Wednesday 7 December 2016

Cheap labour wrapped up as a humanitarian crisis

Published 23/09/2015 | 02:30

Migrants walk towards Germany at the border crossing with Austria
Migrants walk towards Germany at the border crossing with Austria

For 25 years after World War II, growth rates were high in the capitalist economies. Real income rose, as did the consumption of goods. However, multiple economic recessions in the mid-1970's brought this to an end.

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To control costs, business began to migrate to areas of low-cost labour such as the Pacific Rim and Far East because labour was powerful and organised in the mature economies. Business tackled the problem of well-paid labour in the core capitalist economies with 'Liberalisation of the Labour Market', whereby low-cost labour was imported which also undermined indigenous costs. This was re-branded 'Freedom of Movement' for public consumption, especially in states like Germany where pay rates had been frozen for 10 years.

It was in this spirit that Angela Merkel called for more foreign workers to come to Germany to take up low-paid jobs, especially in retirement homes to look after the ageing population. Immigrants grow old too of course, but business needs come first and any criticism is castigated.

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