- Saturday, June 16, 2007
- Socialist Appeal
Compared with most of the world, American workers enjoyed higher standards of living for several decades, due largely to the fierce union struggles of the past. Although there has always been a vast sub-stratum of the class, working in minimum wage, non-union jobs under poor conditions, for a significant sector, it seemed that things weren’t so bad under capitalism after all.
However, with population growth and the emergence of new markets such as China, India, and Eastern Europe, where rock-bottom wages and poor conditions prevail, the capitalist class is forcing U.S. workers to compete for increasingly low wages, benefits and deteriorating conditions. The IMF recently reported that the “effective global labor force” has risen fourfold over the past two decades. This has served to push down wages in the advanced industrialized countries, particularly among unskilled workers. Some analysts predict that the mass layoffs and “offshoring” of the past period are just the beginning - as many as 30 to 40 million more jobs could be lost in the coming years.