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Ken Fisher, Billionaire Forbes Writer, Attempts To Argue That The U.S. Needs Fewer Jobs

Huffington Post – by Mark Gongloff

For years Americans have pondered the mystery of how to create more jobs. Turns out we’ve been thinking about it all wrong: What we need are fewer jobs.

Billionaire investor and author Ken Fisher explains in Forbes — the Christmas Eve issue, on newsstands soon! — that “Job Growth Is Overrated.”

“Believe it or not, I’m for fewer jobs, not more,” he starts out.

OK, this is a good start: It is good to acknowledge right up front that readers might not quite believe that a sentient human being is somehow against more jobs.

But you expect that maybe Fisher is then going to do a bait-and-switch of some kind: He says he’s against jobs, but what he really means is that he is for some other mind-blowing kind of employment that’s not exactly a “job” as we commonly think of the term. Like being a financial advisor, say. Or maybe Fisher is sort of like a Situationist, somebody who believes the entire social construct of “work” is a sham that keeps people from ever truly enjoying life. Fine, sounds good.

But, no, what Fisher means is that he really, really can’t stand jobs, or people who want them, or people who want to create them:

“Throughout 2012 we heard politicians and pundits of all stripes yammering endlessly on the need for job growth—that we don’t have enough jobs,” he continues. “It’s pure rubbish.”


Jobs, Fisher explains, are actually signs of weakness in the economy. Jobs mean we can’t produce stuff without human beings lousing up the place, instead of nice, clean robots, which are not constantly pestering you for health care and maternity leave and breaks. The greater our economy’s productivity, the less we need of such nuisances. Then we can all sip cocktails on the beach for the rest of our days. Sous les paves, la plage.

“In the long run we will all benefit,” Fisher says, by nobody having any jobs any more, forever. He then goes on to extol the virtues of investing in a handful of companies he says will be top-notch at destroying jobs, including Anheuser-Busch InBev and Walmart.

The massive mistake Fisher is making is understandable: People often think that productivity and jobs are mutually exclusive. The government’s official measure of productivity is calculated by dividing output by worker hour. If you can get more output with fewer worker hours, voila, productivity.

But history shows that higher productivity and more jobs typically go hand in hand, according to a paper a few years back by William Nordhaus of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Nordhaus looked at times in ye olde American history when productivity was rising and found, what do you know, jobs were rising then, too. When productivity is high, prices fall, which gives workers the ability to buy more stuff. Higher demand leads to more production and more jobs.

One notable exception was around the late 1990s, early 2000s, when computers were boosting American productivity like crazy, but China was taking all of our jobs. That experience maybe colors our thinking about productivity as a job-killer.

But China, at the very same time, was enjoying both rising productivity and more jobs.

More recently, China is no longer undercutting the rest of the world on labor costs quite as much as any more. And some of those jobs the U.S. lost to China might be coming back here. Exhibit A: Apple, which said on Thursday it is going to start making stuff in the U.S. again.

We don’t have to live in Ken Fisher’s zero-jobs world. Although we could all use more days at the beach.

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10 Responses to Ken Fisher, Billionaire Forbes Writer, Attempts To Argue That The U.S. Needs Fewer Jobs

  1. BentSpear says:

    We’ve reached that point; Right = Wrong, Wrong = Right…..Guess Ken Fisher won’t mind O-bummer taking all his billions$ for the entitlement crowd. That way he can enjoy the benefits of the unemployed.

    It’s always the elitists that come up speaking such dumbazzed statements. I can see where some think the rich need to be taxed out of existence due to their own psychotic statements & behavior.

  2. Peter Pan says:

    I think the guy represents the elite of the world and they indeed want to reduce the West to nothing. It is about consumption. They want 5% of the world population consume 5% of world resources, not 45 or 50%. That’s why to achieve this goal the US and the West in general needs poverty and less jobs. No, I totally get what he says. Then you put Agenda 21 on top and everything is ready for orderly extermination. For one thing the guy is right, if we’ll keep buying all crap they sell us from pages of newspapers that no one wants to read and screens of TV’s that no one wants to watch, then we totally deserve what’s coming.

  3. robertsgt40 says:

    I suggest Fish is really a big fan of Agenda 21. Only from the mind of a deluded psychopath could this line of thinking evolve.

  4. Jolly Roger says:

    I’m hoping to stay employed as a hangman until I retire. There’s no shortage of necks that can use a good stretching.

  5. RobW says:

    If the image attached to the article is Ken Fisher, I feel sad and sorry for him. How can anyone look so spiteful/disdainful without plastic surgery and makeup artists? Maybe he’s trying to scare the rest of us off; from competing in the billionaires club. Good strategy; I’m in the hundredaires club, usually smiling, and would go into hiding if I looked like that.

  6. # 1 NWO Hatr says:

    The article is a little vague on one point, though.

    Exactly what planet is this guy living on?

  7. Big Man says:

    Merry Christmas, Mr. Fisher-Scrooge. We need fewer humans to mfr our products to enhance business efficiencies and trim the corporate overhead fat. Spoken like a true vulture capitalist or investment banker. Time for a little house cleaning I’d say for the Christmas season….let’s purge our societies of such financial Scrooges and their minions who profit gainfully up and down the production/marketing/commercial chain.

  8. island says:

    Ken Fisher is what Ben Stiller looks like if his face is ran over by an old, ugly truck…

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