But other economists assert that the weak growth in wages is an indicator of a new economic order in which working people are at the mercy of their employers. Unions have lost clout. Companies are relying on temporary and part-time workers while deploying robots and other forms of automation in ways that allow them to produce more without paying extra to human beings. Globalization has intensified competitive pressures, connecting factories in Asia and Latin America to customers in Europe and North America.
Jobs that require specialized, advanced skills are growing. So are low-paying, low-skill jobs. Positions in between are under perpetual threat.
Many economists see the decline [in unions] as a key to why employers can pay lower wages.
The government [Japan] has pressed companies to pay higher wages, cognizant that too much economic anxiety translates into a deficit of consumer spending, limiting paychecks for all.
But companies have mostly sat on their increased profits rather than share them with employees. Many are reluctant to take on extra costs out of a fear that the good times will not last
Union leaders [Norway], aware that companies must cut expenses or risk losing work, have reluctantly signed off on employers hiring growing numbers of temporary workers who can be dismissed with little cost or fuss.
“Shop stewards are hard pressed in the competition, and they say, ‘If we don’t use them then the other companies will win the contracts,” said Peter Vellesen, head of Oslo Bygningsarbeiderforening, a union that represents bricklayers, construction workers and painters. “If the company loses the competition, he will lose his work.”
“Focusing exclusively on growth and assuming that its benefits will automatically trickle down,” the report says, “may undermine growth in the long run.” But, policies that help in “limiting or—ideally—reversing the long-run rise in inequality would not only make societies less unfair, but also richer.” Specific policies discussed include “raising marginal tax rates on the rich … improving tax compliance, eliminating or scaling back tax deductions that tend to benefit higher earners disproportionately, and … reassessing the role of taxes on all forms of property and wealth.”
In his message to the International Labour Conference, Pope Francis said that “the sheer numbers of men and women forced to seek work away from their homelands is a cause for concern. Despite their hopes for a better future, they frequently encounter mistrust and exclusion, to say nothing of experiencing tragedies and disasters.”
…”the key idea is to develop economic policies that improve quality of life without expanding consumption. These policies include methods to reduce resource use, limit inequality, fix the financial system, create meaningful jobs, and change the way we measure progress.”
…”the evidence for a relationship between economic growth and job creation is much weaker than you would expect and varies remarkably between countries.”