In the old economy, generating wealth required physical work, and lots of it—often backbreaking, dangerous, dirty, and exhausting work. Consider General Motors, a company that creates wealth the old-fashioned way: by making things. Last year, General Motors employed about 200,000 people. After making 10 million cars, it earned about $42,000 in income per employee.
Compare that with the Blackstone Group, a publicly traded asset-management firm that last year employed 2,200 people and made $490,000 per employee. With a hundredth of the workforce, Blackstone makes more than ten times more per worker than GM.