1. On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most
agreement, what is your view on whether the service sector has become
too large a portion of the nation's economy relative to the production
sector (e.g. manufacturing)?
2. On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most
agreement, what is your view on whether pension plans for public
employees have become so generous that there'll never be enough money
to pay benefits as promised?
3. On a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most
agreement, what is your view on whether many college professors spend
too much time in non-productive meetings and not enough time in
teaching and research?
Baker (8) (10) (9)
Eklund (2) (8) (5)
Press (10) (10)(5)
Broden (5)(10) (5)
Question 1: The
issue is not whether the service sector is too large it is rather has
the economy adapted to how to work with the value added of a service
society and how the service society is integrated with other elements
of the overall society and the economy--service, manufacturing, ,
and other elements. If
believe in free trade and that the type of work done is dependent on
the cost of the work and resouces in each area then perhaps we need to
become better at balancing the types of content in our society and
leveraging each accordingly. We also need to define what we mean by
service to include not only retail, waiters, janitors, etc. but to
include high tech , software, engineering, etc. Need to have a big
picture view and with that be sure that the service element
understands that what they are doing in some way does relate to real
work not just pushing paper etc. The key is to build a better
understanding of "what value added really is--that is what is work"
Question 2: There
is a critical need to begin a dialogue that is state and national
regarding the role and benefits related to the civil sevice system at
all levels of government. This rapidly focuses on not just what the
role of civil service is but how do we pay for the service not just as
the work they do is done but how they are provided pensions and how
many pensions can be provided simultaneously and certainly at what
age. The challenge that the private sector faces in pension
must be extended to the public sector in a clear and serious
discussion of the impact to government budgets etc.
Question 3: The
academic community varies in style and effect by each institution and
each department and discipline. As a whole the academic community
could benefit by seeking to link more effectively with the community,
with industry, and with policy makers. There is much done and said by
academia that is positive and the sitting in meeting thinking is OK if
it links with the real world in some ways. Frequent challenges from
the public, from industry, and from within the academic community to
ask the question of all academic community personnel the basic
question--what have we done recently to help solve the issues and
problems of our discipline is an important challenge that the academic
community often overlooks. Asking for more self Discipline to provide
the value added to the community as well as thoughtful discussion
should be the goal of all in academia.
Schwarzkopf (10) (6) (9)
It was refreshing to hear Fred Zimmerman really tell it as it is.
There was no sugar coating.
White (9) (8) (6)
This is a really important issue. On questions 2 and 3 I have no
direct knowledge, so I'm accepting Zimmerman's findings.
On question 1, I've argued for years that we -- the U.S. -- are on a
downhill slope because too many of us, individuals as well as
companies, lack the knowledge and skill and incentive to make things.
There are big exceptions: 3M, for instance, and medical-alley pioneers
like Medtronic. But where's the market for, say, machinists? It
exists, if we're collectively wise enough to move the economy into
building wind turbines and creating other green jobs. Sure, the need
also continues for plumbers and carpenters, and some of us still do a
bit of what they do, and enjoy ogling the shelves of hardware stores.
We used to tinker with our autos; no more, and not just because they
have become amazingly reliable, but also because looking under the
hood is like landing in a foreign city with no street signs or maps.
(Response: Get a GPS. I did, last summer driving in Spain, into urban
tangletowns like Barcelona, where the machine's most frequent voice
command was, "Turn around when possible.") To conclude this rant: By
making things I don't mean making credit default swaps. Brilliant
minds created them. Look where they got us.
Jennings (5) (8) (10)
I loved his comment about professorial production. Probably not the
same degree, but I suspect it's much the same in many other public
service areas and probably in the headquarters of large corporations.
Responding to regulations, procedures, reviews and endless
communication today the modern office job has huge amounts of lost
productivity. In addition, too much time is frittered away sitting at
computers reading and responding to blogs, gaming and personal
pursuits. It just seems life and any kind of action has become far too
While I agree with, or in some cases simply accept, Zimmerman's ideas,
your questions are too broad for a vote. The service sector includes
teachers and others who enhance our human capital. The financial
service sector grew too large and is now changing rapidly. A few
years from now I expect the retail sector to be a bit smaller too. We
cannot continue to consume as we have in the past 50 years.
Pension funds as now constructed are a disaster waiting in the wings.
But cutting health care costs and other modifications can alleviate
some of this.
I'm not associated with any college so I must accept Zimmerman's
opinion on the way they spend their time. If they don't want to spend
time on administrative tasks, then they will have to give up some
(much?) of their influence on administrative decisions and accept the
Kuisle (9) (10) (10)
Bishop (5) (5)(8)
Charles and Hertha Lutz (5) (7) (7)
Berget (10) (10) (8)
Hennessey (0) (10) (5)
I don't see how this fits into your charter or past interests;
certainly in recent meetings you have delved deep into micromanaging
various problems. However,
Question 1. I went to college and spent my career in private industry
during a time when the numbers and proportion of engineers, managers
and tech support vs. production line workers grew rapidly, whether we
were still making things in the US or increasingly overseas. The
mantra was, humans should not be beasts of burden. Humans think,
machines work. Even the human work during most manufacturing processes
consists of operating machines or maintaining robots, not
old-fashioned "work," that is, sustained physical exertion. It is
economically and morally right that, especially in the mining and
steel industries cited by the Professor, there should be NO humans
doing the actual work, which by its very nature is very dangerous.
