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Timesizing News, December 17-31, 2002
[Commentary] ©2002 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 622, Porter Sq, Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-623-8080


12/31/2002  primitive timesizing in the news, aka flickerings of strategic hope -

12/28-30/2002  timesizing consciousness in the news, aka flickerings of strategic hope -
  1. 12/28 Primal passions steal the limelight in 2003 - Food, family, love and vanity will drive consumer behavior according to trend expert Faith Popcorn, PRNewswire 12/27/2002 12:57 EST via AOLNews.
    NEW YORK...- According to Faith Popcorn, America's foremost trend expert and founder of the marketing consultancy BrainReserve, 2003 looks to be a year when some of the most basic human needs and emotions will have the biggest impact of the consumer marketplace....
    Family First - Expect a sharp re-ordering of our priorities in 2003 and beyond. There will be a new focus on "need reduction strategies" in order to increase time spent with family rather than time spent working and making money. Instead of living to work, people will once again just be working to live. Animating this social shift are the continued trauma-waves of 9/11/01, as well as family pressure (21% of teens rate lack of time with their parents as one of their greatest concerns) and the tainting of the single-minded pursuit of money due to the financial scandals of 2002. As part of this, a 4-day workweek movement, called Family Fridays, will emerge....
    [Good, Family Fridays should get under the radar of the radicals disguised as conservatives in the White House, and Take Back Your Time Day on Oct. 24 should synergize nicely with this.]

  2. [we have an unusual coincidence conducive to shorter worktime this year]
    12/30 When Christmas is a Wednesday, 2 workweeks can evaporate - Since Dec. 20, a popular business jingle has been 'wait till next year', by Elissa Gootman, NYT, A13.
    ...With both Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Wednesdays, the week-or-so-long hiatus that normally takes place between the holidays has stretched into 2 weeks. Sure, not everyone technically has both weeks off, but look at it this way: the Tuesdays are bound to be unproductive, as Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are practically holidays themselves. Knowing that, how much are you going to accomplish on the Mondays? The Wednesdays are the official holidays, the Thursdays are for recovering from the holidays, and the Fridays are, well, Fridays. All of which leads to a 14-day stretch during which many offices are closed, and those that remain open are filled with a mix of dazed workers frustrated that they cannot reach anyone, and chairs left empty by co-workers on vacation. ...The sense of an endless holiday, be it dreamlike of nightmarish, is everywhere....
    'It's disorienting for sure," said Steve Zousmer, a freelance speech-writer from Scarsdale. "It just seems all wrong. Wednesday is not the right day for a holiday."...
    [In Phil "Mr. Timesizing" Hyde's case, he has Xmas/NY's Eves emotionally hardwired as Saturdays, and Xmas/NY's as Sundays, and Boxing Day (Day After Xmas) as Monday. He can squidge this to accommodate Xmas/NY on a Sat or Mon without too much difficulty, or even on a Fri or Tues with more difficulty, but not on a Wed, where the effect is to just have time to get over one weekend or weekend equivalent, turn round and find your heading right into another. One find oneself nestling into the one-day weekday equivalents, such as Monday, the 30th, and trying to maximize each moment of normalcy. We've lifted holidays bodily onto the nearest Monday in many cases to avoid this macro interrupt. Maybe it's time we did it to Xmas, New Year's and Thanksgiving. We can't really rely on these infrequent coincidences for any systemic contribution to economic redesign, so we may as well standardize them in the most predictable securifying way. (And if we really get ambitious, we can fix the irregularity of months so we get 13 months of 4 weeks apiece, each starting on the same day of the week, preferably Sunday or Monday, with a 5- {or 6- in leapyear} day Bacchanalia/minimonth at the end to make it all come out right.)]

