Dismal wage growth


Updated: 21 May 2008, 23:04

Originally written: 05 May 2005


Are you a young man (25 to 34 years old) without a university education? According to Statistics Canada, wages for men in that category are 20 percent less than in 1981.

Are you a part time worker? Statistics Canada says that the average wage fell by 14 percent since 1981.

Are you an employed woman? Statistics Canada says that 25 percent of working females younger than 40 years old, are low paid and living in poverty (statistic from 2000). For men in that age group, there were 17 percent in that situation.

But, on the bright side, according to Statistics Canada, for workers aged 16 to 74, wages rose about six percent since 1981.

That increase does not help you if you are someone getting less.

For a very long time, low paid workers have been admonished to “better themselves” by getting an education. According to the same Statistics Canada study, getting more education may not help. The proportion of adult workers with university degrees increased by about 10 percent from 1981 to 2004, but the number of adult employees earning less than $10 per hour decreased by only one percent.

All wages in the study were adjusted for inflation, so the comparison is reasonable.

The TD Bank, analyzing the Statistics Canada report, and its own data, reports that the economy increased by 25.5 percent, and wages increased by 3.6 percent.

We make the economy grow but do not get a proportional benefit.

The bank considers factors such as the aging workforce and increased education. “This means that part of the reason personal income rose at all over the past few decades was that more people were graduating with university degrees, and as a result, getting better paid jobs.” The bank believes that the increase in workers’ wages over that time was less than the increase in education would suggest it should have been. “In fact, holding age and education constant, Canadians of both genders saw outright declines in their wages.”

“Astonishingly, for all levels of education and for both sexes, workers earned less in 2004 than in 1981.” Remember that it is a bank making this statement.

Socialists are told that life just keeps getting better, so there is no need to change anything significant. Probably some of those who say that, are in the groups getting paid less than their parents.

Do not get the idea that everything would be all right if only wages were going up. Getting less poor still leaves workers poor. That is the issue. We need not be poor at all. Socialist society, meeting people’s needs, will be an end to poverty. Nobody but socialists even talk about ending poverty any more. Everyone else has accepted that capitalism is good, and poverty is acceptable. When enough people decide that poverty is not acceptable, and that they should change it, then we can eliminate poverty and all the rest of the anti-human aspects of capitalism.

You can do something to end poverty — work for socialism — or you can remain in the majority who are not really all that concerned about their own poverty or other's.

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