By Brigitte Granville* – Project Syndicate
For decades, workers have been missing out on many of the gains of economic growth, and countless analyses have been published to explain why. Though the problem is fundamentally economic, it cannot be understood without also accounting for technology, politics, and culture.
LONDON – In describing recent economic history as “the inglorious years,” French economist Daniel Cohen’s title refers primarily to a problem that is also examined in the economist Jan Eeckhout’s book, The Profit Paradox. That problem, as Eeckhout puts it, is “wage stagnation and extreme wage inequality.” Over the past half-century, the situation for workers in most rich countries has deteriorated on average, setting this era apart from the 30 glorious years (les trente glorieuses) after World War II, when West Europeans, Canadians, and Americans enjoyed a near-miraculous period of sustained growth, including broad-based growth in real wages and higher living standards.
What can these authors add to the mountain of analyses churned out in recent years……
*Brigitte Granville is Professor of International Economics and Economic Policy at the School of Business and Management, Queen Mary, University of London, and the author of What Ails France