3 comments in reply to "Predictions are hard…"

  1. Robert Salzberg says:

    In the EU, in most countries, if you work part-time you get proportional benefits. There is no good reason that large companies can avoid paying benefits by hiring part-time or ‘casual’ employees.

    When was the last time you heard any American politician mentioning the need for companies to pay all workers proportional benefits? Lots of whining about how Obamacare has increased part-time employment, (not true), but no suggestion for a policy fix. Imagine that…


  2. Smith says:

    This is not a new phenomena, Microsoft got in trouble ages ago hiring contractors to shortchange workers of benefits. A court ruled they were employees. A new book by Steve Fraser, “Age of Acquiescence” also goes on at length about this in a chapter entitled “Wages of Freedom: The Fable of the Free Agent”. I was unaware of proportional benefits, that seems per the comment by Robert Salzberg, that seems a good idea.

    A comment that echoes back to Galbraith’s “The Affluent Society”, it should not be left to companies and advertisers to dominate the artificial creation of demand. Instead the argument for government taking a greater share of GDP, with increased spending directed at education, research and development, health care, child care, senior benefits, and social work, should be recognized as a way to allocate what is essentially a growing surplus of production.

    If you want to leave generating adequate demand to Madison Ave, and the 1%, you will get new apps, blockbuster movies, a bloated finance sector, and more inequality.

    I also don’t hear or read much about the problem of an over educated workforce. 2/3 of jobs require only a high school degree, 1/3 less than a high school degree (projected openings through 2022, source bls). Thankfully this problem should get worse as more people complete high school and college, but it doesn’t make for a happy and satisfied workforce.


    • Smith says:

      I should add the over educated workforce hurts everyone, is an important source of inequality, and hurts lower income low skilled workers the most. The surplus of college graduates means high skills workers can not leverage their skills to obtain any increase in wages, any share of increased productivity. Only DNWR (downwardly nominal wage rigidities) keeps their wages from falling. The stagnant wages of high skills is a relatively recent phenomena (last 15 years). There are exceptions in the tech field, but Apple and Google were found guilty of breaking laws and fined millions for suppressing wages (though one could argue anti-poaching collusion more about retaining valuable employees). The tech industry is also spending millions to lobby for vastly increased high skill (meaning tech workers) immigration despite the absence of a shortage.
      Moreover, the underemployment of college workers hurts lower credentialed the most some of whom are cut out of the job market completely. The English major working in Starbucks raises the high school graduates unemployment rate.
      At the top of paper chase, there is also an arms race, as 40% of college graduates get a masters or greater.
      The answer is not less education, but an awareness of the need to the direct the economy to provide more high skills jobs (direct government funding of research, education, and policy that promotes the like in private industry, laws to prevent exporting those jobs or insourcing them)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.