Nancy Folbre discusses the twilight of the public corporation.

Edward Alden discusses the new emerging consensus of economists that trade plays a larger role in stagnant income growth for the middle class.

A National Employment Law study finds that the Great Recession has continued and accelerated the decline of the middle class, with most of the job gains as the economy slowly recovers coming in low wage sectors such as services and retail rather than middle wage sectors sectors such as manufacturing.

A Congressional Research Service report shows that inequality in wealth increased during the Great Recession. According to the report, in 2010 the bottom 50% of the population owned just 1.1% of the nation’s wealth.

According to an Economic Policy Institute study, the trade deficit with China cost the U. S. more than 2.7 million jobs between 2001 and 2011. The study suggests that the trade deficit is caused by a high dollar (relative to the Chinese currency) which itself is the result of a conscious policy by China.

Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute argues in a new report that the decline of union density (the percentage of the workforce that is represented by unions) is a major cause in wage stagnation. Mishel writes:

Between 1973 and 2011, the median worker’s real hourly compensation (which includes wages and benefits) rose just 10.7 percent. Most of this growth occurred in the late 1990s wage boom, and once the boom subsided by 2002 and 2003, real wages and compen­sation stagnated for most workers—college graduates and high school graduates alike. This has made the last decade a “lost decade” for wage growth. The last decade has also been characterized by increased wage inequality between workers at the top and those at the middle, and by the continued divergence between overall productivity and the wages or compensation of the typical worker.

A major factor driving these trends has been the ongoing erosion of unionization and the declining bargaining power of unions, along with the weakened ability of unions to set norms or labor standards that raise the wages of comparable nonunion workers.


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