Showing posts with label wage-fixing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wage-fixing. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

If only Labor's wage changes were as bad as the bosses claim

Have you ever wondered why capitalism has survived for several centuries in the advanced economies? How a relative handful of rich families and company executives have been getting richer and more powerful for so long in countries where everyone gets a vote and could, if they chose, insist on something different?

It’s because the capitalists, counselled and coerced by politicians anxious to keep the peace, have made sure that the plebs, punters and ordinary working families have been given enough of the spoils to keep them reasonably content.

I remind you of this because, for 30 or 40 years in America, and now about a decade in Australia, the capitalist system – economists prefer calling it the market system – hasn’t been giving ordinary workers enough to keep them getting better off, while the few people at the top of the tree have been doing better, year after year.

If you wonder why so many Americans voted for a man like Donald Trump, and now delude themselves that he didn’t lose the last election, why the Yanks seem to be rapidly dismantling their democracy, a big part of their discontent is their loss of faith that the economic system is giving them a fair shake.

Fortunately, it’s nothing like that bad in Australia. Not yet, anyway. What’s true is that the average standard of living in Australia today is no better than it was a decade ago – something that hasn’t happened before in the more than 75 years since World War II.

Over the eight years before the pandemic, wages rose barely faster than inflation. We’ve had wage stagnation, now made a lot worse by the supply-chain disruptions of the pandemic, soaring electricity and gas prices caused by Russia’s war, and by the way floods keep wiping out our fruit and vegetable crops.

When Labor went to this year’s federal election promising to “get wages moving”, I think it struck a chord with many voters.

After we ended centralised wage-fixing by the Industrial Relations Commission in the early 1990s, we moved to collective bargaining at the level of the individual enterprise. Workers’ right to strike was hedged about with many requirements and limits.

At the beginning, more than 40 per cent of workers were covered by enterprise agreements. By now, however, some academic experts calculate that the proportion of workers covered by active agreements is down to about 15 per cent.

At the jobs and skills summit in September, all sides agreed that the enterprise bargaining system had broken down. Last week the government introduced its answer to wage stagnation, the Secure Jobs, Better Pay bill.

It would make a host of changes, many of which strengthen existing provisions of the Fair Work Act, and most of which the industrial parties agree would be improvements. It makes job security and gender pay equity explicit goals of the act, prohibits sexual harassment and requirements that workers keep their pay secret, and strengthens the right of workers with family responsibilities to request flexible working hours. More debatably, it abolishes the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

To repair enterprise bargaining, it clarifies the BOOT – better off overall test – requiring that agreements leave no worker worse off. This was the Business Council’s greatest complaint against enterprise agreements.

One reason such agreements now cover so few workers is that they’re expensive and complex for small and middle-size employers to organise. Hence, the proposal to widen the existing provision for “multi-employer bargaining”: workers in similar enterprises allowed to bargain collectively with a number of employers.

This would widen access to enterprise bargaining. It’s aimed particularly at strengthening the bargaining position of women in low-paid jobs in the aged care, childcare and disability care sector.

Ambit claims and exaggerated rhetoric are standard fare in industrial relations, but the cries of fear and outrage coming from the various employer groups are over the top.

It would “create more complexity, more strikes and higher unemployment,” said one. It was “so fatally flawed” it would “emasculate enterprise bargaining”, according to another outfit. It was “seismic” in its impact, claimed a third.

Methinks they doth … I’d be amazed if they actually believe that stuff. They’re probably still adjusting to the shock of having the unions back in the government tent. They know they won’t be able to stop the bill being passed, so they want at least to be seen opposing it with all their voice.

What changing the law won’t change is that the proportion of workers in a union has fallen from 50 per cent to 14 per cent. The small and middle-size businesses we’re talking about have even fewer union members than that.

No union members, no strike. No strike, no big pay rise. In any case, really powerful unions get big pay rises without needing to strike.

This is an attempt to make bargaining provisions that didn’t work last time, work this time. I doubt if these modest changes will do much to “get wages moving” again. More’s the pity. If I’m right, Australia’s capitalism will remain broken.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Summit consensus: everyone wins some, loses some

In the consensus spirit of dear departed Bob Hawke, Anthony Albanese is hoping it will be all sweetness and light at this week’s jobs and skills summit. And, to give them their due, the industrial parties have been doing their best, looking to realise John Howard’s maxim: “the things that unite us are greater than the things that divide us”.

