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Denying Inflation: Who, Why, and How?

Henry George warned that landowners might take a growing wedge of the national “pie”, or product. Labor’s wedge might grow absolutely, as the whole pie grows, but still fall as a fraction.
In our times, George’s grimmer scenario is coming true. Since about 1975, labor’s wedge of the pie is shrinking as an absolute. “Real” wage rates have been falling since about 1975. “Family wage” used to mean a breadwinner’s wage high enough to support a family; now it means the combined wages of two adults. Many of these are “DINKS” (Double Income, No Kids) because that is all they can afford without cutting their customary material and educational standards.

Henry George warned that landowners might take a growing wedge1 of the national “pie”, or product. Labor’s wedge might grow absolutely, as the whole pie grows, but still fall as a fraction.2In our times, George’s grimmer scenario is coming true. Since about 1975, labor’s wedge of the pie is shrinking as an absolute. “Real” wage rates have been falling since about 1975. “Family wage” used to mean a breadwinner’s wage high enough to support a family; now it means the combined wages of two adults. Many of these are “DINKS” (Double Income, No Kids) because that is all they can afford without cutting their customary material and educational standards.

Insights Column in Groundswell December 2005

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