So, this concern over the size of the service sector vs. the
manufacturing sector is misdirected, if it focuses on the number of
workers in each. The concern should be over the value of goods
produced, and over the academic problem of the proper valuation of
services vs. products. Even the unit productivity per worker is a
suspicious measure. My father worked, as his third job during his work
day, as the only night shift worker in a factory that consisted of
endless rows of knitting machines rattling away all day and all night,
24/7/365. Every so often a machine would break a thread, a spool ran
out and a full one had to be mounted, or a machine had to be taken off
line if it broke bad enough. There were enough machines so he could
not actually sleep on the job. But what great productivity; he turned
out thousands of yards of knit fabric, socks, hose, whatever, all by
himself, night after night.
I am especially annoyed by the financial sector's use of the term
"product" when all it means is contracts with different terms --
checking accounts, savings accounts, mortgages, annuities,
derivatives, etc. -- there is nothing "produced," only money shifted
around different ways, and even that only in terms of symbols dancing
on pieces of paper or on computer screens, not actual physical or
paper money. How do you measure productivity in the service sector?
Question 2. The worst example is Congress. They get a pension at 100%
base pay, full benefits, plus office and staff, for life, after only
one term. Or so I hear. You can't extend that to all public sector
employees, unless their numbers are greatly reduced relative to the
number of people still paying taxes.
Something has to give. Soon we'll have all the baby boomers retiring.
70 million good-for-nothing loafers expecting to get by on SS and
Medicare benefits paid from taxes on whom, no more than 70-100 million
people still trying to scratch out reduced-expectation lives from
off-shored jobs? I don't know what the numbers are, but SS was no
problem when about a hundred workers supported one retiree whose life
expectancy was no more than 65. Now we are headed for a ratio of 1:1
or worse, living forever. Well yes, once upon a time we did have just
such a situation, where one man supported 4-5 others, but we called it
the nuclear family supported by the man's income. All the do-gooders
had to destroy that, of course.
Question 3. I have no idea. When I was in college, my professors were
either in the classroom or in the lab. Nobody was so depraved as to
force them into useless meetings. Also we had very few people in
Carolyn Ring (10) (10) (5)
Question 1: Even
though I personally have been very involved in non-profits, add those
to your service entities and you increase the percentage.
Question 2: Most pensions from business and industry do not get
the increases that public employees receive. Some public pensions,
such as legislative and local councils were incentives for public
service where pay was very low.
Jackie Underferth (8) (10) (10)
Quie (5) (10) (10)
Stone (10) (10) (10)
and Ruth Hauge (5) (9) (2)
Dillon (10) (10) (5)
Dorfman (5) (10) (5)
Productivity growth is faster in the things that kids consume than in
the things that the elderly need. As the Boomers age, they will
consume fewer of the things that we produce efficiently, and more of
the things that we provide relatively inefficiently. Productivity is
notoriously difficult to project, but many forces will be pushing it
downward as the Baby Boomers age.
Essentially, the next 20 years will require a massive transfer of
resources and people away from the care of children, who will decline
in relative number, and toward the care of old people.
Slocum (8) (8) (5)
We need to "reinvent manufacturing" in America; a high value part of
Question 2: Public employment is essential and we need
professionalism...pay and benefits must compare to private sector jobs
but not be vastly superior, as is the case with certain pensions, etc
Question 3: I lack info but have heard the stories about certain
Robert J. Brown (8) (10) (10)
Question 1: As technology enables production to be done more
efficiently with less people it appears inevitable that there will be
some shift of employees from the production sector, but what is needed
in the production sector is more people with technical training. Our
overemphasis on four year college degrees has placed too many people
in relatively useless programs (e.g., sociology unless you intend to
be a college professor in that field.) I remember when Jim Benson was
President of Dunwoody he commented on how many of his students were
college graduates who came to his school so that they could become
employable and make more money that they could with their college
Question 2: We should have learned years ago when the police and fire
pensions bankrupted the city of New York that these rich defined
benefit pension programs, enacted when most of the employees were
relatively young, would eventually lead to major financial problems
for government as the group of public employees ages. Unfortunately,
elected officials look only at what will take them through the next
election. I remember in the 1970s the legislature changed the basis of
teacher retirement from a career average salary to one based on the
high five years. While this bought political support from the
teachers’ unions it dramatically increased the unfunded liability of
the state, particularly when inflation rose. We can see a parallel
situation in the Detroit where it is impossible to make money on the
cars produced there because of the huge retirement and other benefits
won by the unions means that the companies cannot compete with others
even though the so-called foreign companies are making their cars in
Question 3: I couldn’t agree more with my old friend Fred. To most
academics the process is the product – they are great at meeting and
very poor at resolving matters. They meet for the sake of meeting. I
saw this not only here but all around the country when I worked on
building business-education partnership for the U.S. Department of
Education. When you would bring a group of educators together with a
group of business leaders the businessmen focused on the goals and the
educators focused on the process. One other point – most of what is
called research in education, particularly in the social sciences, is
merely grinding out useless information that will be published in
“refereed journals” which will probably never be read, but can be used
in gaining promotion and tenure. It would be much better if the
research in my field (education) would be field based (action
research) which could actually lead to some possible improvement in
the effectiveness and/or efficiency of the system.
