Monday, September 04, 2006


Nice little article here about the problems facing the US labour market. I'd disagree with the characterization of "both ends" of the labour spectrum. It seems more accurate to claim that the low end and the middle end are experiencing problems -- the actual upper end, as always, are doing just fine.


Anonymous said...

What is the upper-end? The actors? The company owners who make a few decisions and relax in the meantime? Does Canada even have an upper-class?

"What jumps out at you is the gaping hole between productivity growth and earnings," says Jared Bernstein, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. People are "working harder and smarter but not really seeing remuneration that they ought to be seeing."

That is the most interesting point of this essay. And where are all these extra earnings going towards? Sadly, it must be the shareholders or the owners.

ADHR said...

The multi-multi-millionaires, yeah. And of course Canada has an upper-class: every country does. (After all, where do you think most of the US' oil imports come from? Someone has to be selling that stuff....)

There seems to be a growing disconnect between work and renumeration. Part of it is being shunted into "total compensation" ideas: e.g., instead of a raise, you get an extra week's vacation. Part of it is surely also being siphoned upwards through the organization. What's bizarre, though, is that no one seems to really complain about it. There's a tangible fear that any serious complaints, or serious attempts to demand better renumeration, will lead to mass firings, an exodus of employers, and economic collapse. Hence: don't rock the boat.

Of course, the 19th-century industrialists tried to play the same game. I believe it was Marx who commented that history repeats, first as tragedy, second as farce.