The Uncompetitivifying of America

Yeah, that’s right, I just invented a completely unwieldy word.

In my day job as a trade journalist I get a lot of press releases from companies. Most are perfectly functional, doing their job in one degree of effectiveness or another (though lately I’d say the average marketing/PR apparatchik is becoming increasingly incompetent but that’s another rant). However, lately I’ve been getting more and more press releases that sound like parodies from The Onion.

But they aren’t parodies. They are real and reflect and increasing insanity creeping into American businesses.

It’s no secret that most large corporations are riven with liberals in the corporate suite. And liberals hire only other liberals.

Some liberals are actually pretty good at business but that number is finite. Most liberals are clueless when it comes to business and economics. Of course that doesn’t prevent them at all from being hired.

Instead of making their company more competitive or more efficient or expanding its products or services lines, these liberals distract a company from its business mission. They send the business expending resources in nongermane missions.

Witness the explosion in “diversity” operations at major corporations. Vice President for Diversity is an actual job at most large companies these days. And they are proud of it. They buy big ads to highlight it. This person will have a small army of assistants and a growing budget though the office is actually a drag on the bottom line. It exists simply to provide employment to liberals and infiltrate liberalism into the company. The company no longer responds to the business environment but responds to political concerns; and those will be of a liberal flavor.

A related posting is the Vice President of Sustainability or some such rot. The job is wholly a sop to environmental pressure groups and the office is a warehouse for antibusiness activists using the company to fund their activities and its own demise.

The diversity and sustainability mafias have developed extensive support systems in the form of conferences, interlocking relationships and alliances with pressure groups, government agencies, media and academics.

A new entrant is the “Social Responsibility” officer. This is spreading but still mainly resides at only the largest corporations and trendy tech-oriented companies.

The people who fill these jobs often seem to be qualified to do nothing else and/or they are the children of well-known politicians, celebrities or some other connected person. They can be the useless or lazy children/trust fund babies of wealthy financiers. Many of them also have fancy degrees from schools. There are degrees in these things, believe it or not.

Companies can be spending tens of thousands, and ultimately millions, of dollars on these wasteful, nonproductive endeavors. Disturbingly, a lot of companies don’t mind these shenanigans since large ones can fund these nefarious activities while smaller competitors can be hamstrung (similar to why Corporate America often doesn’t mind increased regulations and higher minimum wage laws).

These are not the only parasitical organisms sucking the life out of America’s business life.

Here’s another angle. Recently I received a press announcement from a small company that specializes in making aluminum and plastic cases, nylon bags for shipping/carrying equipment. They also have a small specialty line of portable lighting equipment. The announcement concerned the appointment of a Vice President for Worldwide Sustainability and Safety. Worldwide Sustainability and Safety? Seriously?

He had a long career in the field and was, if anything, overqualified for what is a small company that doesn’t really handle anything near the dangerous items he was familiar with. It’s not as if this company is into mining, chemical, refining, raw materials, heavy industry, etc. It would probably be best described as “light manufacturing,” yet here was a new hire, probably at six figures. It looked like hiring Bill Belichick to coach a junior high football team. Okay, maybe not quite that extreme, but still, here’s a small company hiring an expensive part to do a small mission. That costs money. Do you buy a Ferrari to go to the grocery store?

Some of this nonsense is also motivated by governmental agencies increasing their demands on America’s businessmen. We’ve heard tales of how Sarbanes/Oxley, Dodd/Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have caused businesses to hire many more workers to fill out forms or abandon areas of work because they don’t want to deal with the trouble anymore. None of these things help our bottom lines.

Is this what we want?

I’ll explore this more later.

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