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american economy Social Security

Social Security is a hot topic of debate today, since most American's believe
that the system is near collapse. The trust fund that Americans have been paying
into for Social Security is likely to dry up in 2029 due to the large number of
baby boomers heading into retirement. Franklin Roosevelt set up Social security
to help the people that had worked and Struggled all their lives in honest toil.
Social security was set up to accomplish two main goals. The first goal of
Social Security is to act as a disability or life insurance policy that protects
almost all Americans. Currently, there are seven million survivors of deceased
workers and four million disabled Americans that receive income support from
Social Security. The second goal is to provide lifetime retirement benefits that
rise with inflation. Social Security payments for retirees are needed to keep
half of the elderly Americans above the poverty line. A large number of baby
boomers believe that they won't see a dime's worth of Social Security benefits,
and most younger people assume that once they have reached retirement the
program will be gone. There have been many proposed solutions to the Social
Security problem. A first possible solution is to dramatically change the Social
Security Payroll Tax. Another proposal is to change amount of benefits of the
provided by Social Security. A third reform proposal includes investing Social
Security money in stocks either by the government investing the money or by
setting up mandatory IRA investing. Another major development in the future of
Social Security is the recent proposals made by President Clinton's Advisory
Committee on Social Security. In January of this year the Advisory Committee on
Social Security presented a report of strategies to save Social Security.
Shortly after the 261 page report was released there was a huge increase of
debates and criticism over the future of Social Security. The issue facing
American today is when and how to reform Social Security. Although the American
public and political groups are unwilling to accept the burdens of social
security reform, extensive reform is needed soon to continue paying the current
benefits to American citizens. A change in the Social Security tax is a possible
factor of reform to bring the Social Security program back on track. Currently
the Social Security tax is a flat-rate tax paid on all employment earnings up to
a specified limit. Due to inflation the limit is increased every year currently
it is just over $60,000. This tax is much harder on a lower income individual
because the higher income individual is only taxed on their income that is below
a certain amount set every year. It has been proposed that if the limit on the
payroll tax were lifted, two-thirds of the projected Social Security deficit
would be eliminated. Once the limit on the payroll tax is lifted a rise in the
tax rate of the employers and the employees by 1.1% is predicted to be enough to
solve Social Security's problems. This is assuming that two evasive actions take
place. First the government will have to keep its hands of this extra tax
revenue gained by the tax increases. Second the proposed solution will only have
a chance to work if it is started immediately while the baby boomers are still
able to add a little more cash to the trust fund for there own retirement. This
solution isn't likely to be implemented by today's political system. The
advisory council on Social Security would not pursue the lift of the limit
because the support of the wealthy voters for Social Security reform would be
lost. Americans are also weary of Social Security tax increases. The middle and
lower class voters would also not support a Social Security tax increase. A
recent poll by Money magazine found that 70% of the public is unwilling to pay
more tax than the current 6.2% rate. Another proposed solution to Social
Security's problems is a to decrease the amount of benefits received by
retirees. The first way to reduce the amount of benefits that are being paid out
is to adjust the CPI. Sen. Daniel Monynihan of New York (Dem.) has proposed that
a 1.1% cut in annual cost-of-living adjustments for pensioners would be a
reasonable solution to Social Securities problems. The adjustment of the CPI
would reflect the belief by many economists that the CPI overstates current
inflation. He claims that this would almost completely solve the problems in the
Social Security program by insuring that the expected inflow ... more

american economy

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Fordism and scientific managem

FORDISM, SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT AND THE LESSONS FOR CONTEMPORARY ORGANISATIONS

Fordism and Scientific Management are terms used to describe management that had application to practical situations with extremely dramatic effects.  Fordism takes its name from the mass production units of Henry Ford, and is identified by an involved technical division of labour within companies and their production units.  Other characteristics of Fordism include strong hierarchical control, with workers in a production line often restricted to the one single task, usually specialised and unskilled. Scientific management, on the other hand,  “originated” through Fredrick Winslow Taylor in 1911, and in very basic terms described the one best way work could be done and that the best way to improve output was to improve the techniques or methods used by the workers. (Robbins p.38)
Many comparisons can be made between the two theories, such as the mechanisation, fragmentation and specialisation of work and that a lack of intellectual or skilled content will speed up the work at hand. Fordism's mechanisation of mass production further emphasised many of Taylor’s popular beliefs about management being divorced from human affairs and emotions, using ‘humans as instruments or machines to be manipulated by their leaders’ (Hersey p.84).  Fordism fused and emphasised the scientific methods to get things done by Ford’s successful mass-production processes. Contrasts also exist between the two theories. Fordism dehumanisied the worker whereas scientific management convinced the workers that their goals could be readily achieved along with their employers goals, therefore they should all work together in this direction.   Fordism suited industrial companies participating in mass production, whereas Scientific Management could be used in many types of organisation. Large companies such as Ford Motors, The Reichskuratorium fur Wirtschaftkichkeit (RKW) in Germany examples these theories in practice. These theories of the past are lessons for the way modern organisations are run today. Managers now realise that they should treat their workers more democratically and since the mid-70’s, sweeping changes in markets and technology have encouraged managers and manufacturers to use greater product diversity and more flexible methods of production. Movements towards a more flexible organisation have become apparent.  Examples of orgainisations such as Nissan, NASA and Toyota serve as modern day examples of post-Fordism and depict movement towards a modified Scientific Management.

Comparisons that can be made include Fordism's mechanisation of mass production and Taylor’s attempts at using employees as machines. Taylor designed this using his principles of management that included developing a science for each element of work and finding the quickest way the job could be done. Henry Ford’s ideal types of Fordist production system included using fixed and dedicated machines in individuals work, rather than turning the employee into a machine. (Hollinshead 1995)

With Taylor attempting to prove to the world that there was a science to management and that the quickest way was the best way, he attacked the incompetence of managers for their inefficiencies in running the railroads and factories. Using time and motion studies, Taylor achieved productivity increases of up to 200 per cent. (Dunphy, 1998, p.4). His thoughts were echoed by others: during a 1910 Interstate Commerce Commission hearing, Louis D. Brandeis argued that US railroads could save a million dollars a day if they introduced scientific management into their operations (Oakes, 1996). Taylor showed the world that the methodical and scientific study of work could lead to improved efficiency. He believed that by defining clear guidelines for workers many improvements could be made to the production of goods. Fordism like Scientific Management in the newly mechanised industries of the early 20th century emphasised that efficiency came from precision in job design, clear division of responsibilities and tight policing of implementation (Taylor, 1911). Taylorism and Fordism were consistent with notions of the organisation as “ a ‘military machine’ first developed by Frederick the Great of Prussia, and later refined by Henri Fayol”. (Taplin, 1995, p.430)

Scientific Management encouraged firms to improve efficiency by analysing individual processes of industrial production and then recreating them to produce maximum output from any given size labor force. (Hudson, 1997) Ford's production-line innovations compounded scientific management’s efficiencies into the economy. Taylor believed it would be best to scientifically select, train, teach and develop ... more

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