Ripped off

The Australian’s editorial (“Despite challenges, the spirit of progress endures”, 2/1) acknowledges that on most average long term economic measures, life is improving globally, including¬†here in Australia,¬†despite the groundless carping we endure from our insatiable “aspirational class”.

However, the suggestion that increased incomes have resulted from declining union membership is the opposite of what global data shows. In fact, the decline in collective bargaining has softened the link between productivity and pay, meaning that workers benefit less from improvements in the economy.

The editorial cites a real wage rise of about 50% since 1984, but given that real per-capita GDP rose by about 85% in the same period, it could just as well be argued that had more Australians remained in collective bargaining, we may have received more of our fair share of the increased wealth.

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