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View Diary: Why No One’s Occupying Factories (139 comments)

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  •  But why should real wages rise for the same work? (0+ / 0-)

    If you are a receptionist, say, why should your wages be increasing? You're answering the same types of calls, day in and day out. You having the same people fill out the same paper work over and over again. Sure, you get a little raise every now and then because you've gained experience and whatnot, and that moves you a little higher in the distribution of receptionist salaries. But why should all receptionists have their aggregate wages growing faster than inflation? That just doesn't make sense to me.

    Why would "fair" mean that receptionists (in aggregate) get a slice of the profit other people in their organizations are creating?

    The obvious answers are wrong. That's why we aren't doing them already.

    by atheistben on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 08:41:24 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  This all assumes that people are being paid (0+ / 0-)

      fairly for their work.  Which is exactly the issue here.  When there is more wealth being created and less or the same number of people working then real wages should rise.  The problem is that we have steadily increasing productivity and stagnant wages. We have people working more for less.  If you can't see that then you must live in a bubble.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 09:52:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)
        When there is more wealth being created and less or the same number of people working then real wages should rise.

        In aggregate. But not for everyone. The wage of the receptionist is determined by the forces of supply and demand for receptionist labor. When an engineer figures out a better process for making something that saves the company a bunch of money, the receptionist isn't entitled to any of that money. Why would you think it would be fair if the receptionist did get some of this money?

        Also, the productivity gains over the last few decades have largely been due to capital investment, and technological improvement. Take my wife's accounting office. Fifteen years ago, they had very little in the realm of automated/computer accounting systems. Consequentially, everyone at the office knew accounting pretty well. Now, everything is automated, and the new people don't know shit except where to copy and paste numbers. But they're still more productive, due to the investment in software. Still, they don't deserve to be paid more. In fact, they should be paid less, because that quality of labor is a lot easier to find than good accountants. Plus there was the cost of the software that the company had to absorb. So the first thing is that you need to do decouple productivity and wages in your mind. Productivity doesn't drive wages up. It often drives wages down, because it lessens the amount of labor you need, thus reducing demand for labor, and thus lowering the equilibrium price for labor.

        Look, economics isn't an applied science as much as it is a discovery. Labor rates are determined by supply and demand for that type of labor. There are ways you can tweak it around the edges, but supply and demand for labor is the primary driving force of wages. It is inescapable. If you want to improve wages, you have to understand that system and work within that system.

        By the way, I'm impressed that I'm seeing responses to my recent replies to yesterday's threads. You must know some secret DailyKos way of seeing a list of "most recent replies" to your comments. If that's the case, where in the world is that? :-)

        The obvious answers are wrong. That's why we aren't doing them already.

        by atheistben on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 10:14:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I use the comments page in my profile (0+ / 0-)

          to look for recent comments :)

          As for the market determining rates, sure that's one aspect, but there are numerous other aspects as well, including government regulations and unions.  When you talk like that it sounds like someone who would oppose the minimum wage.  I full well understand market forces and other such things, the problem is that the market has been horribly distorted.

          There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 10:45:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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