The ACTU has issued a joint statement with the peak small business organisation expressing their agreement to “come together to explore ways to simplify and reduce complexity within the industrial relations system”.

The ACTU has also issued a joint statement with the Business Council – representing the nation’s biggest companies – and the two biggest employer groups. They all agree that federal and state governments should try harder and spend a lot more money fixing the almighty mess they’ve made of what they call “vocational education and training” but is actually what’s left of TAFE.

And the ACTU and the Business Council have issued a joint statement with the peak community welfare organisation, the Australian Council of Social Service, agreeing that the guiding framework of the summit should be “achieving and sustaining full employment”.

The Hawke government’s consensus summit succeeded because it sought a comprehensive, grand bargain in which each side gained something it wanted, while giving up things the others wanted.

Of course, no one knew more about hammering out a deal between warring parties than Hawke. I hope Albanese can rise to the occasion because, underneath all the smiling goodwill, the parties’ objectives in attending the summit seem diametrically opposed.

The main thing the unions want is a return to industry-wide, or at least multi-employer, wage bargaining because, under enterprise-level bargaining, they’ve lacked the industrial muscle to achieve decent pay rises. In contrast, the Business Council is desperate for a surge in migration to fill the present record number of job vacancies. Why? So big business doesn’t have to pay higher wages to attract the workers they need.

The council agrees that enterprise bargaining is broken, but what it means is that its members are finding it too hard to use the bargaining system to get their workers to agree to changes in the work they do in return for a pay rise.

Almost to a person, the nation’s economists are strong supporters of high levels of immigration. But the Economic Society of Australia’s recent survey of 50 top economists suggests their support has become more qualified.

Asked which of the policies likely to be discussed at the summit they considered to be of most benefit to Australians, only about a third picked “migration”, whereas almost two-thirds picked “education and skills”.

Independent economist Saul Eslake said he was “absolutely not an advocate of reducing our immigration intake” but he “didn’t think we should revert to being as reliant on it as a substitute for doing a better job of equipping those who are already here with the skills which will be required to obtain secure employment and decent wages in the years ahead”.

“Australia’s education system – at all levels – is increasingly failing to equip Australians with the skills required for the jobs of both today and the future,” he said. “As a result of the shortcomings in our education and training systems, we have become increasingly reliant on immigration to deliver skilled workers.”

Well, that’s one way to look at it. I think businesses have tolerated governments’ dismantling of higher education because, as part of their mania for lowering labour costs, they’ve found it easier and cheaper to import the already-trained labour they need.

Professor Sue Richardson, of Flinders University, said she thought that “judicious migration is very beneficial to the economic and social life of Australia”.

But we’ve “relied much too heavily on migration as a solution to any labour supply problem”. This “enables employers and our skills-development system to avoid a close examination of why we do not generate the skills that we need, and what needs to be done to ensure that we do”.

It seems the government is working towards increasing our immigration targets to please business and ease labour shortages, but in return for greater business support for technical training. And for higher wage rates for skilled workers on temporary visas, to limit the scope for undercutting the wages of local workers.

But Eslake suspects immigration may not return to pre-pandemic levels, at least not as quickly as widely assumed. I do too.

As for the wage-fixing arrangements, I think that’s what the ACTU will take away from the summit. Something has to be done to reduce the power imbalance between employers and employees, if the economy is to thrive.

It turns out enterprise bargaining suits big business, but not small business. The unions and the small business peak body have already agreed to explore a move to multi-employer bargaining.

With industry bargaining, firms don’t have to worry about agreeing to higher wages than their competitors are paying. You’d think that, in time, the nation’s big businesses would also see this advantage.

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Monday, August 29, 2022

Jobs summit: shut up those playing the productivity three-card trick

Anthony Albanese and his ministers are keen to ensure this week’s jobs and skills summit doesn’t degenerate into the talk fest the opposition is predicting it will be. Well, one way to avoid much hot air is to shut up people playing the usual three-card trick on productivity.

The truth is there’s a lot of muddled and dishonest talk about the relationship between wages and productivity. Much of this comes from the employer lobby groups, which will spout any pseudo-economic nonsense that suits their goal of keeping wage growth as low as possible.

