Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Actually real income has been stagnant or decreasing in most of the industrialised economies. And where it hasn't, real purchasing power certainly has - because (for example) many Euro economies have had explosive property bubbles.

Meanwhile vast swathes of the former middle class in the US are now unemployed, and are about to lose all government support, because employment in the US sure as hell isn't going to recover any time soon.

So where is the net gain - apart from among the legendary 1% of billionaires who profit the most?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 06:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have any statistics? It is certainly my impression real wages have gone up a lot in Europe for the last two decades: they certainly have in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia, and absolutely in all the former WP states. They have exploded in the periphery. They have been flat in Germany for one decade, for political reasons. I have a feeling they have moved up in places like France, Benelux, Austria, Switzerland etc as well.

The US is a political basket case where the middle class has deliberately been squeezed by Goldwaterite crazy movement conservatism for decades, so it's a special case which doesn't apply to Europe as a whole.

Even if this weren't true, I don't think we can just off-hand dismiss the extreme reduction of poverty for a few billion Asians as no "net-gain"...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 07:18:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly true for Finland. The rise has been quite staggering - I saw the formidable figure of 25%, but that is a useless number without knowing the time period - which I have forgotten.

<goes off to google>

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 07:26:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When the "billions" (really?) of Asians are working for companies like Foxconn, the benefits aren't so difficult to dismiss.

Stats describing wage stagnation have been posted over and over on ET.

And I'll say again - the real numbers have to take into account spending on essentials such as housing. Wages may have exploded at the periphery (compared to what?) but gains are illusory if that increase goes immediately into forced costs.

It's not just the US. In the UK in the 1950s, a large-ish house was an affordable 1.5X of middle class surveyor's salary.

By 2010 the same house is now 17X a middle class surveyor's salary. (This isn't a hypothetical, btw.)

I don't doubt - and I'm not surprised - that somewhat socialist countries like Finland may be doing better than most.

But you won't find them being described as models of competitiveness in the economic press - and certainly not as role models that the US or the other "competitive" Anglo economies can learn from.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 07:36:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even before the well published suicides, Foxconn payed higher salaries and had fewer suicides than other comparable companies in the Chinese coastal provinces. But people like a scapegoat, and then facts aren't always so important.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 08:22:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series