Newspaper article China Post

Global Financial Insecurity Is Real and Requires Solidarity

Newspaper article China Post

Global Financial Insecurity Is Real and Requires Solidarity

Article excerpt

The world is embroiled in free trade problems as populism throws into question the movement toward greater economic liberalization, giving rise to opportunities for companies to operate across borders. This has fueled economic anxiety from those who have ended up on the receiving end of the effect, as they watch the secure jobs that have existed for decades being relocated.

For those who do have jobs, the ups and downs of the global financial crisis have brought about no tangible rise in purchasing power. This is true across many industrialized countries such as the U.S. and Taiwan.

Corporations have been bailed out by the government, but have little incentive to offer more benefits to workers.

Among other commentaries, Thomas B. Edsall, in an evidence-rich piece titled "Why Trump Now?" published by The New York Times on March 1, laid out a strong argument that a rise in economic discontent is fueling political upheaval in the U.S.

Edsall provides a link to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) picture of stagnant wages across five decades, adjusted for inflation. In terms of average hourly wages, seasonally adjusted, one earned a wage of US$19.18 per hour in 1964, and US$20.67 per hour in 2014.

Compounding this problem is the unequal distribution in gains made across the spectrum of income groups. The same report by Drew Desilver of the Pew Research Center, citing the U.S. BLS brings out the drastic difference in fortunes of the different earning groups. Workers whose earnings were in the lowest 10th percentile saw their weekly wages drop by 3.7 percent since 2000, but people at the top saw a 9.7 percent rise in real wages.

Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the U.S. are widely thought of as challengers to the status quo, with special emphasis on toppling the systems that are perceived to have entrenched the misery of economic deprivation. Trump threatens companies that ship their jobs overseas with tax penalties, while Bernie Sanders' now-famous battle cry "break them up!" encapsulates the disdain that many feel towards the "tremendous political power" that financial monopoly has conferred on Wall Street. …

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