More Immigration = Lower Wages = Being Competitive

It should be simple to understand.

When the labour market is tight, the price of that labour rises.

Australia along with other countries such as Norway, Netherlands and Switzerland all have low unemployment rates. They also have some of the highest average annual wages and minimum wages amongst OECD member countries.

Tight workplace capacity (whether that means offices, factories or other facilities) and a unionised workforce can also add to the cost of labour.

When people earn more, the prices of other products can afford to rise too, simply because rising disposable income means there is more demand for the staples and non-discetionary items.

But today, Australian business operators are complaining that the cost of paying staff is becoming a heavy burden and nationally, we do understand that high wages are making us uncompetitive. They are asking the government for help.

Government doesn’t control the price of labour, so they can’t actually manipulate this price directly. What is confusing furthermore, is that businesses are happy to benefit from the positives of a free market economy, yet they are not willing to accept the cost that comes from such capitalism.

What needs to be done? What help can government provide ?

I would like your comments too.

If  the labour market is tight, then open it up. Allow more immigration. Australia is so large we can easily fit 100 million people here. Make the labour market more competitive and its price will fall. More people will also send the cost of other products down. If there are more consumers, then supply will meet the demand and price equilibrium will weave its magic.

Government needs to take a stronger line on unions and labour contract employment reform. Employees need to be convinced that the statute law passed which governs our land will be steadfastly upheld. The honouring of these laws doesn’t really require the oversight nor lobbying of a union because the “checks and balances” of democracy, its electoral constituents and the Westminster parliamentary system already exist.

I think its time we spoke truthfully about why the cost of labour is high. The headline unemployment rate isn’t the only things that matters, although government seems to think this is the major topic that will keep them elected.

The United States, Spain, Italy & Korea all have higher unemployment rates, noticeably lower wages, export more product (in dollar value), comparatively similar sized GDP per capita and much larger populations.

 

 

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One Response to More Immigration = Lower Wages = Being Competitive

  1. Mark McManus says:

    Are the complaints about the cost of labour justified or just whinging?
    I believe labour productivity/flexibility/inflexibility is a bigger issue.
    Taking a broader view than just relatively high wage costs…
    A society without an entrenched class of ‘Working Poor’ is demonstrably more ‘efficient’ overall (and a more pleasant place to live.)
    Less Crime, requires less Police, fewer Gaols, fewer health issues, better education outcomes, higher volunteer rates, less social security…
    Would we in fact be better served by removing acknowledged impediments to growth such as stamp duty, payroll tax …
    Given our deteriorating city commute times – and rural labour shortages – could there be something like a compulsory regional work/residency period…
    Lots to think about…

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