[OPE-L:4761] Re: the determination of real wages---- and a

patrick l maso (patrick.l.mason.20@nd.edu)
Mon, 14 Apr 1997 04:37:31 -0700 (PDT)

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At 09:44 PM 4/11/97 -0700, you wrote:
>> 5. Hence, a necessary and sufficient condition for the real wage rate to
>> rise is for the average level of productivity to increase and for
>> worker bargaining power to increase. The "ability to make pay" must rise
>> with the "ability to pay" if workers are to get a higher real wage.

>Hi Patrick! Would you treat "the ability to make pay" as a simple function
>of unemployment or do you see questions such as the degree of unity (or
>conversely, the degree of separation) of workers as a factor here? I think
>this question relates to the issue of wage differentials as well as to
>the average wage level.
> in solidarity,
> mike

You're right here Mike. The reserve army ratio is only one factor which
determines the "ability to make pay." Even if the reserve army rate falls, a
dis-organized, divided, and fractured working class may not get higher
wages. In fact, the current US unemployment rate (5.2%) is lower than it has
been since sometime around 1970-1972. That is, the lowest unemployment rate
in a generation. Yet, positive wage growth has been sluggish to
non-existent. Perhaps this isn't a surprise. Only 10.50f private sector
workers in the US belong to a union and racial conflict (one component of
working class unity) is at pre-1973 levels and moving backwards!!!

On the issue of wage differentials, it is precisely this issue which I used
to develop a theory of discrimination in my CJE paper.

peace, patrick l mason

>Michael A. Lebowitz
>Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
>Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
>Office: (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
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