When will the CBI learn Henry Ford’s lesson that paying people enough so that they can afford to buy the products business wants to sell is the most basic pre-condition of success?
So it wasn’t $5 a day and it was done actually to reduce total labour costs by reducing labour turnover. And as a final nail in the coffin of the argument that it was done so that the workers could afford the cars, there’s this.
Car production in the year before the pay rise was 170,000, in the year of it 202,000. As we can see above the total labour establishment was only 14,000 anyway. Even if all of his workers bought a car every year it wasn’t going to make any but a marginal difference to the sales of the firm.
We can go further too. As we’ve seen the rise in the daily wage was from $2.25 to $5 (including the bonuses etc). Say 240 working days in the year and 14,000 workers and we get a rise in the pay bill of $9 1/4 million over the year. A Model T cost between $550 and $450 (depends on which year we’re talking about). 14,000 cars sold at that price gives us $7 3/4 million to $6 1/4 million in income to the company.
It should be obvious that paying the workforce an extra $9 million so that they can then buy $7 million’s worth of company production just isn’t a way to increase your profits. It’s a great way to increase your losses though.
A company cannot increase its profits by paying its workforce more so that they then buy the company’s products. That is known as trying to lift yourself up by your bootlaces.
Man’s a useful addition to the Professoriate, eh?