If you ever needed a reason to work on your own and join the growing ranks of the self-employed, a recent report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives may give you a clear financial reason. According to the Financial Post (not exactly a socialist paper):
The prolonged period of economic prosperity that Canada has enjoyed resulted in a 72-per-cent increase in economic output between 1975 and 2005, growth that has continued since, it [CCPA] noted.
The benefits of the growth, however, have not been reflected in workers’ paycheques, it added. “Canadians’ average real wages, which are wages adjusted for inflation, have not increased in more than 30 years.”
Corporations have had continuous profits while workers have seen none of it. Trickle down economics doesn’t work. One of the few options for individual workers is to establish a new work contract. However, unions are losing influence and collective bargaining hasn’t done much for workers’ wages.
It’s getting easier for individuals to connect with social applications like Facebook and we are also seeing tools like Linked-In for business. The tools for individual workers to connect and collaborate are now available, though we don’t have the culture or mindset to fully embrace them yet.
Given that corporate profits have been made at the expense of the labour force, free-agentry should be looking like a better option for a lot of people. Places like work commons can support this shift but other models are necessary. For example, we have a green builders’ cooperative here in town. More flexible taxes could also help new micro-businesses, but first we’ll have to educate the politicians. The data from the CCPA are a start.