Thursday, April 26, 2012

Observations From "Cedar" On Another Website

Hi everyone I've just finished an article for Randy over on, which I've submitted to him for review. Hopefully it should be online soon, so please keep checking! The article discusses the fact that the Watch Tower Society is ALREADY in decline, and suggests the year 2005 as the turning point. I'll briefly explain why... Each year when the worldwide reports come out, we are anxious to see whether there is any significant dip in publisher growth. As we all know, growth continues albeit at an extremely low rate. The growth percentage has hovered between 2 and 3% over the past six years, and has been on an overall downwards trend since the 80s. Most of the growth is driven by expansion in developing countries, which in turn is funded by publishers in wealthier lands where the growth is slower. This model is unsustainable in the longterm, and the effects are already being felt. It occurs to me that, in looking for a sign of the decline of the Society, we are looking in the wrong place. After all, the Watchtower Society is first-and-foremost a religiously-oriented publishing corporation, and always has been. Logically then, a good guage of how well it is doing can be seen in its printed output - which given the gradual increase in publishers and the supposed nearness of Armageddon should be increasing accordingly, right? Well, that's not what we see. Think about the actual number of printed pages per set of magazines, per month. At the start of 2005 we had 128 pages each per set of magazines, comprising... Watchtower, dated 1st (32 pages) Watchtower, dated 15th (32 pages) Awake, dated 8th (32 pages) Awake, dated 22nd (32 pages) By late 2005, this had fallen (for all magazines dated 2006) to 96 pages, comprising... Public Edition Watchtower, dated 1st (32 pages) Study Edition Watchtower, dated 15th (32 pages) Awake (32 pages) Later this year, the number will have plummeted to 64 pages, comprising... Public Edition Watchtower, dated 1st (16 pages) Study Edition Watchtower, dated 15th (32 pages) Awake (16 pages) Ignoring the marginal increase in printing demand through publisher growth, that's essentially a halving of monthly magazine printing commitments in only 7 years! ...and at a time when we should be needing MORE spiritual food, not less. I explain everything in more detail in the article, but I firmly believe the reduction in magazine printing commitments is telling. Added to the branch closures (Ireland, New Zealand..), the sale of Assembly Halls, the parceling off of Brooklyn real estate, the introduction of credit card facilities at assembly halls, and the attempts to leverage ownership of local kingdom halls - I believe all the evidence is there that the Society is already in decline, and is desperately slashing operational commitments and overheads wherever it can. The clever part is, nobody saw it - including me! Cedars

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