Yves here. Truth be told, one big barrier to my listening to videos is that they are a much less efficient means of transmitting information than reading text. So when I listen to the entirety of a video, that’s a good indicator that it has real merit. Here, Robert Pollin of PERI and Dean Baker discuss the so-called recovery on Real News Network, giving a very good high level discussion of recent data releases (with Baker pointing out important inconsistencies) and emphasizing how radically different this supposed recovery is from any of its predecessors.
Both economists then turn to the elephant in the room: the lousy state of labor, and how real wages have stagnated. One telling factoid is that if you adjusted the minimum wage from its peak in real terms (1968) and gave workers their share of productivity gains (and they were shared until the mid 1970s, when the old capital/labor model started being restructured by weakening labor bargaining power), the minimum wage would now be $26 an hour. (Another appalling, related tidbit in a must-read analysis by David Stockman is that there has been no growth in private labor hours since 1998).
Baker and Pollin then turn to the culpability of economists, and both state that most economists clearly know what the remedy is, which is more government spending to kick the economy into higher gear. But they refuse to do that because they are ideologically on board with the elite-serving labor squeeze and austerity programs.
In reality, it’s even worse than that. I hate criticizing writers whose work I generally like, but as a contrast to this talk, I suggest you look at a new post by Ed Lambert at Angry Bear. In it, a left-leaning blog (and remember, Angry Bear has been vigorous in its defense of Social Security), we see an strong argument against having workers get a better deal. Why? It will lower corporate profits, which will lower asset prices and give the confidence fairy a sad. I am not making that up. This shows the degree to which liberal economists have been intellectually captured by the orthodoxy and/or have been inculcated to live in fear of the Market Gods. If you can’t get parties who are ideologically sympathetic to argue for real remedies rather than a “recovery” only for the top tier, how can you possibly exert any pressure on the minions of the 1%?
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