12/27/2002  timesizing consciousness in the news, aka flickerings of perverse hope - 12/26/2002  timesizing consciousness in the news, aka flickerings of strategic hope -
  1. You've got vacation, by Ann Grimes, WSJ, A13.
    It has been a rough year at the NY HQ of AOL Time Warner Inc., what with a plummeting stock price, management turmoil and a merger that is widely considered to have been a failure. So CEO Richard Parsons decided to cheer up the troops by giving several hundred corporate staffers two days of free vacation that can be used between Dec. 24 and Jan. 2.
    [Now does "free vacation" mean extra paid vacation or does it mean extra unpaid vacation, which would obviously be a better gift, but not help out the company if revenues are down. We aren't told.]
    "As we draw close to the end of another challenging year, I want to acknowledge your contributions," he wrote in an email mesage to the staff.
    [So here's one American CEO who feels free time is good after all, although you'd never know it from the accompanying cartoon which shows two unthrilled employees responding to a silly gift jack-in-the-box bearing the "2 days off" announcement. We believe most staff will agree with the CEO, not the cartoon. However, there is one category of staff who won't be able to take advantage of the gift -]
    Some staffers grumbled that it wasn't much of a gift, considering many executives already were planning to be on vacation during the holidays.
    Still, an AOL executive said the move is part of Mr. Parsons' plan to improve morale, which also included a holiday party for corporate executives in the Time-Life Building.
    [It would be an even better morale-builder if it turned out to be a way for Parsons to avoid a few layoffs, but again, we aren't told.]

  2. Bob's mobile office and daycare center, and other innovative balancing acts, by Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, D1.
    It's going to be a rough year for people trying to balance work, family and personal life.
    [This will be a lot easier as we switch from a frozen concept of 'full-time' and mega makework to an downwardly adjustable concept of 'full-time' and economywide worksharing.]
    In a pattern that promises to endure for a while, basic needs, such as keeping a steady income and health insurance, took priority over life balance this year for most workers.
    Here are my annual predictions of work-life trends....
  3. [an article with hints beyond downsizing to timesizing]
    Downsizing could have a downside - Debating whether cuts set a stage for growth - Does reducing the work force eventually produce company growth?, by Daniel Altman, NYT, C1.
    [hoho, let's cut our way to growth - ri-i-ght]
    Even as the economy shows some signs of emerging from the doldrums,
    [as it did all through the Great Depression]
    several leading companies - like Goodyear, Humana and Verizon - are cutting thousands more jobs. They plainly believe that lowering labor rolls now will help them perform better in the long term.
    [Disagree. Few CEOs are concerned about the long term. Their concern is the "market term" (immediate) and the short term.]
    Some argue that layoffs, combined with a careful revamping, can set the stage for growth. Others, however, contend that companies that avoid cutting jobs reap huge benefits in loyalty and productivity.
    In a quest for the most productive companies in the world, Jason Jennings, a consultant and author of a recent book on the subject, settled on 10 businesses that had never made a layoff.
    "Not only have they never had a layoff," Mr. Jennings said, "but each of them has a written or well-understood covenant with the workers that the corporate checkbooks, or management missteps and misdeeds, are never going to be balanced on the backs of the workers."
    Mr. Jennings, who chose the companies using a combination of elementary financial criteria and on-site research, conceded that he could not prove that a no-layoffs policy led to profits and growth for the group. But he did see something valuable in the strategy of the 10 companies, which included innovators like Nucor Steel, the minimill operator, and Ryanair, the low-cost European airline.
    [Nucor is one of our working models of timesizing, not downsizing. Ryanair, on the other hand, we have cited for exceeding the international limit on flying hours per pilot (8/23/2002).]
    'They know that if they use layoffs," he said, "they're going to end up with a workforce that's going to be more concerned about themselves than about increasing productivity."...
    [This is in line with Ed Deming's 14 Points for Management, the 8th of which is "Banish fear from the workplace." It's also in line with Japan's success while it had lifetime employment up to 1989 when it started to copy American downsizing and almost immediately started sundowning in and out of a recession which has basically continued to this day.]
    ..."If you look just broadly at whether companies that lay off do better, the answer appears to be no"..\..according to Peter Capelli, a Wharton School professor who runs the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania.... But, he added, "the ones that lay off the most are already the ones that are in the most trouble."
    [Not necessarily. Lincoln Electric experienced a 40% drop in its markets in 1982, and in line with its no-layoff policy, it merely trimmed hours, from 55 down to 32 at an average of an hour a month on a division by division basis. So non-downsizers get in big trouble same as downsizers.]
    [But the rest of the "debate" is superficial because Daniel Altman offers no real alternative to downsizing, such as timesizing. For example,]
    ...Even with a faster-moving labor market, hiring good people back may not always be easy. [etc. etc.]
    [Furthermore, they never get around to discussing the cumulative effect of a lot of downsizing on the big picture, e.g., Mr. Pye's point that one or two downsizings may be no big deal, but when many companies start doing it, they're laying off their customers customers and it comes back round to bite them. Here's more slop -]
    ...Mark Womack, an executive VP for Celerant Consulting Group...advised caution, especially in industries where talented employees are still a scarce commodity, like pharmaceuticals....
    [Basically we're wading through the rest of these column inches to find out the other eight non-downsizing companies, and he doesn't tell us. But maybe we can find the book in the bookstore and skim the other 8. Twenty years ago, one of them might have been Xerox. It isn't any more.]
    While [Xerox] cut positions, both in the tight labor market of the late 1990s and in the weaker recent climate, some employees urged management to save more jobs by cutting everyone's pay equally.
    [This would have set them up for timesizing, because they could then just cut hours proportionately to the equal pay cut. This is what happened at the St. Louis branch of American Optical in 1975, and no employees lost their jobs. But some CEOs just don't think outside the box -]
    But Anne Mulcahy, Xerox's CEO, insisted on maintaining salaries and bonuses for the most productive workers.
    [Thus providing an answer to the riddle, when is a team not a team?]
    "The labor market has changed"..\..a spokeswoman for Xerox, Christa Carone, said..."but our strategy for keeping our best people, even during tough times, has not.
    [And therein lies the down spiral of our and the global economy. And even for the "best people," the "most productive workers" - the question persists, how long am I going to be in this relatively good position while more and more job candidates are becoming available through widespread downsizings, and when I'm no longer there, how long before I get the chop? And any of those star employees, knowing the arbitrary brutality of what passes for the corporate "strategy," would be a fool not to switch to an employee-loyal company like Nucor or Lincoln Electric in a blink, so they don't get canned just before vesting or retirement.]

