The Big Pie

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In “King Henry VI, Part II,” Shakespeare has Dick Butcher suggest to his fellow antiestablishment rabblerousers, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” That action may be extreme but a similar sentiment was expressed by Thomas K. Connellan, president of The Management Group, Inc. Speaking to business executives in Chicago and quoted in Automotive News, Connellan attributed a measure of America’s falling productivity to an excess of attorneys and accountants, and a dearth of production experts. Lawyers and accountants “do not make the economic pie any bigger; they only figure out how the pie gets divided. Neither profession provides any added value to product.” According to Connellan, the highly productive Japanese society has 10 lawyers and 30 accountants per 100,000 population. The U.S. has 200 lawyers and 700 accountants. This suggests that “the U.S. proportion of piebakers and piedividers is way out of whack.” Could Dick Butcher have been an efficiency expert? Motor Trend, May 1983