Skip to main content

ILO's Global Wage Report: Nothing to be happy about

The GWR 2014/15 has been published and is available here. I'm sure I'll post more on it later. Here just one of the several things to take into account. Wages in advanced economies fell in 2008 and 2011, and have grown very little since the beginning of the crisis in 2008. Basically stagnated. Disaggregating by country you get the figures below.
The declines are in Japan, Italy, UK, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Greece. Japan in eternal deflation, and the European periphery under Troika's adjustment programs. In Greece a collapse of about 24% since 2009. This is not only result of the austerity policies, but also of specific policies to reduce wages, like a 22% cut in the minimum wage for unskilled workers aged 25 and over and a 32% cut for those under 25, the weakening of collective bargaining, and the massive cuts in public wages and employment. Internal devaluation. But the recovery of the current account balance, I'd bet, is related to collapse of imports, not expanding exports (more on that later).

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What is the 'Classical Dichotomy'?

A few brief comments on Brexit and the postmortem of the European Union

Another end of the world is possible
There will be a lot of postmortems for the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Many will suggest that this was a victory against the neoliberal policies of the European Union. See, for example, the first three paragraphs of Paul Mason's column here. And it is true, large contingents of working class people, that have suffered with 'free-market' economics, voted for leaving the union. The union, rightly or wrongly, has been seen as undemocratic and responsible for the economics woes of Europe.

The problem is that while it is true that the EU leaders have been part of the problem and have pursued the neoliberal policies within the framework of the union, sometimes with treaties like the Fiscal Compact, it is far from clear that Brexit and the possible demise of the union, if the fever spreads to France, Germany and other countries with their populations demanding their own referenda, will lead to the abandonment of neoliberal policies. Aust…

A brief note on Venezuela and the turn to the right in Latin America

So besides the coup in Brazil (which was all but confirmed by the last revelations, if you had any doubts), and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, the crisis in Venezuela is reaching a critical level, and it would not be surprising if the Maduro administration is recalled, even though right now the referendum is not scheduled yet.

The economy in Venezuela has collapsed (GDP has fallen by about 14% or so in the last two years), inflation has accelerated (to three digit levels; 450% or so according to the IMF), there are shortages of essential goods, recurrent energy blackouts, and all of these aggravated by persistent violence. Contrary to what the press suggests, these events are not new or specific to left of center governments. Similar events occurred in the late 1980s, in the infamous Caracazo, when the fall in oil prices caused an external crisis, inflation, and food shortages, which eventually, after the announcement of a neoliberal economic package that included the i…