But they get too much comfort from econocrats who think that if you know what economics 101 teaches about how demand and supply interact, you know all you need to know about how all markets work, including the labour market.

As former top econocrat Dr Michael Keating, an economist specialising in the labour market, has explained, “the authorities’ model, which assumes perfect competition, constant returns to scale and neutral technological progress, implies that real wages can be expected to grow at the same rate as [labour] productivity, neither more nor less, making it look as if the collapse in productivity growth explains the collapse in wages growth”.

So when workers complain about the lack of growth in real wages, the employers’ professional apologists reply that real wages haven’t grown because the productivity of labour hasn’t improved. If only the unions would co-operate in efforts to improve productivity, wages would grow, as sure as night follows day.

But the supposed magical mechanism by which productivity improvement flows inexorably to real wages is refuted by the summary statistics quoted in Treasury’s issues paper for the summit. We’re told that, though productivity improvement has slowed, we’ve still achieved growth averaging 1 per cent a year since 2004.

But we’re also told that “real wages have grown by only 0.1 per cent a year over the past decade, and have declined substantially over the past year”. Not much automatic flow-through there.

Which brings us to another thing that’s being fudged in the present debate. You sometimes hear spruikers for the employers implying you need productivity improvement to justify even a rise in nominal wages.

But productivity is a “real” – after-inflation – concept. For the benefit from national productivity improvement to be shared fairly between capital and labour – employers and employees – it has to increase wages over and above inflation.

Here, however, is where we strike another difficulty. There used to be tripartite consensus – business, workers and government – that wages should always keep up with prices. Cuts in real wages were needed only to correct a period where real wage growth had been excessive – that is, exceeding productivity improvement.

Right now, however, the opposite is the case. Real wages were long falling short of what productivity improvement we were achieving before the present surge in prices left wage rates far behind. Even with the labour market so tight, workers simply haven’t had the industrial muscle to achieve wage rises commensurate with the leap in prices.

And now, while businesses show little restraint in passing their higher imported input costs through to higher retail prices, while adding a bit for luck, the great and good – read business and the econocrats – have agreed that the quickest and easiest way to get inflation down is for the nation’s households to pay the price.

A big fall in real wages squares the circle. Business has passed on its costs – and then some – and the economic managers have redeemed their reputations and got the inflation rate falling back. What’s not to like?

Well, we’ve solved the problem by allowing a big cut in real household income. It’s likely businesses will feel adverse effects as households see no choice but to tighten their belts. And I imagine some workers, consumers and voters will be pretty upset, concluding that the economy certainly isn’t being run for their benefit.

In effect, Treasury’s issues paper says forget the present disaster and look to the future. We can get real wages growing again – an election promise - as soon as we get productivity up.

Well, no we can’t. The paper’s claiming that, contrary to the experience of the past decade, improved productivity automatically flows through to real wages. And even if that were true, it assumes workers are innumerate, and won’t know that future real gains in wages must first make up for previous real losses. It’s the productivity three-card trick.

Meanwhile, business and the econocrats’ self-serving expedience, in deciding that the punters should pay for a problem they did nothing to cause, has created the climate for radical reform of the wage-fixing system: a return to industry bargaining.

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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Inflation psychology: firms charge what they can get away with

Economists think inflation is all about economics. What they don’t know is that it’s also about psychology. But Reserve Bank governor Dr Philip Lowe shows a glimmer of understanding when he refers not to “inflation expectations” but to “inflation psychology”.

Notorious for their “physics envy” – where the world works according to known and unchanging laws, so everything can be reduced to mathematical calculation – economists think changes in prices are determined by the interaction of the “laws” of supply and demand.

This is true, but far from the whole truth. Especially for the prices set in the jobs market – aka wages – where this simple “neoclassical” analysis almost always gives wrong answers.

Economists’ first attempt at a less mechanical approach to the relatively modern problem of inflation – a continuing rise in the general level of prices – came from Milton Friedman and another Nobel laureate’s realisation of the important role played by people’s expectations about what will happen to the inflation rate.

If it worsens significantly and this leads enough people to expect it to stay high or go higher, their expectations may lead to the higher rate becoming entrenched via a “wage-price spiral”.

That is, expectations of higher inflation tend to be self-fulfilling because people act on their expectations. If businesses expect higher price rises generally, they adjust their own prices accordingly. And workers and their unions adjust their own wage demands accordingly.