12/25/2002  timesizing consciousness in the news, aka flickerings of strategic hope - nothing current so we delve into the barrel of late arrivals - 12/24/2002  timesizing consciousness in the news, aka flickerings of strategic hope -
  1. [more crackdowns on slump-worseners in the world's 2nd-longest-workyear developed economy (we're first, rahrahcoffcoff)]
    Record unpaid overtime work cases logged in 2001, Kyodo News 12/23/02 02:25 EST via AOLNews.
    TOKYO...- Last year say a record number of cases in which the Health, Labor & Welfare Ministry ordered firms to pay their employees for overtime work, according to Ministry data released Monday. The cases numbered 16,059, up about 150% from a decade earlier, an increase which ministry officials say can be attributed to corporate cost-reduction efforts to weather the prolonged economic slump.
    "Not only were there cases in which employers only paid for up to a certain number of hours overtime due to the recession, but there was also a tendency among employees not to ask for overtime pay," a Ministry official said.
    [Here's the first time we've seen this commonplace phenomenon noted in the media. During a recession when unemployment and job insecurity are high, employees fear for their jobs and siliently submit to worse and worse working conditions.]
    The Ministry will call on employers to better calculate the overtime hours worked and reduce unpaid overtime work, so as to counter the number of deaths and suicides among employees, Ministry officials said.
    [Not to mention countering the tendency of more work for fewer people to worsen consumer spending and with it, the recession.]
    The Ministry data show that the number of cases in which the Ministry's labor standards supervision offices across the country ordered firms to pay workers extra wages for their overtime work was 6,486 in 1991. The figure topped the 10,000 mark in 1995 for the first time and fell to the 7,000 level in the following years. In 1999, however, the figure rose again to top the 10,000 mark for three straight years though 2001.
    The Labor Ministry found that some firms had set the number of overtime hours for which they paid at 22 a month no matter how many more hours overtime employees worked.
    [Shades of our own dear Wal-Mart.]
    The Ministry sent papers on 13 cases to prosecutors last year to try firms with excessive labor practices for criminal offenses.
    On Dec. 13, the Ministry released data showing 613 firms had made employees work overtime hours worth over 1 million yen between Apr/2001 and Oct. this year, totaling 8.13 billion yen in unpaid wages.
    Under the Labor Standards Law, employees can work longer than 8 hours a day, or over 40 hours a week, if both management and labor agree on the maximum overtime work hours possible.
    [Sounds about as lame as our overtime legislation, as opposed to the kind of practices the global economy will have in 100-200 years if by some quirk we all smarten up.]
    Employers are also required to pay 25% more for such work.
    [Not much of a disincentive, given costs of benefits per employee, such as health insurance, which we assume apply in Japan as well as the U.S.]
    If [employers] violate the rules, they can be sentenced to a prison term of up to six months.
    [Ooo, sca-ry. As in America, the most important area of violation on the main line of human progress receives mere wrist slaps.]

