It used to be that governments could justify auto industry handouts on the basis of the steady stream of tax revenues they would pocket from all those workers hired to assemble cars. But labour is a shrinking input in today’s cars. The real value added is higher up the food chain – in design and engineering – and in the expensive robots that do most of the assembly grunt work.
This is one reason why labour’s share of national income is falling everywhere. For decades, there was little fluctuation in the proportion of income accruing each to labour and capital. But since the 1990s, capital’s share has been constantly rising. That’s good for the owners of capital – in Chrysler’s case, the shareholders of Italian-based Fiat – but not so great for workers.
Read more by Konrad Yakabuski on The Globe and Mail
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