Where does Will Hutton get these ideas from?


This is just fascinating from Will Hutton:

The fall in real wages is blamed on EU immigrants, when the real culprit is more old-fashioned: workers in general, and young workers in particular, have not been organised enough to offer countervailing labour market power. It is not technology, globalisation or immigration that have triggered such a generalised collapse in real wages – it is the weakness of trade unions.

Where does this confident assertion come from? He provides us with no actual evidence to support it. Just the flat statement that it is so because Will Hutton has declared it to be so.

This is a statement that rather needs to be tested, don't you think? For example, unions are rather stronger in Germany than they are in the UK. Real wages have been declining in Germany:

After a decade of falling real wages, Germans’ purchasing power has started to increase over the past few years. In 2013, wage hikes are clearly outpacing inflation on the back of rising employment and a robust economy.

Unions are rather weaker in the US private sector than they are in the UK. And we all know the complaints about the stagnation and possibly fall in real wages over there.

We even have a report about this. The effects of globalisation upon incomes around the world. By a real economist using actual real data. The finding of which is that the people who haven't seen much gain from globalisation, the people who have had those stagnant real incomes as a result of it, are largely those below median incomes in the already rich countries. We can argue about whether that makes it all worth it or not (the 80% rises in income for almost all of the poor of the world make it so for us) but it's very definitely evidence that it's not the absence of unions that has led to the current situation: it's globalisation.

So where does Willy get his confident assertion from?