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The (International) Political Economy of Falling Wage Shares: Situating Working-Class Agency

Bengtsson, Erik LU and Ryner, Magnus (2015) In New Political Economy 20(3). p.406-430
Abstract
This paper relates the financial and monetary dimensions of the contemporary economic crisis to working-class agency via a central concern of classical political economy: the distribution of surplus between the chief factors of production. The fall in the wage share of value added is now accepted as a stylised fact in the empirical economic literature. This paper argues that the punctuated pattern of the development validates the regulation theoretical narrative of an epochal shift from Fordism to finance-led accumulation. Furthermore, synthesising econometric studies supports a class-centred explanation. In the last instance, the falling wage share is due to successful transnational class rule in the form of a neoliberal hegemonic... (More)
This paper relates the financial and monetary dimensions of the contemporary economic crisis to working-class agency via a central concern of classical political economy: the distribution of surplus between the chief factors of production. The fall in the wage share of value added is now accepted as a stylised fact in the empirical economic literature. This paper argues that the punctuated pattern of the development validates the regulation theoretical narrative of an epochal shift from Fordism to finance-led accumulation. Furthermore, synthesising econometric studies supports a class-centred explanation. In the last instance, the falling wage share is due to successful transnational class rule in the form of a neoliberal hegemonic paradigm. Crucially, such class rule restructured the environment of trade unions, rendering increasingly ineffective its relational power resources. The paper concludes by considering the contradictory implications for organised labour of the current financial crisis. On the one hand, the financial crisis offers an opportunity to link its particular interests to the general interest of macroeconomic management since low wage share inhibits growth rates. But how might trade unions assert a higher wage share in the face of the structural power of (financial) capital? (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
wage share, inequality, class, income distribution, finance-led capitalism, neo-liberalism
in
New Political Economy
volume
20
issue
3
pages
406 - 430
publisher
Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • scopus:84928583052
ISSN
1356-3467
DOI
10.1080/13563467.2014.951430
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
0f3c6c4a-68eb-4bef-a015-01d79c2aeab8 (old id 8619104)
alternative location
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13563467.2014.951430
date added to LUP
2016-02-11 13:22:36
date last changed
2017-10-22 03:29:08
@article{0f3c6c4a-68eb-4bef-a015-01d79c2aeab8,
  abstract     = {This paper relates the financial and monetary dimensions of the contemporary economic crisis to working-class agency via a central concern of classical political economy: the distribution of surplus between the chief factors of production. The fall in the wage share of value added is now accepted as a stylised fact in the empirical economic literature. This paper argues that the punctuated pattern of the development validates the regulation theoretical narrative of an epochal shift from Fordism to finance-led accumulation. Furthermore, synthesising econometric studies supports a class-centred explanation. In the last instance, the falling wage share is due to successful transnational class rule in the form of a neoliberal hegemonic paradigm. Crucially, such class rule restructured the environment of trade unions, rendering increasingly ineffective its relational power resources. The paper concludes by considering the contradictory implications for organised labour of the current financial crisis. On the one hand, the financial crisis offers an opportunity to link its particular interests to the general interest of macroeconomic management since low wage share inhibits growth rates. But how might trade unions assert a higher wage share in the face of the structural power of (financial) capital?},
  author       = {Bengtsson, Erik and Ryner, Magnus},
  issn         = {1356-3467},
  keyword      = {wage share,inequality,class,income distribution,finance-led capitalism,neo-liberalism},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {406--430},
  publisher    = {Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {New Political Economy},
  title        = {The (International) Political Economy of Falling Wage Shares: Situating Working-Class Agency},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2014.951430},
  volume       = {20},
  year         = {2015},
}