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Old 8th August 2017, 07:00 PM
wadaye wadaye is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,754
Default Re: Why income/wealth equality is getting worse

142857 said View Post
One example I can think of. A good friend who I used to work with in IT was the son of Italian immigrants who came to Australia as young adults in, I would guess, the late 1950s. His father worked as a carpenter, he worked hard and made sacrifices and ended up owning 5 houses while raising 5 children. And good on him. He had the opportunity to work hard and make money and invest that money.

Fast forward to 2017. One of my friends at work asked me a question. Now he is a recent non-European immigrant (within the last 2 or 3 years) and came to Oz in his early thirties. He is one of the smartest, most focused and diligent, most highly-skilled, most hard-working people I have had the pleasure of working with in IT. He asked me "what should I do, I will never be able to afford to buy a house in Sydney and I don't want to retire with nothing. Should I try to buy a house in the countryside? In another state?". Frankly I think he is dreaming if he thinks he can even afford that. Just like my friend's Italian immigrant father he gets the opportunity to work lots of overtime - but in 2017 with so much competition for the few jobs available employers only need to pay low salaries and can expect employees to work unpaid overtime.

Our message to immigrants should not be "come to Australia and be part of the new underclass". Or "Study IT at great sacrifice for your parents, study hard for years and years, get a Masters Degree, so you can come to Australia and drive a taxi, because successive governments listened to industry lobby groups talking up a skills shortage that doesn't exist".

I don't expect that everyone should have equality of outcome, I don't think any of us do. But governments need to address issues of structural inequality.
One very easy way to eliminate overtime and still have workers needing to work 50 hours or more a week to survive requires cooperation across the economy. If two employers each employ a worker on 50 hours per week they have to pay a large amount of overtime. The problem for the employer can be solved if they each agree to employ both workers for 25 hours each per week. Thus the problem of overtime is eliminated. of course it requires extra travel time by the workers but that is an externality.
Its really brilliant.
Superannuation and sick pay, maternity leave and so on can be discarded (illegally of course) by simply having the worker as a subcontractor with an ABN.

Edit if this seems cynical, all we have to do to the above to reflect the current reality is to take out the requirement for an agreement between two employers and simply recognise that this is the new normal status quo in the economy generally.
"I'm an ape, I'm an African ape and I'm proud of it, and you should be too". Richard Dawkins

Last edited by wadaye; 8th August 2017 at 07:02 PM.
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