- When times are good, capital can extract huge profits from labor with little risk. For instance, after the last economic crisis, the S&P 500 (thanks in large part to government bailouts) not only managed to recover all of its losses by 2013, it then proceeded to almost double its value in the seven years that followed — an average rate of growth equal to about 14 percent per year. By contrast, average hourly wages for working people, which rose less than three percent per year for most of that same period, recovered much more slowly, and many workers actually saw their wages fall or remain flat when adjusted for inflation. When times are bad, however, in moments of crisis, when profits are low, or when there is little or no demand — such as we are seeing in many industries today — corporations and companies can protect themselves and their market value by simply letting workers go. Workers, on the other hand usually must continue to pay for food, rent, healthcare, and basic utilities in order to survive. As a consequence, while capital can often weather the storm of such economic crises, they can severely weaken the power of the working class by creating what Marx called a vast reserve army of labor. And since unemployment insurance compensations are rarely available to all and always only for a short period of time, workers — whether laid off or only threatened with the prospect of layoffs—will eventually be pressured to work much harder for less wages. And this is precisely why the future of worker’s power depends on how we respond to this crisis now. While capitalists and their paid politicians will scoff at these demands, claiming they are economically infeasible or impossible, this is because they only understand the language of profit and cannot imagine a world run for the benefit of all. Nonetheless, the fact remains that capital has significant resources that could and must be made available to all working people.
- Políticos: somos vuestros jefes y os estamos haciendo un ERE
- Polititians: we're your bosses and this is a layoff plan