tom_HS1000 karma2019-10-18 16:54:25 UTC
Andrew, I’ve looked into the numbers as well, and the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss is how the Productivity-Wage gap isn’t due to corporations exploiting average workers, it’s actually just efficient markets in action. A chart I put together using BLS.gov data eludes to this fact: https://i.imgur.com/61QRLKL.png Just 2% of the workforce, concentrated in tech — computers, semi conductors, software mainly — is responsible for just about all of the productivity growth since 1980. 40% of the workforce, mainly retail and wholesale trade and restaurant workers, have seen hardly any gains in productivity since 1980.
Do you think it’s worth addressing this fact on a debate stage? I think many Americans are disillusioned by the gap in productivity and wages. Many are convinced it’s exploitive corporations, when the truth is a single computer scientist can produce more output than 100 warehouse workers. I think many Americans are preoccupied with low unemployment numbers, and don’t see that labor force participation is at its lowest level since 1980.
This feels a lot like the housing crash in 08. The numbers and facts are right in front of our eyes, but everyone seems to be ignoring this reality.
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tom_HS14 karma2019-10-18 18:34:40 UTC
The problem is there HAS been a slow down in productivity and tech innovation over the past 10 years. If you notice, Moore's Law has a very similar trajectory year-to-year as Krugman's labor productivity chart.
The problem with this analysis is 1) it focuses on the past 10 years and not the TREND over the past 40, and 2) it focuses on labor productivity as a whole and not by industry.
Of course when 40% of the workforce is low skill labor, the gains in productivity as a whole will appear minimal. When you look at gains in productivity by industry, as I've done in my post, the numbers tell a different story. Even Retail and Wholesale trade, which have seen more productivity growth than restaurant workers, is impacted greatly by the tech industry. The growth in their productivity is related more to the technological innovation within the industry than the typical work of an average worker. Self-serving kiosks/self check-out, inventory management, automated order picking, etc.
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