V ZDA se še naprej odvija debata o zlatih časih in kako sta globalizacija in tehnični napredek odnesla dobro plačana delovna mesta v industriji. Obamova vlada je v prvem mandatu zastavila strategijo vračanja industrije. Tudi v Evropi se ponavlja nostalgija za industrijskimi službami in Evropska komisija je sprejela neko brezzobo industrijsko strategijo. Toda ta nostalgija je v precejšnji meri jalova. Industrijska delovna mesta, ki so izginila, se ne bodo več vrnila, tako kot se ne bodo vrnila tista delovna mesta v kmetijstvu iz konca 19. stoletja.
Glede “nostalgije za industrijo” sta pomembni dve točki. Prva se nanaša na ugotovitev Branka Milanovica, da je treba upoštevati stanje sveta in tehnologije. Službe v industriji v “zlatih” 1960-ih ali 1970-ih so bile možne zaradi takratne razvitosti tehnologije. Dobršen delež teh služb danes zaradi tehnološkega napredka in avtomatizacije ni več potreben. Hkrati je ta isti tehnološki napredek (elektronske komunikacije, razvoj transporta) omogočil t.i. “second unbundling“, kot to imenuje Richard Baldwin (2013), torej geografsko razbitje tovarn v sukcesivne faze proizvodnje. To pa je omogočilo globalizacijo. Ali bolje rečeno, tehnološki napredek in globalizacija sta šla z roko v roki in ena drugo poganjali. V tem procesu pa sta (ob povečani konkurenci iz Vzhoda za ista delovna mesta) na Zahodu uničili socialne inštitucije na trgu dela (sindikate) in delovna mesta. Toda tega procesa ni več mogoče zaobrniti. Ob današnjem razvoju tehnologije se ni več mogoče vrniti v stanje tehnologije in temu ustrezne delovne procese iz 1960-ih let. Milanovic:
My view is indeed one that may be called “technological determinism”, but that determinism is playing itself out on an ever expanding field made possible by globalization. In other words, technological determinism is itself a function of globalization (heaving off some activities clearly could not be equally efficient in a world where you had to hire US workers only) and technological determinism in turns helps globalization. So the two go together. Moreover even things that seem to be policy-related (say, decline of trade unions) may in many instances be driven by the combination of new technology and globalization.
It is for that reason that I am skeptical that “the happy days of the 1960s” will ever come back. This is the idea that I somewhat jokingly called “Make America Denmark Again”. That world made sense with the technology and the policy as it was in the 1960s but not today. The world of large-scale manufacturing, homogeneous working class, trade unions, capital controls and a quasi-closed economy (US exports and imports combined were less than 10 percent of American GDP in the 1960s; they are more than 30 percent today) is over. When we think of how to address inequality today we should move from the ideas that worked half-a-century ago.
Vir: Branko Milanovic
Druga točka pa se nanaša na ugotovitev, kaj danes, ko govorimo o zlati industrijski dobi, v resnici pogrešamo. In glede tega ima Ben Casselman dober point: ko danes govorimo o dobrih industrijskih delovnih mestih, imamo dejansko v mislih sindikalno zaščitena delovna mesta, ki so bila zaradi tega dobro plačana. Sama industrijska delovna mesta niso bila tako dobra, večina jih je bila slabih in zdravju škodljivih, le plačana so bila bolje, ker so jih ščitili sindikati. Torej smo pri “nostalgiji za industrijo” danes dejansko nostalgični za sindikati. Casselman:
Candidates talk about manufacturing because of what it represents in the popular imagination: a source of stable, well-paying jobs, especially for people without a college degree. But that image is rooted more in nostalgia than in reality. Manufacturing no longer plays its former role in the economy, and not only because there are far fewer factory jobs than in the past. The jobs being created today often pay less than those of the past — sometimes far less.
A new report this week from the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, found that a third of production workers — non-managers working on factory floors and in related occupations — earn so little that their families receive some form of public assistance such as food stamps or the Earned Income Tax Credit. Many of those workers are temps, who account for a growing share of factory employment. The median wage for a manufacturing production worker, according to separate data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $16.14 an hour in 2015, below the $17.40 an hour for all workers.
