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At one time in my life my wife and I ran a mom and pop manufacturing company - making baking mixes for the health food market. We did a little thought experiement - a what if.

What if we cornered the entire market of Quebec? Well that would probably double our size. Our total employment would go from 2 to 2 1/2 with that 1/2 person needed for demostrations/sales

So if we increased by the same amount again, caputring all of Canada?

Well - we invest in packaging equipment and stop using machines that could be found in any third world country. We also hire another 1/2 of a person in the sales end of things.

So let us assume that we swollow the US - and are now about 5 times bigger still. What does the employment situation look like? We would need to add 2 people to do manufacturing as we would no longer be able to do it ourselves. We might need a thrid person to assist with various warehouse type work. 1 person for a billing/collections department. Sales would also need to grow with perhaps 3 additional people.

To summerise

Current Size - 2 staff
doubling  - 2 1/2 staf
trippling - 3 staff
15 x increase - 10 staff

Look at it this way - with the same efficiency that we originally started with - up to 30 people could be employed.

As far as I can tell, large scale capitalism has nothing to do with creation of jobs - well not quite - it destroys jobs and concentrates wealth. The anarchist critique of Communism - that it is state Capitalism starts to sound reasonable. At some level there is no practical difference between Capitalism and Communism when a multinatinals grow large enough.

I find myself disagreeing with the standard definitions of "what is Capitalism". These definitions talk about efficiency and cost. My impression is effeciency is not directly a part of Capitalism at all, but rather creativity, flexability, and the ability to take risks. What we have is not Capitialism, but the remenents of Capitalism.

Another thing we discovered when manufacturing baking mixes was that sections of the Canadian economy were dead - they were controlled by nationals and multinationals and it was not possible to bring new products to market in them. The main stream food industry seemd to fit the bill. We needed speciality chocolate chips. We were unable to get them in Canada. Eventually we found a company from California in the health food industry - not the main food industry who was able to supply us with the chocolate chips we wanted.

That's not completely true - Kraft was willing to supply us. I don't remember the exact amount but the figure 20 tonnes seems to be in my head. The most we ever used at one time was, I believe, about 1/2 of a tonne.

It's not that multinationals are particularly nasty either. We had some bad experiences with mid sized companies. But Ault Foods (a division of Kraft) was willing to bend over backwards to supply us. We were talking to their sales rep about purchasing a skid of milk powder. That their sales rep had the time to even speak to us was surprising. That they were willing to sell such small quantities was even more so.

No I don't think we need to get poorer. I think that life styles will change. I think that we need more government understanding and control of businesses.


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Mon Feb 5th, 2007 at 12:22:44 PM EST

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