Productivity and Wages: Late Capitalism in One Chart

Productivity per hour vs hourly wages in the U.S., 1950-2020. Chart: Jordan Engel

“Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.”
– Karl Marx, Capital

There’s a growing gap between the value of our labor and what we’re actually paid.

This is not some fluke of capitalism that can be reformed. It’s foundational to the entire system.

Labor is entitled to all it creates.


Sources:
Our World in Data
Pew Research


5 comments

  1. Excellent graph. I’m just feeling that much of that increase of productivity is not just science, mechanization and “better” production organization under capitalism… but largely comes at the cost of exploiting nature and (in the case of the USA and other wealthy countries) of exploiting the semi-colonies as well and taking (mostly) the most profitable segments of production. That should also be addressed for the sake of completitude, because neither US capitalism lives in a bubble nor human exploitation is radically distinct from exploitation of other nature by humans (mostly the bourgeois).

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  2. Would love to see a third line on this graph depicting average Forbes 500 CEO earnings. Wouldn’t be surprised if it mirrored the productivity line or rose even more steeply.

    Thank you for your important work! Lilith

    On Mon, Feb 15, 2021 at 11:48 AM The Decolonial Atlas wrote:

    > decolonialatlas posted: ” Productivity per hour vs hourly wages in the > U.S., 1950-2020. Chart: Jordan Engel “Capital is dead labor, which, > vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the > more labor it sucks.”- Karl Marx, CapitalThere’s a growing gap b” >

    Like

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