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money, politics, wages 

It's a common trope that there is no labor shortage, only bosses who aren't willing to pay more. The reality is far more complex.

For many businesses the sales are already made before product is built- there's no way to raise prices after the fact, and if the margins don't support it, prices can't be increased.

Similarly, increasing prices may make a company non-competitive compared to overseas labor who gets less benefits.

Labor shortages are not *always* due to greed.

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money, politics, wages 

@emacsen
Also some cost of labor is one reasonably popular metric for inflation so there are a lot of people who don't want to see the forest for the trees right now.

re: money, politics, wages 

@emacsen I'm only seeing a shortage for on site service jobs: jobs that can't be outsourced for products that can't be sold ahead of time.

re: money, politics, wages 

@petit

Service jobs are more complex in the era of COVID. There was a report during the pandemic that showed many people wouldn't accept a job that involved people due to the health risks, basically no matter how much you offered, people would say no.

I agree about increasing pay for service jobs generally, but we can't ignore the impact that wages have on low margin businesses, especially small business.

money, politics, wages 

@emacsen I'd pin the labour shortage more on incompetence then greed. If a company doesn't update their internal labour charge rate at least two quarters in advance of product delivery they are going to fail.

And, looking at the sectors where were seeing labour shortages in Canada, it's clear a large proportion of business owners have a healthy dose of survivorship bias, and have no idea how to navigate a change in cost structure or are handcuffed by franchise structures.

money, politics, wages 

@alexjgriffith

I'd say it's hard to predict the COVID situation, but I hear you and respect that viewpoint.

money, politics, wages 

@emacsen @alexjgriffith If you look at the productivity/pay gap which has been growing since the 1980s, a lot has been stolen from labour. It's about time that there be a levelling.

As someone said a while ago, the working class hasn't had a real terms pay rise for one, maybe two, generations.

money, politics, wages 

@bob

The productivity/pay gap is a complex beast and what it tells me is a different story entirely- that wages and productivity are two weakly related variables.

A CEO isn't 1,000x more effective than a an average worker.

A person aided by machine can produce more but do less work.

What we need are changes in wealth distribution and social services to ensure fairness, but that's separate from this debate, at least in my mind.

money, politics, wages 

@bob

Let me give you a simple example... I worked for a company that did medical billing assistance. Our unit of work was called a "code".

A "coder" could produce, let's say 50 codes an hour (just a guess), and then with our software, they could code 150 an hour.

But that doesn't mean they should get 3x more.. Their productivity is divorced from their effort.

Fair wages aren't really connected with productivity.

money, politics, wages 

@emacsen @bob I think the labour shortages and productivity/pay gap are linked. It's not that people are doing less work than decades ago. In many cases they're doing more than their parents or grandparents did, without union protection and with much worse inflation-adjusted pay and working conditions.

They can keep stealing from workers, but at some point the economy becomes completely dysfunctional and business as usual starts to break down no matter how much propaganda appears on TV. The driver shortages that we have here are partly about Brexit, but mainly it's a story of decreasing pay and worsening working conditions with longer hours and less safety. More of the value generated has been going to bosses and not to the people creating it.

money, politics, wages 

@bob

I don't think we can point to a single cause. I agree that the wage gaps are unacceptable and that workers deserve good working conditions, health care, reasonable hours and a living wage, I just am not sure that we can use the labor movement to get there and wonder if there might be other effective mechanisms to give people the means to live and thrive.

I don't think there's one right answer here. Unions in the UK and US are less powerful than they should be.

money, politics, wages 

@emacsen @bob It's hard to predict exactly when the breaking point will be, but maybe we're at the start of it now. Here the military are driving fuel trucks. Not something that you'd see if the magical neoliberal market was the self-correcting solution to all economic problems.

money, politics, wages 

@emacsen I really feel for franchise owners, as they are being squeezed from both ends right now. They need to pay their staff more to retain them, but the corporate expropriation hasn't given them any more breathing room. They have no room to manoeuvre.

Looking at McDonalds Corporate, in spite of the significant difficulty brining on labour, they have had a blockbuster year.

money, politics, wages 

@alexjgriffith

I agree generally with your assessment.

McDonalds is such a bizzare company that it's really hard to use them as an example of business.

They heavily restrict the franchise owner's power, and McDonalds owns everything in the store, including the land its on, so franchise owners are really just employees in all but name only.

I think McDonalds even requires owners work at the store a certain number of hours.

I don't know why anyone buys a McDonalds.

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