  2. [Hey at least Japan is cracking down on employers. In the US, we're just complaining or punishing employees -]
    Increase in fire OT [overtime] raises questions - Critics tie spending to sick-leave change, by Scott Greenberger, Boston Globe, B1.
    With the city facing its tightest budget in a decade, the Boston Fire Department is on pace to exceed its $8.2m overtime budget for the current fiscal year by about $5.5m....
    [Hey, that's better than the crap the feds are dishing out -]
    Docking U.S. firefighters' overtime pay, AP via NYT, A17.
    About two dozen firefighters who spent months battling...destructive wildfires across the West...for the National Park Service..\..have been ordered to return thousands of dollars in overtime pay [because] they had worked too much overtime and exceeded salary limits. Federal law restricts pay for firefighters to $121,600 a year. Officials said they were trying to find a way to allow the firefighters to keep their overtime.
    [More of government's making citizens pay for its mistakes.]

12/22/2002  primitive timesizing & timesizing consciousness in the news, aka flickerings of strategic hope - 12/20/2002  primitive timesizing & timesizing consciousness in the news, aka flickerings of strategic hope -
  1. U.S. jury cites unpaid work at Wal-Mart - World's top retailer faulted on overtime, by Steven Greenhouse, NYT, A20.
    [See the original article on this on 6/25/2002 #1.]
    A federal jury in Portland, Ore., found Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, guilty yesterday of forcing its employees to work unpaid overtime in the first of 40 such lawsuits to go to trial. In the 4-week trial, dozens of Wal-Mart workers testified that under pressure from their managers they frequently clocked out after 40 hours and continued working. "The company's witnesses said this absolutely never happens at Wal-Mart...," said Shane Youtz, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs. [But] "it's part of the culture there."
    In the lawsuit, 400 current and former employees from 18 stores in Oregon accused the company of violating federal and state wage laws by systematically pressuring them to work unpaid overtime....
    [Slavery in the 'Land of the Free.' Compare the Boston Globe's headline today -]
    Jury rules Wal-Mart didn't pay OT - Firm faces dozens of such cases in US, by William McCall, AP via Boston Globe, A2.

  2. [Journal carefully avoids potentially attractive workweek issue -]
    New Korean president may test U.S., by Jay Solomon, WSJ, A11.
    [Here's the Wall St Journal's article on the presidential election results in S. Korea and they get through over 14 column inches without mentioning the momentous change in S. Korea from a 6-day to a 5-day workweek, which the new president, unlike the losing candidate, supports. Yet there is no change so necessary throughout the world to balance the centripetal and centrifugal forces on money flows and bring a balance of consumption to the tremendously technology-amplified production facilities throughout the global economy. Never mind the huge pent-up demand for shorter hours for families, especially single parents. Here's some of what was available on the wire services -]
    Factbox - S. Korea president-elect Roh's main policies, Reuters 12/19/02 22:16 ET via AOLNews.
    SEOUL - ...Economy -...Says will implement a five-day working week and improve benefits for the working class....
    [and]
    Ties tense, but US seeks to engage new S Korean leader, by Carol Giacomo, Reuters 12/19/02 16:38 ET via AOLNews.
    ...Some U.S. business leaders expressed concern about Roh Moo-hyun's commitment to U.S.-backed economic "reforms" [our quotes - ed.]. The president-elect has vowed to implement a five-day working week and improve benefits for working people....
    [So we great Americans don't want them savages in S. Korea to even have parity with the civilized 5-day workweek that we pay lip service to.]

