This post was written for my three readers who are not conservatives and not-Loony-Left.
At some point in time in time the United States economy came off the rails. The temptation is to point at some scapegoat. "It's the damned Billionaires!!"
I want to point out a way of thinking about the phenomena that might be more intuitive than the typical language used by conservatives.
Over the course of my career I worked in a half dozen plants in the automotive industry.
"Conversion Ratio" is one of the metrics (performance measures) used in the auto industry.
Simply put, the Conversion Ratio is the "Base Engineered Content" hours divided by the total number of hours worked inside the Plant's footprint.
The Base Engineered Content is the total amount of time required by employees to devoted to assembly of the vehicle.
For example, if an employee's task is to install hood-latches, the time content might read like
- Pick up torque-tool - 0.7 seconds
- Position latch-to-bracket - 1.2 seconds
- Insert screw in socket of torque-tool (3X) - 0.5
- Drive screw (3X) 0.7
- Re-holster torque-tool - 0.7 seconds
- Total - 6.2 seconds
The Base Engineered Content does not include the time spent by the employee walking to the parts rack to pick up the part or time spent replenishing bins. It does not include time to truck the basket of parts from the loading dock to the assembly point. It does not include time for the Union Steward or the Management supervisor. It does not include maintenance or housekeeping or repair or quality inspection. It does not include mandatory training or time spent documenting.
Conversion Ratio is a valuable metric because it is almost impossible to "game". You might think you are cheating if you bring in outside vendors to preform part-rework...but you have to include them in Conversion Ratio if they do the rework within the factory footprint. If they do it outside the factory, you have to count the time it takes to package and ship it off-property.
But what does that have to do with the US Economy?
Suppose you are a professional. For the sake of illustration, suppose you are a Social Worker in Child Protective Services.
What is your Conversion Ratio? What is the ratio of time spent with clients divided by the time spent on-the-clock?
I will even be generous. I will let you include part of the time you spend in documenting the session with the client. Not the part you are forced to document to "service" regulations. I will let you include the time you spend making the notes you will use to refresh your memory before the next session with that client. It is analogous to "Re-holster torque-tool"
If you have been practicing for an extended period of time, has your Conversion Ratio gotten better or worse? Are you spending less of your time "servicing regulations" or more of it?
This is when the practicing Social Worker says "Mr Eaton Rapids Joe, you don't know beans about Social Work. A Social Worker in Child Protective Services primarily works through the court system and agencies to execute their job."
But isn't that the point? If 95% of the Social Worker's time is spent working through courts and other agencies then they are servicing procedures and regulations rather than clients?
The conservative viewpoint is that such a large percentage of America's productive resources is sponged up by "procedures and regulations" that we are dying a slow death due to entropy and strangulation. There aren't enough resources left over to actually do anything for real people.
The good news is that if 95% of a professional's time is absorbed by non-value-added-tasks (abbreviated as B.S.) then paring that back to 90% doubles the Conversion Ratio and results in a measurable doubling of the real productivity.