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经济学人:资本退位,打工人的黄金时代正在到来(2)

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As the labour market recovers, two deeper shifts are unfolding, in politics and in technology. Start with the political environment, which is becoming friendlier to workers than it has been for decades. An early sign of change was the surge in minimum wages during the previous economic cycle. Relative to average wages, they rose by more than a quarter in the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, weighted by population. Now governments and institutions are falling over themselves to chum up to workers. President Joe Biden hopes to use his planned infrastructure splurge to promote unionisation and to pay generous wages. Central banks are worrying ever more about jobs and less about inflation. It was not a prank when on April 1st the IMF, once famed for its austerity, floated the idea of one-off solidarity taxes on the rich and on companies. In his letter to shareholders this week, Jamie Dimon, the boss of JPMorgan Chase, Wall Street’s biggest firm, called for higher wages—and he wasn’t talking about CEOs.

伴随劳动力市场复苏,两个更深层次的转变开始在政治层面和技术层面展开。首先是政治环境的改变。与过去几十年相比,政治环境对打工人来说越来越友好。该变化的一个早期迹象就是上一个经济周期中最低工资的激增。在主要由富裕国家组成的经合组织(OCED)中,相较于平均工资,其最低工资按人口加权增长超过四分之一。如今,各国政府和机构都在竭力拉拢打工人。拜登总统希望利用他计划的大量投资基础设施建设来促进工会组织的建立,并支付丰厚的工资。各国央行对就业的担忧与日俱增,对通胀的担忧却越来越少。4月1日,曾靠经济紧缩打天下的国际货币基金组织(IMF)提出了对富人和企业征收一次性团结税的想法,这并非玩笑。华尔街最大的公司摩根大通(JPMorgan Chase)的老板杰米•戴蒙本周在致股东的信中呼吁涨薪,但他并不是在谈论给高层涨薪。

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The second big shift in the labour market is technological. In the pandemic doomsayers have doubled down on predictions of long-term labour-market woes. Robots will create armies of the idle, precarious jobs are displacing stable ones and even prosperous workers chained to emails and screens know in their hearts that their “bullshit jobs” are pointless. But as our special report this week explains, these ideas were never supported by evidence and do not look as if they are about to be now. In 2019 nearly two-thirds of Americans said they were completely satisfied with their job security, up from less than half in 1999; a lower share of German workers felt insecure than in the mid-2000s. Countries with the most automation, like Japan, enjoy some of the lowest unemployment.

劳动力市场的第二大转变是技术。在此次疫情期间,因为预测到劳动力市场会面临长期困境,悲观主义者已经翻倍。机器人将创造出劳动力闲置大军,不稳定的工作岗位取代稳定的工作岗位,即使是那些受电子邮件和屏幕羁绊的富裕员工心里也知道自己的工作毫无意义。但正如我们本周的特别报道所解释的那样,这些观点从未得到证据支持,而且看起来也与当前实际情况有出入。2019年,近三分之二的美国人表示,他们对自己的工作保障完全满意,相较于1999年不到一半的满意度有所上涨;与2000年代中期相比,对工作没有安全感的德国员工的比例有所下降。日本等自动化程度最高的国家失业率最低。

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