Why haven’t our wages increased?

“A rising tide raises all boats”.

While this might have been true last decade, this saying doesn’t seem to ring true in the present. The landscape of the business world has greatly changed since then. Technology has advanced, corporations have expanded, and the expectations of the average worker has only grown.

So why haven’t wages seemed to keep up?

In the last seventy years, productivity of our workers has grown about sixty percent, while the median income has only grown a meager seventeen percent (Source: https://www.epi.org/productivity-pay-gap). This massive gap is unprecedented, and is due to many U.S. policy shortcomings. I am to take aprt and explore this massive drop in equality in this series of blog posts, and how we can combat it now and in the future.

Decent Work Leads to Economic Growth.

As a part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN has a list of seventeen goals that serve as a call to action for all its members. One of these goals, goal Eight, is to “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”. By studying how and why the productivity to pay rates have stagnated, we can explore how it impacts this goal, and how we can restore the power back into the worker’s hands.

Why is this important?

As a student about to enter the workforce, it is important to me that my future is secure. At a minimum, a single wage should be able to sustain a single human being. In most parts of the U.S., the minimum wage is not a liveable wage (Source: https://livingwage.mit.edu/articles/85-15-an-hour-isn-t-enough-u-s-workers-need-a-living-wage). For a supposed leader in the world stage, this shortcoming is an affront to the citizens of the United States. All working peoples deserve to be able to afford to live a decent life.

In starting to research this topic, there are some fundamental questions that need to be answered in order to understand the changes that take place.

Firstly, if wages aren’t increasing, where has the money gone? With a general increase in money supply and stagnating median income, then where has the wealth gone in the last seventy years?

Secondly, what effects have a proportionally lowered median income had on the lower and middle class? Has the standard of living changed since the 1950s?

Lastly, how can we get back on track concerning our wages? What institutional and policy changes would help us with this goal?



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