Globalization is a funny thing. It makes the rich richer and the poor poorer because capital happens to be mobile and capital is worth more some places than others. It eliminates the jobs from the lower and lower middle class in the U.S. and it scares people from the lower and middle class to work even harder, for fewer wages, because they are scared their jobs will go elsewhere. Meanwhile, the people running these things are getting richer and richer off the backs of the poor in corrupt countries. Their margins are huge and they don’t have to share their profits with the most expensive item of any enterprise – human resources. I don’t have a problem with wealth being shared around the world but until we have equality for all workers and stiff environmental regulations in place this thing is just going to create a corporate dictatorship in a broken world. That is, until someone gets pissed off enough that there’s an even bigger mess than the one we have today.
But don’t take my advice for it, read the LA Times and the New York Times to get a better idea of what’s going on and then you can come to your own conclusions. And get off your asses, stop smoking so much pot, and get involved. If we don’t get active then nothing’s going to stop this avalanche. Oh well, the earth in 300 years will probably be a better place without us around anyway.
Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity
That situation is adding to fears among Republicans that the economy will hurt vulnerable incumbents in this year’s midterm elections even though overall growth has been healthy for much of the last five years.
The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity — the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation’s living standards — has risen steadily over the same period.
As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as “the golden era of profitability.”
Until the last year, stagnating wages were somewhat offset by the rising value of benefits, especially health insurance, which caused overall compensation for most Americans to continue increasing. Since last summer, however, the value of workers’ benefits has also failed to keep pace with inflation, according to government data.
At the very top of the income spectrum, many workers have continued to receive raises that outpace inflation, and the gains have been large enough to keep average income and consumer spending rising.
In a speech on Friday, Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, did not specifically discuss wages, but he warned that the unequal distribution of the economy’s spoils could derail the trade liberalization of recent decades. Because recent economic changes “threaten the livelihoods of some workers and the profits of some firms,” Mr. Bernanke said, policy makers must try “to ensure that the benefits of global economic integration are sufficiently widely shared.”