to say. Social standing is not much of a consideration when one has concern about the necessities. Only those who are generally comfortable and provided for have the luxury to consider this.
My work is done here. I have communicated my main point!

Generally comfortable and provided for describes a much, much wider portion of society relative to the Gilded Age of pre-TR, Taft and WW USA, absolutely.