Facebook Ruminations and the Lack of Jobs in America

Browsing the Forbes Magazine Special Issue Meet the Richest People on the Planet, I found Mark Zuckerberg with a fortune of $33.4 billion as number 16 on the list. Footnote: I just tried to get you a link to this article on-line. Forbes website sucks. It is choked with video ads to the point where you can’t find the content. Click on this link at your own risk.

As of today, Facebook’s market cap is $234 billion and rising. Facebook has about 7,000 employees according to Wikipedia.

How does a company that young, with comparatively few employees, have such immense value? 7,000 employees is VERY LITTLE for a company that large and valuable. For comparison, J.P. Morgan Chase has a market cap of $230 billion, about the same size as Facebook, but it has 63,000 employees worldwide. Both Target and Wal-Mart have over 300,000 employees each and have less market cap than Facebook.

Who are the job creators in this country? Well, it’s not Facebook.

I have “used” Facebook for many years, but I cannot say that I ever paid a penny for it. Ever.

The Facebook posts inserted in my feed are always ticklers with interesting headlines that have me clicking quite often to find out more, only to be redirected to some aggregator site that is so choked up with advertisements (I have seen pages with 20 ads within the user’s view) that the actual content is very hard to find. The sites are also so cumbersome and slow, it’s painful to navigate and it’s difficult to page through the content without accidentally hitting some advertisement. This is an example from today. Click on it and see what I mean.

In summary, the ads that Facebook leads me to are so annoying that I have conditioned myself to resist even clicking on content that looks vaguely interesting.

However, Facebook does have 1.3 billion users, 800 million of who log in every day. I am one of them. I check what’s going on with my friends. That takes about 5 minutes in the morning. I finish up clearing all my posts older than a few days – so my “wall” is usually empty, and I get out of there.

So how is it that something that creates so little stuff that can be sold, that really doesn’t CONSTRUCT or BUILD anything, creates such enormous wealth for its founders and owners?

The economy of the United States is built on companies like these now. They create value, but not a lot of jobs and really no “goods and services” that are pumped back into the economy. A few people and engineers in Silicon Valley get very rich, but the middle class across America does not get jobs out of those. Apple, by far the most valuable company on the planet by a factor of two, does most of its manufacturing overseas. Few jobs in America.

For America to be competitive, for the middle class to thrive, we have to “create jobs” here in this country. And unfortunately, it’s not something the politicians can do, no matter what the loud-talkers like Scott Walker, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush trumpet.

I have spoken, and now on this sunny Saturday afternoon, I go back to work on the stuff I didn’t get done last week at the office.


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