Donald H. Anderson (8) (0) (6)
Maybe as a country we have gone overboard in emphasizing higher
education over economic realities.
Bright Dornblaser (8) (10) (5)
proportion problem of course is that the production sector has
declined in absolute or growth terms vs. the growth in the service
sector. There is a problem with the service sector growth especially
in the financial sector where the absence of regulation of the
financial sector has undesirable growth. One book on Bad Money
Question 3: Probably is true in some parts of a university. Howvever
in the School of Public Health where 50% of faculty salaries has to be
earned from research grants, the faculty is very resistant to meetings
that take time away from chasing research grants where the hit rate is
one in three applications. Note, the SPH has the highest amount of
research money obtained per faculty member than any unit on UMN
campus. Zimmerman's comments on the work week does not represent
what I have seen at the UMN. In addition to research, preparation
time for teaching is very extensive and increasing with the very time
consuming preparation for on-line teaching, if one wants to do it
Anderson (10) (9) (8)
Zimmerman (10) (10) (10)
Franchett (10) (8) (10)
Dennis Johnson (8) (10) (10)
Another title for this caucus could be: "Why is so tuition so high
today?" While at the U. of M. in the early 1950's, my tuition was
$37.00 per quarter or $148.00 per year. With inflation only, it should
now be about $1500 per year.
Frenzel (2) (10) (9)
I have no idea
what “too large” is. I only know that I would prefer to let the
market make such decisions.
Question 2: And,
you can throw in SS, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements, too.
For one outside of
the groves of academe, this is a highly subjective perception, rather
than a conclusion from observation or experience.
Allebach (7) (9) (7)
Weaver (10) (10) (8.5)
You have good interviews but this one was par excellence. Zimmerman
knew early on that the change from producing to servicing was a
seminal change in our economic direction. MIT engineers in bygone
days were concerned with machines, production, efficiency, buildings,
etc; now too many of them with their compatriots from other schools
head for Wall Street and engineer financially. What a waste.
Lampe (10) (10) (10)
Nowicki (10) (0) (_)
Halstead (10) (5) (10)
Question 2: As a retired federal employee, there are several
problems that stick out. Retirements are allowed/encouraged/forced
too early. Many pension plans fail to properly manage retirement
funds. Political appointments are being made to many unqualified
individuals in management levels of government.
Question 3: This is a problem in all institutions. Professors in
many subject areas need real on the job experience in the field!!
Clarence Shallbetter (7) (9) (8)
Robert Mairs (10) (10) (5)
Joe Mansky (0) (0) (0)
Well, I couldn’t disagree more with this presentation. On item #1, if
you accept this conclusion, then most Americans should still be
farmers. The economic progress of the 1980s (the widespread
implementation of the personal computer), the 1990s (the application
of internet technology) and this decade (wireless communication, which
the US was late in adopting compared to the rest of the world) are all
examples of knowledge based businesses on which profits are made from
conceptualization and design.
On item #2, what planet is the speaker living on? As someone who may
well get a public pension some day, it is self evident that I will
receive only about 70-75% of the benefits promised. The legislature
will do this by allowing inflation to reduce the real impact of the
pension obligations. Also, who is interested in living on ˝ income for
30 years? At the moment, I have no intention of “retiring” (whatever
that means) until age 70-75. Based on what has been going on in the
stock market recently, I suspect that I will have company. I also
would not operate under the assumption that the employment and
retirement patterns of the past 50 years will be duplicated in the
next 30. It’s a whole new ballgame – apparently, some folks have yet
to figure this out.
On item #3, the speaker’s personal experience is substantially at
variance with the faculty members that I know personally and whose
work I am familiar with. One minor anecdote: research faculty at many
universities receive no salary as such from the nominal employer –
they must self fund their positions through grants that they are able
to procure. The result: no tangible results = no salary.
Unlike some, I have no bias against manufacturing – I grew up seven
blocks from a steel mill (still in business, by the way, making low
carbon specialty steel). Many of my friends and neighbors continue to
be employed in that sector. But even they realize that times have
changed and that there is no profit in labor intensive businesses that
result in low value products. The enterprises that will survive in the
US will either be highly automated, or result in high value products
or both. The key to our success will be to beat everyone else to
develop and market new products for which there is room for only one
player in the market. Hence our interest in basic and applied
university research, which will give us the edge we need.
Shirley Heaton (10) (5) (5)
Swain (5) (9) (7)