When last the rich world had a big inflation problem, in the second half of the 1970s and much of the ’80s, this theory seemed to work well, though it took years for expectations to worsen. Then it took years of keeping interest rates high and demand weak, and getting actual inflation down below 3 per cent, before expected inflation came back down.

The inflation target, of 2 to 3 per cent on average, was set in the mid-90s to help “anchor” expectations at an acceptable level.

All this is why the latest leap in inflation has led some economists to worry that, if expectations become “unanchored”, inflation may become entrenched at a much higher level.

This fear explains why many are anxious to use higher interest rates to get actual inflation back down ASAP. If falling real wages help to speed the process, so much the better.

Two small problems with this. For a start, there’s little evidence – either here or in the other rich economies – that expectations have moved up. Sensibly, everyone expects that, before too long, the inflation rate will go back to being a lot lower.

In the real world of price-setting by firms and workers, it takes a lot longer for expectations to shift prices than it does for prices in share and other financial markets to bounce around.

But the deeper reason worries about worsening expectations are misplaced is that, since this theory became so influential in the ’70s, the mechanism by which the expected inflation rate becomes the actual rate has broken down.

Businesses retain the ability to raise their prices when they decide to – and to discount those prices should they discover they’ve pushed it too far and are losing sales - but organised workers have largely lost their ability to force employers to grant higher pay rises.

If you doubt that, ask yourself why the number of days lost to strikes is now the tiniest fraction of what it was in the ’70s. We’ve seen a little strike action lately, but it’s coming almost wholly from workers in the public sector – the main part of the workforce that’s still heavily unionised.

But the breakdown of the inflation-expectations theory and the “wage-price spiral” as explanations of the relatively modern phenomenon of inflation – a continuing rise in the general level of prices – leaves us looking elsewhere for explanations.

A big part of it is the message those economists who specialise in studying competition have to give financial economists such as Lowe: you don’t seem to realise that our modern oligopolised economy gives many big businesses a lot of power over the prices they’re able to charge.

Oligopoly is about the few huge firms dominating a particular market reaching a tacit agreement to keep prices high and stable, and limit their competition for market-share to non-price areas such as product differentiation and marketing.

As former competition czar Rod Sims has pointed out, this greatly reduces the ability of higher interest rates to influence prices in many big slabs of the economy.

But if many big businesses can improve their profitability by deciding to raise their prices, why did they wait until only a year ago to decide to start whacking up them up? Because it ain’t that simple.

All firms would like to raise their prices all the time. What stops them is the knowledge that they can’t charge more than “what the market will bear”. They worry about two things: what will my competitors do? And what will my customers do?

When there’s a big rise in input costs, the knowledge that all my competitors are facing the same cost increase gives me confidence we’ll all be passing it through to the customer at the same time.

That’s why it was the sudden, large and widespread increase in the cost of imported inputs caused by the pandemic and the Ukraine war that started the latest bout of prices rises at the retail level.

But, as Lowe keeps saying, the supply chain cost increases don’t explain all the rise in retail prices. He makes the obvious point that firms find it easier to raise their prices at a time when demand is strong and people are spending. His interest-rate rises are intended to stop demand being so strong and conducive to price rises.

But the less obvious point – especially to people mesmerised by the neoclassical way of thinking – is the role of psychology. I’ve got a great justification for increasing my prices, but no one’s counting. If my costs have risen by 5 per cent, but I increase my prices by 6 per cent, who’s to know?

Sims reminds us that this is just the way firms with pricing power behave. They raise their prices and profits in ways that aren’t easy for their customers to notice.

That covers big business. In the main, small businesses don’t have much pricing power. But “what the market will bear” is greater when the media has spent months softening up their customers with incessant talk about inflation and how high prices will go.

Lowe can’t say it, but it’s not uncooperative workers that are his problem, it’s businesses using the chance to slip in a little extra for themselves.

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Monday, August 1, 2022

The inflation fix: protect profits, hit workers and consumers

There’s a longstanding but unacknowledged – and often unnoticed – bias in mainstream commentary on the state of the economy. We dwell on problems created by governments or greedy workers and their interfering unions, but never entertain the thought that the behaviour of business could be part of the problem.

