Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wages Down and Profits Up – The Result of Imperialist “Restructure” of Australian Economy

Ned K.

Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) national accounts figures released on 1 March show "real non-farm labour costs fell by 3.3% in trend terms last year". 

Productivity, defined by ABS as "gross value added per hour worked" rose by 1.9% in trend terms in the same year. So in the space of year, workers' share of the national pie fell further behind.

Profits’ share of the Gross Domestic Product increased from 24.2% to 25.8% by the end of 2016.

Wages’ share of Gross Domestic Product for the same period decreased from 54.4% to 52.8%.

To have an idea of what these figures mean, the ABS latest release also reveals that in December 1974 the wages share of GDP was a record high of 62.4% while the profits share was a record low of 16.6% in the September quarter of 1974.

Since 1974 there has been a sustained attack on the Australian economy resulting in destruction of manufacturing, privatization, deregulation of the financial system and loss of hundreds of thousands of full time, unionized jobs. The latest attack on weekend penalty rates continues the downward trend on wages share of GDP and upward share of profits of GDP. 

It is no coincidence that organized labour in the form of unions has dropped from about 60% overall to as low as 11% in the private sector in the same time period.

The plan of big business and multinational corporations is to turn Australia into a lower wage country to reduce the difference in the cost of labour between Australia and Asian countries in particular where most of the manufacturing has been moved to.

The only answer to this plan is to lift the level of collective struggle and organisation of workers across all sectors of the economy in Australia while at the same time supporting the struggles of workers in Asian countries in particular. The cause of the workers’ plight in both Australia and Asian countries is the same. It is the anarchic system of imperialism led by US imperialism that needs to be replaced by systems in each country where workers are the leaders of their country and replace the imperialist controlled state powers with state powers of the workers and their allies in a way that best suits their local conditions.

This pathway has support from the people in Australia who can see the damage caused to their lives wherever they look, whether it be the disaster of privatized electricity or the impact of multinational corporations in the cities/towns/ regions where they live.

The anarchic nature of imperialism's impact on the people's standard of living is reflected in the increasingly anarchic nature of parliamentary politics which is day by day being exposed as an inadequate political form for solving the people's problems.

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