Archives for posts with tag: decoupling

[A]dopting an incomes policy was like jumping out of a second storey window: nobody in his right mind would do it unless the stairs were on fire… The stairs were aflame in Australia in 1983, when the Hawke Government won office.  –Peter Cook.

The Accord is back in fashion. The past few months have seen a lot of pining for the “Hawke-Keating model,” particularly the compact between the two wings of the labour movement. A lot of the discussion seems to me to lack a sense of what made the Accord necessary (in the eyes of the protagonists), what made the Accord possible, and the ways in which our current circumstances differ from those of 1983.

Read the rest of this entry »

How would we know if we were having a wages breakout? Back in the 70s, there was a period in which wages rose faster than productivity, leaving a situation that some economists dubbed a “real wage overhang”. This, I believe, is what people are talking about when they warn of a “breakout” – an inflationary burst of wages growth well in excess of productivity growth. In fact, since around the turn of the century, we’ve experienced the opposite phenomenon in Australia. Wages haven’t kept pace with labour productivity. They’ve “decoupled”.

Read the rest of this entry »