  3. [while S. Korea moves (for it) a little ahead, despite clueless disapproval from US, France, till recently the brave one, chickens out of progress and caves in to its troglodites -]
    French parliament dilutes 35-hour week rules, Reuters 12/19/02 16:56 ET via AOLNews.
    PARIS...- France's conservative-dominated parliament voted on Thursday to alter labour laws so that many employees will again work a 39-hour week instead of the 35-hour week introduced under Socialist legislation in 1998. The vote, expected after the right won June elections, dilutes the labour laws of the former Socialist-led government by removing any specific mention of a weekly work limit.
    Instead, it sets an annual limit of 1,600 hours. That, on top of recently extended annual overtime limits, means many workers will again be working 39 hours a week. Under the legislation, companies will be able to retain the 35-hour week or use the new flexibility it...affords to extend working times. Many companies, particularly smaller firms, have insisted the 35-hour working week is not feasible in their businesses.
    [That's what they said about every reduction in the workweek on the way down from 84 (seven 12-hour days).]

  4. Strike threat adds to Schroeder's woes, by Stephen Graham, AP 12/19/02 17:57 EST via AOLNews.
    BERLIN...- Talks on setting a pay dispute between German public workers and the government collapsed Thursday, moving the country closer to a crippling strike and a new crisis for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. While negotiators sought arbitration, the two sides remained far apart after union leaders rejected an offer from federal, state and local authorities....
    Union head Bsirske said employers offered a package running through June 2004 that would include a pay rise of 0.9% from January and a 1.2% increase from October next year in return for longer working hours. The offer also fell short of the union's demand for a timetable to bring wages in the former communist east up to the level of those in the more affluent west, he said. "In effect, they were offering us zero," he said....
    [And another article that explains a bit more -]
    German public sector strike looms as talks fail, by Sabine Siebold, Reuters 12/19/02 11:38 ET via AOLNews.
    KASSEL, Germany - Germany's public sector called in mediators Thursday to try to avert a strike by 3m workers after pay talks collapsed in a fresh setback for embattled Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.... Wednesday, Germany's top court also blocked an immigration law he had championed..\..
    The giant Verdi union that represents public sector workers...rejected a government offer during Thursday's talks of a 0.9% pay rise Jan. 1, followed by a 1.2% increase Oct. 1, combined with a half-hour increase in weekly working hours to 39 hours in western Germany....
    [Seems like 39 hours among Europe's "conservatives" is becoming just as rigid and inflexible as 40 hours in the U.S.]

12/19/2002  primitive timesizing & timesizing consciousness in the news, aka flickerings of strategic hope -
  1. Hooker Furniture completes year with record quarterly sales & earnings, Business Wire 12/18/2002 13:53 Eastern via AOLNews.
    MARTINSVILLE, Va. - ...All of Hooker Furniture's plants are currently working reduced 35-hour per week schedules. "Given the soft retail environment, we are still challenged to generate the orders necessary to work full schedules"..\..said Paul Toms Jr., chairman and CEO....
    [Followup - ohoh, looks like Hooker is screwing around with an acquisition and more debt -]
    Hooker Furniture buys leather-seating maker, Bloomberg via NYT, B4.
    ...A maker and importer of household furniture agreed to buy...Bradington-Young, which is closely held and based in Cherryville NC..\..for $24.5m.... The deal, which may include assumed debt...is expected to be financed with additional bank debt..\.. Hooker's CEO, Paul Toms, said..."It gets us into a lot more categories."
    [Oh yeah? Well, that may just give Toms the opportunity to be "challenged to generate the orders necessary to work full schedules" in a lot more categories.]

  2. Healthcare organizations facing severe difficulties attracting and retaining workers - Watson Wyatt study also finds high-technology companies taking more cost-cutting measures than other industries, PRNewswire-FirstCall 12/18/02 21:06 ET via AOLNews.
    WASHINGTON...- When it comes to attracting and retaining workers, the healthcare industry appears to be in critical condition. The technology industry, meanwhile, continues to be plagued with too many workers for the forecasted revenue outlook and is taking steps to reduce costs, according to a recent study by Watson Wyatt Worldwide.
    More than 8 out of 10 (81%) of healthcare organizations that participated in Watson Wyatt's Strategic Rewards(R) survey said they are having difficulty attracting critical-skill employees, compared with 41% for all other industries. Nearly 3/4 (72%) reported difficulty retaining critical-skill workers, compared with 21% of all other industries. A total of 44 of the 431 companies in the surveys were healthcare organizations....
    Prevalence of reward strategies used to attract/retain critical skill workers...