On average, manufacturing jobs still pay better than most jobs available to people without a college degree. The median manufacturing worker without a bachelor’s degree earned $15 an hour in 2015, a dollar more than similarly educated workers in other industries.1 But those averages obscure a great deal of variation beneath the surface. Average manufacturing wages are inflated by high-earning veterans; newly created jobs tend to pay less. And there are substantial regional variations. The average manufacturing production worker in Michigan earns $20.80 an hour, vs.$18.86 in South Carolina, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Why do factory workers make more in Michigan? In a word: unions. The Midwest was, at least until recently, a bastion of union strength. Southern states, by contrast, are mostly “right-to-work” states where unions never gained a strong foothold. Private-sector unions have been shrinking across the country for decades, but they are stronger in the Midwest than in most other parts of the country. In Michigan, 23 percent of manufacturing production workers were union members in 2015; in South Carolina, less than 2 percent were.2
Unions also help explain why the middle class is healthier in the Midwest than in the Southeast, where manufacturing jobs have been growing rapidly in recent decades. A new analysis from the Pew Research Center this week explored the state of the middle class in different parts of the country by looking at the share of households making between two-thirds and double the national median income, after controlling for the local cost of living. In many Midwestern cities, 60 percent or more of households are considered “middle-income” by this definition; in some Southern cities, even those with large manufacturing bases, middle-income households are now in the minority.
Even in the Midwest, however, unions are weakening and the middle class is shrinking. In the Indianapolis metro area, where the Carrier plant Trump talks about is located, the share of households in the middle tier of earners has shrunk to 54.8 percent in 2014 from 58.9 percent in 2000. And unlike in some parts of the country, the decline in the middle class there has been primarily driven by people falling into the lower tier of earners, not moving up. The Carrier plant, where workers make more than $20 an hour, is unionized.
Cause and effect here is complicated. Unions have been weakened by some of the same forces that are driving down wages overall, such as globalization and automation. And while unions benefit their members, economists disagree over whether they are good for the economy as a whole. Liberal economists note that overall wages tend to be higher in union-friendly states; conservative economists counter that unemployment tends to be higher in those states, too.
But this much is clear: For all of the glow that surrounds manufacturing jobs in political rhetoric, there is nothing inherently special about them. Some pay well; others don’t. They are not immune from the forces that have led to slow wage growth in other sectors of the economy. When politicians pledge to protect manufacturing jobs, they really mean a certain kind of job: well-paid, long-lasting, with opportunities for advancement. Those aren’t qualities associated with working on a factory floor; they’re qualities associated with being a member of a union.
Vir: Ben Casselman
Danes so plače višje tam, kjer so sindikati bolj močni. V fast-food restavracijah so sindikati nepomembni, zato si lahko delodajalci privoščijo plačevanje po zelo nizki minimalni plači. Podobno velja za zaposlene v trgovinski dejavnosti (Wal Mart itd.) ali distribuciji (Amazon itd.).
Nauk, ki sledi iz te zgodbe o “nostalgiji za industrijo”, torej ni v tem, da je treba vrniti industrijske službe nazaj iz Latinske Amerike, Azije ali Vzhodne Evrope, pač pa, kako zaposlenim v “novi industriji” (v delovno intenzivnem storitvenem sektorju) zagotoviti dostojno plačilo. In tukaj brez sindikatov, torej organizacij, ki se organizirano borijo za interese delojemalcev, ne bo šlo. Ne pozabite, da se industrijski delavci v zlatih 1960-ih letih za svoje dobre plače lahko zahvalijo več kot stoletnemu boju sindikatov za njihove pravice. Da je srednji razred na Zahodu lahko užival blagodati relativno spodobnih plač, je bilo potrebno več kot stoletno obdobje organiziranih protestov in krvavih spopadov med sindikalisti in policijo.
Današnji “industrijski delavci” v MacDonaldsu, Wal Martu in Amazonu (da o Uberju ne govorimo) bodo morali iti po podobni poti sindikalnega organiziranja, če želijo svojim otrokom zagotoviti spodobnejša plačila in dostojnejše življenje.