This ubiquitous pro-business bias – reinforced daily by the national press – is easily seen in the debate on how worried we should be about inflation, and in the instant attraction to the notion that continuing to cut real wages is central to getting inflation back under control. This is being pushed by the econocrats, and last week’s economic statement from Treasurer Jim Chalmers reveals it’s been swallowed by the new Labor government.

I’ve been arguing strongly that the primary source of the huge price rises we’ve seen is quite different to what we’re used to. It’s blockages in the supply of goods, caused by a perfect storm of global problems: the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and even climate change’s effect on meat and vegetable prices.

Since monetary policy can do nothing to fix supply problems, we should be patient and wait for these once-off, temporary issues to resolve themselves. The econocrats’ reply is that, though most price rises come from deficient supply, some come from strong demand – and they’re right.

Although more than half the 1.8 per cent rise in consumer prices in the June quarter came from just three categories – food, petrol and home-building costs – it’s also true there were increases in a high proportion of categories.

The glaring example of price rises caused by strong demand is the cost of building new homes. Although there have been shortages of imported building materials, it’s clear that hugely excessive stimulus – from interest rates and the budget – has led to an industry that hasn’t had a hope of keeping up with the government-caused surge in demand for new homes. It’s done what it always does: used the opportunity to jack up prices.

But as for a more general effect of strong demand on prices, what you don’t see in the figures is any sign it’s high wages that are prompting businesses to raise their prices. Almost 80 per cent of the rise in prices over the year to June came from the price of goods rather than services. That’s despite goods’ share of total production and employment being about 20 per cent.


This – along with direct measures of wage growth - says it’s not soaring labour costs that have caused so many businesses to raise their prices. Rather, strong demand for their product has allowed them to pass on, rather than absorb, the higher cost of imported inputs – and, probably, fatten their profit margins while they’re at it.

Take the amazing 7 per cent increase in furniture prices during the quarter. We’re told this is explained by higher freight costs. Really? I can’t believe it.

Nor can I believe that months of unrelenting media stories about prices rising here, there and everywhere – including an open mic for business lobbyists to exaggerate the need for price rises – haven’t made it easier for businesses everywhere to raise their prices without fear of pushback from customers.

But whenever inflation worsens, the economists’ accusing fingers point not to business but to the workers. No one ever says businesses should show more restraint, they do say the only way to fix the problem is for workers to take a real-wage haircut.

There’s no better evidence of the economics profession’s pro-business bias than its studious avoidance of mentioning the way the profits share of national income keeps rising and the wages share keeps falling.

In truth, the story’s not as simple as it looks, but it seems to have occurred to no mainstream economist that what may be happening is business using the cover of the supply-side disruptions to effect a huge transfer of income from labour to capital.

Allowing real wages to fall significantly for three years in a row – as Chalmers’ new forecasts say they will – would certainly be the quickest and easiest way to lower inflation, but do the econocrats really imagine this would leave the economy hale and hearty?

Yet another sign of economists’ pro-business bias is that so few of them know much – or even think they need to know much – about how wages are fixed in the real world. Hence all the silliness we’re hearing about the risk of lifting inflation expectations. Can’t happen when workers lack bargaining power.

You’d think an understanding of wage-fixing is something a Labor government could bring to the table. But no. All we’re getting from Chalmers is that we need to cut real wages so we can increase them later. Yeah, sure.

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Monday, June 27, 2022

Business volunteers its staff to take one for the shareholders' team

An increase in wages sufficient to prevent a further fall in real wages would do little harm to the economy and much good to businesses hoping their sales will keep going up rather than start going down.

It’s hard enough to figure out what’s going on in the economy – and where it’s headed – without media people who should know better misrepresenting what Reserve Bank governor Dr Philip Lowe said last week about wages and inflation.

One outlet turned it into a good guys versus bad guys morality tale, where Lowe rebuked the evil, inflation-mongering unions planning to impose 5 or 7 per cent wage rises on the nation’s hapless businesses by instituting a “3.5 per cent cap” on the would-be wreckers, with even the new Labor government “bowing” to Lowe’s order that real wages be cut, and the ACTU “conceding” that 5 per cent wage claims would not go forward.

ACTU boss Sally McManus was on the money in dismissing this version of events as coming from “Boomer fantasy land”. What she meant was that this conception of what’s happening today must have come from the mind of someone whose view of how wage-fixing works was formed in the 1970s and ’80s, and who hadn’t noticed one or two minor changes in the following 30 years.