  3. Feature - London claims New York's "melting pot" crown, by William Kemble-Diaz, Reuters 12/18/02 21:06 ET via AOLNews.
    ..."Given the chance, people from desperate [sic] backgrounds are often the engine drivers for urban economies"..\..according to Lee Jasper, Policy Director for the Mayor of London, who says a majority of the city's population are now immigrants or the descendants of immigrants, or just visiting...as they tended to work more hours, took lower paid jobs, and started up more businesses as they strove to make their mark.
    [Engine drivers or slave drivers, willing to do your jobs for less?]

  4. France offers incentives to start new businesses, Reuters 12/18/02 12:09 ET via AOLNews.
    PARIS - ...Keen to shed France's image as a nation bogged down by state interventionism and high taxes, PM Jean-Pierre Raffarin's 7-month-old cabinet passed a bill aimed at cutting the time needed to create a new business from several months to just 24 hours by simplifying the formalities involved....
    [Now that kind of thing is fine and good. How did they every survive with a several-month-long process anyway? But a later idea is quite different -]
    The government - anxious to banish the mentality that grew up around the previous government's 35-hour work week reform - will also [be] offering tax and social security relief to people starting their own companies.... Raffarin has...sought to water down the 35-hour week law of the previous government, which has led to millions claiming extra holidays or sporadic days off to make up for hours worked over and above their weekly 35. [Now there's a terrible mentality for ya - more time to spend with their families in this world of worksaving technology. Wouldn't people claiming extra holidays etc. to make up for hours over 40 be just as bad, or is there something divinely inspired about 40? And what's "extra" about comp time anyway? This "mentality" sounds pretty healthy, and the attempt to slur it sounds pretty strained.]
    Smaller companies in particular have complained that the 35-hour week is simply unworkable for their businesses.
    [So was the 40-hour workweek when we were sitting at 48. But the French government should have led the experiment and stirred up more consumption by applying it to itself first or along with "large" businesses instead of waiting to go with "small" businesses. And where do they get off defining a business with 20 employees as "large" anyway. Let's start at 100 or 200. Or let's have 10 sizes and start dates instead of just 2. Or let's go back to the original 1982 idea and just drop one hour off the workweek per year, instead of 4 hours at once.]
    ..\..French unemployment has been stuck at 9% for months....
    [Well, that's better than the U.S., Japan and Germany whose unemployment has not been stuck but rising, and it's better than the 12.6% unemployment that France had in 1997 when they were still on the 39-hour workweek and before they started talking about the 35-hour week. France's unemployment went down 1% for every hour they cut from the workweek since it went down to 8.7% in summer/2002, and it's still only gone back up 0.3% from its low. You French should quit complaining. You raise that workweek again and you're really going to have unemployment to complain about - again. And you're going to have deeper recession. And remember, for all your bellyaching, smart companies adopt this 35-hour workweek "mentality" voluntarily to avoid layoffs and preserve their skillset and their more-than-skindeep "team spirit" - like Hooker Furniture of Martinsville, Va., for example, in our first item today (above).]

12/18/2002  timesizing consciousness in the news, aka flickerings of strategic hope -
  1. Factbox - Korean candidates offer contrasting economic views, Reuters 12/17/02 00:48 ET via AOLNews.
    SEOUL...- South Korea's 35m voters go to the polls on Thursday to elect a successor to Pres. Kim Dae-Jung, who is constitutionally barred from a 2nd term. The two main rivals offer contrasting views on how to manage Asia's 4th-largest economy, particularly over the role of the chaebol, the family-owned conglomerates that dominate the business community. Following are the views of Roh Moo-hyun, candidate of incumbent Pres. Kim Dae-Jung's centre-left ruling party and his rival from the conservative opposition Grand National Party, Lee Hoi-chang, on the key issues facing the Korean economy.
    Conglomerates
    Roh, a...former labour and human rights lawyer, says without more reform of the chaebol, South Korea may face a new economic crisis.... Lee...a former Supreme Court justice, prefers market principles to government intervention in guiding reform....
    Labour
    Roh pledges to implement a 5-day workweek and improve benefits for the working class, including foreign labourers. Lee says management and labour should reach a consensus on eliminating the Saturday shift and going to a 5-day workweek....
    [Fine in theory, but ignores the huge power differential. "Consensus" implies a balance of bargaining power. Global labor surplus imposes a huge handicap on labor. Cut the work to balance the bargaining power, and you can safely leave the details to market forces, with no fears that the vicious spiral will continue.]

