The Corner

Politics & Policy

How the Left Proved That We Are Underpaid

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Leftists are always looking for those little “gotcha” studies to prove that Marx was right — that workers are underpaid. Writing for AIER, Swedish economist Joakim Book relates the story of a study in Iceland that has been cited as evidence for the proposition that workers are just as productive if they spend less time on the job.

Book proceeds to demolish the “research” behind that conclusion and then gets to the root of the problem, namely that the workers involved in the study were all government employees. He writes,

“Public officials. Civil servants. The kind that push paper for a living, when not dead set on annoying the rest of us with bureaucratic nothingness. The report stated that

“To be able to work less while providing the same level of service, changes in the organisation of work therefore had to be implemented. Most commonly, this was done by rethinking how tasks were completed: shortening meetings, cutting out unnecessary tasks, and shifts arrangements.”

If anything, the story suggests that government employees working less does not cause any identifiable harm to society.”

Right. Prosperous countries have lots of government employees who are paid well to do work that often doesn’t need to be done at all, or could be done better and at lower cost by workers in the private sector. Book is correct that all this proves is that government is wasteful.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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