On the subject of wages at Apple and Walmart

Nothing like a bit of Marxist analysis of the complaints of the Marxists:

Apple Makes $407,000 Profit Per Employee, Walmart And Retail, $6,300: Who’s The Exploiter?

18 thoughts on “On the subject of wages at Apple and Walmart”

  1. Walmart, because nasty lower class people shop there. Apple on the other hand are wisely using their income to create a better, more progressive future.

  2. Would I hire someone for a lousy £4K p a? No.
    Seems like Walmart is running some happy clappy commune, given the risks of even one dodgy employee.

    SELL note coming out Monday.

  3. It’s the old “sweat-shop workers should be paid more! What, you want me to pay more for my clothes???” argument.

  4. It’s apples and oranges time…

    Walmart, in its chase for the bottom line in proces for the maximum amount of profit that can be squeezed out of their margin. Part of that comes out of the treatment of their employees, which has become a meme in and of itself.

    Apple doesn’t squeeze its *own* employees (much), but it’s really just a “reseller” of a ready-made * luxury* product which *is* produced using a company known for it’s near-inhumane practices when it comes to labour conditions.
    the much larger amount of profit per employee just goes to show how much of a premium ( or idiot tax, according to sentiment) you pay.

    Both equally bad, but really incomparable in this particuar way.

  5. Well that’s a load of old bollocks. Apple isn’t a “reseller”. The people who put the phones together are neither here nor there. If it could be done by robots it would be. It’s the people in Cupertino who add the value. Besides, the assembly workers are not inhumanely treated, and have both higher wages and a lower suicide rate than the general population (as our genial host discussed in a Forbes article a while back, if memory serves).

  6. So as a customer we should be more prepared to shop at Walmart because Apple products are grosly overpriced to increase company profit?

  7. The *reported* profit per employee tells you very little about how companies treat their employees.
    Firstly, profits are cyclical
    Secondly, the reported numbers are unreliable: some years ago a lot of US companies were *reporting* a profit from their pension schemes, instead of a cost. Of course this was nonsense, but the accountants signed it off.
    Thirdly, it’s not just about money – the Dowty CEO I met as a young analyst was their first apprentice. So does promotion prospects depend on merit?
    Fourthly – anecdata alert – last month I went to a “Pensioners Reunion” luncheon and one of the ex-salesmen told me that us Investment guys were part of his sales pitch because everyone in the firm was a member of the pension scheme so we were investing for our own pensions at the same time as clients – perfectly true (although it never affected my investment decisions: I just wanted to get it right); also good to learn of an honest salesman; my response was that everyone in the office from the General Manager (aka CEO in modern language) to the toilet cleaner called me “John”. We were not quite a family but …
    If everyone is on the same team, results will be better, financially as well as physically. Of course the bureaucrats hated me but the other 99% cheerfully put up with me (and several other talented weirdos)

  8. ‘Walmart, in its chase for the bottom line in proces for the maximum amount of profit that can be squeezed out of their margin.’

    Can someone translate this into coherent English?

  9. Apparently there are worse things in the world than working at Walmart, since they’re flooded with applicants every time they open a new store.

  10. Yet, when the minimum wage was introduced in the UK, many right-wing politicians and economists claimed that it would increase unemployment, using arguments similar to those so clearly expounded in Tim’s article. But that didn’t happen, or did it (genuine question)?

  11. It did.

    But it was a low minimum wage and thus the increase in unemployment was small. Chris Dillow looked up the Low Pay Commission report and they themselves said about 30,000 from the first year or two of it.

    The general agreement is that modest minimums have modest effects.

  12. @ Chris Miller
    UK Textile industry – virtually destroyed by the Minimum Wage.
    Genuine answer is “Yes, it did”.
    I reckon 90% of those employed in the UK textile industry in 1997 lost their jobs – some people claim only 80% because the growth in high fashion and Savile Row meant net shrinkage was 80+%.

  13. @Chris,

    There was quite a large (but very low-key) textile industry in Manchester pre-minimum wage. No large-scale production but making up short orders, repacking returns etc. It disappeared very quickly once the minimum wage was introduced – probably moved to Portugal. Being staffed mostly by local ladies working for pocket money, mostly of “ethnic minority” background, no one noticed when it all vanished.

  14. So, if profit should properly be allocated to the workers, Marxists should just love bankers and footballers shouldn’t they.

  15. ‘if profit should properly be allocated to the workers’

    Profit is properly allocated to the business owners. Workers proper share is zero.

  16. Osborne himself mentioned something like 60K workers would lose their job in a budget speech because of higher minimum wage, IIRC.

    Surprisingly enough, it was not mentioned by the usual suspects.

    Shocked me.

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