  2. Labour power to be chipped away after S. Korean poll, by Kim Myong-hwan, Reuters 12/17/02 03:42 ET via AOLNews.
    SEOUL...- South Korea's feisty unions look set to lose more clout under a new political administration, whatever its colour, as growing challenges from low-wage nations like China press the case for greater labour market flexibility....
    [Except in the downward flexibility of the workweek.]
    Liberal contender Roh Moo-hyun, the candidate of Kim's centre-left party, has a more labour-friendly platform, pledging more spending on labour welfare and a shorter workweek, while conservative Lee Hoi-chang of the main opposition has espoused policies that are more pro-business..\..
    [Except insofar as business needs consumer markets and so-called conservative, pro-business policies clobber consumer markets by clobbering employees.]
    "Whoever wins, the new president can't ignore China's challenge," said Lee Jeong-ja, the head of HSBC Securities in Seoul....
    [Sure he can, by simply introducing the same horde of subtle protections with which top executives have hedged their skills and their inflated compensation.]
    The unions must also contend with an ongoing privatisation programme affecting key industries such as power and banking, which has sparked deep labour antagonism over potential job losses....
    [Nationalization, privatization - the resulting success or failure depends on whether there happen to be better managers in the public or private sector at the time. At any rate, privatization is completely non-toxic to labor if they get the workweek down far enough to create a perceived shorter of manhours in the job market - to boost their bargaining power.]

12/17/2002  timesizing consciousness in the news, aka flickerings of strategic hope -
  1. [here's the picture in America]
    The heavy cost of chronic stress - Some can be benign, but too much is lethal, by Erica Goode, NYT, D1.
    ...In moderate amounts, the scientists [such as Dr. Bruce McEwen, director of neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller U. and author of "The End of Stress as We Know It"] argue, stress can be benign, even beneficial, and most people are equipped to deal with it. [But] blaring car alarms, controlling bosses, 2-career marriages, 6-mile traffic jams and rude salesclerks were simply not part of the plan....
    [Bosses wouldn't have the kind of absolute power that has pushed Wal-Mart employees to clock out and keep working, and breadwinners wouldn't have the kind of low wages that have pushed both parents into the job market, if we automatically adjusted the workweek against the unemployment rate, defined to include all the hidden unemployment, and implemented automatic overtime-to-training&hiring conversion.]

  2. [and in Europe -]
    What's to be in 2003: Euro RSCG Worldwide releases top trends, PRNewswire 12/16/2002 12:30 EST via AOLNews.
    Euro RSCG Worldwide today released forecasts for the coming year, focusing on global, youth, and European trends....
    Top global trends: [Well, that's really something we can all pitch in and do. Never mind shorter hours, you putzes - the REAL solution is just cut them endless meetings and other time wasters. No question of controlling bosses spoiled by desperate job candidates, no question of both working parents exhausted because neither's job is secure enough for either to be the first to leave the office at night - it's just them endless meetings.]


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Feb. 21-28/2002
Feb. 1-20/2002
Jan. 21-31/2002
Jan. 11-20/2002
Jan. 1-10/2002
Dec. 16-31/2001
Dec. 1-15/2001
Nov. 26-30/2001
Nov. 21-25/2001
Nov. 10-20/2001
Nov. 1-10/2001
Oct. 16-31/2001
Oct. 1-15/2001
Sep. 16-30/2001
Sep. 1-15/2001
Aug. 16-31/2001
Aug. 1-15/2001
July 16-31/2001
July 1-15/2001
June/2001
May 16-31/2001
May 1-15/2001
Apr.16-30/2001
Apr.1-15/2001
Mar.11-31/2001
Mar.1-10/2001
Feb.16-28/2001
Feb.1-15/2001
Jan/2001
Y2000
1999
1998 and previous years


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