I've been waiting a long time for someone to explain the factors that brought about the current prolonged financial crisis and what might be done to end it. Now comes Richard Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who really does explain it all to you in an interview published in The Sun magazine's February 2012 issue.
Wolff points to four developments in the 1970s that were catalysts for today's crisis: the increasing use of computers in the workplace, making it possible to accomplish more with fewer employees; employers' shifting of production to other countries, where companies could pay workers lower wages; women entering the work force in great numbers and not returning to traditional roles in the home; and the influx of Latin American immigrants in search of jobs and improved living conditions.
In the wake of these events, so many people were now competing for jobs in the US that employers "discovered it was no longer necessary to give raises to attract and keep employees," says Wolff, who goes on to describe the inevitable result: "Since the 1970s, American employers have enjoyed record profits. During that same 30 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, DC, the wage earned by the majority of American workers hasn't changed. In real terms, adjusted for inflation, what a worker makes in 2011 is about what the same worker made in 1978."
The interview is full of great insights and well-documented facts and figures. Everyone who wonders what the Occupy Wall Street protesters are so upset about will find the answer in this interview.