No one younger than a Baby Boomer could possibly delude themselves that workers could simply demand some huge pay rise and keep striking – or merely threatening to strike – until their employer caved in and granted it.

Or believe that, as really was the case in the 1970s and 1980s, the quarterly or half-yearly “national wage case” awarded almost every worker in the country a wage rise indexed to the consumer price index. Paul Keating abolished this “centralised wage-fixing system” in the early ’90s and replaced it with collective bargaining at the enterprise level.

John Howard’s changes, culminating in the Work Choices changes in 2005, took this a lot further, outlawing compulsory unionism, tightly constraining the unions’ ability to strike, allowing employers to lock out their employees, removing union officials’ right to enter the workplace and check that employers were complying with award provisions (now does the surge in “accidental” wage theft surprise you?) and sought to diminish employees’ bargaining power by encouraging individual contracts rather than collective bargaining.

Julia Gillard’s Fair Work changes in 2009 reversed some of the more anti-union elements of Work Choices but, as part of modern Labor’s eternal desire to avoid getting off-side with big business, let too many of them stand.

As both business and the unions agree, enterprise bargaining is falling into disuse. On paper, about a third of the nation’s employees are subject to enterprise agreements. But McManus claims that, in practice, it’s down to about 15 per cent.

All these changes in the “institution arrangements” for wage-fixing are before you take account of the way organised labour’s bargaining power has been diminished by globalisation and technological change making it so much easier to move work – particularly in manufacturing, but increasingly in services – to countries where labour is cheaper.

In the ’80s, about half of all workers were union members. Today, it’s down to 14 per cent, with many of those concentrated in public sector jobs such as nursing, teaching and coppering.

All this is why fears that we risk returning to the “stagflation” of the 1970s are indeed out of fantasy land. Only a Boomer who hasn’t been paying attention, or a youngster with no idea of how much the world has changed since then, could worry about such a thing.

The claim that Lowe has stopped the union madness in its tracks by imposing a “3.5 per cent cap” on wage rises misrepresents what he said. It ignores his qualification that 3.5 per cent – that is, 2.5 per cent as the mid-point of the inflation target plus 1 per cent for the average annual improvement in the productivity of labour – is “a medium-term point that I’ve been making for some years” (my emphasis) that “remains relevant, over time,” (ditto) and is the “steady-state wage increase”.

Like the inflation target itself, it’s an average to be achieved “over the medium term” – that is, over 10 years or so – not an annual “cap” that you can fall short of for most of the past decade, but must never ever exceed.

Supposedly, it’s a “cap” because of Lowe’s remark that “if wage increases become common in the 4 to 5 per cent range, then it’s going to be harder to return inflation to 2.5 per cent.”

That’s not the imposition of a cap – which, in any case, Lowe doesn’t have to power to do, even if he wanted to – it’s a statement of the bleeding obvious. It’s simple arithmetic.

But it’s also an utterly imaginary problem. It ain’t gonna happen. Why not? Because, as McManus “conceded”, no matter how unfair the unions regard it to force workers to bear the cost of the abandon with which businesses have been protecting their profits by whacking up their prices, workers simply lack the industrial muscle to extract pay rises any higher than the nation’s chief executives can be shamed into granting.

While we’re talking arithmetic, however, don’t fall for the line – widely propagated – that if prices rise by 5 per cent, and then wages rise by 5 per cent, the inflation rate stays at 5 per cent. As the Bureau of Statistics has calculated, labour costs account for just 25 per cent of all business costs.

So, only if all other, non-labour costs have also risen by 5 per cent does a 5 per cent rise in wage rates justify a 5 per cent rise in prices, thus preventing the annual inflation rate from falling back.

In other words, what we’re arguing about is how soon inflation falls back to the target range. Commentators with an unacknowledged pro-business bias (probably because they work for big business) are arguing that it should happen ASAP by making the nation’s households take a huge hit to their real incomes. This, apparently, will be great for the economy.

Those in the financial markets want to hasten the return to target by having the Reserve raise interest rates so far and so fast it puts the economy into recession. Another great idea.

Meanwhile, Lowe says he expects the return to target inflation to take “some years”. What a wimp.

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