By Fareed Zakaria
U.S. wages have fallen from 53 percent of GDP in 1970 to less than 44 percent last year, notes Michael Hiltzik in the Los Angeles Times.
“The most succinct way to measure how corporate earnings have fared vs. workers' wages is to examine their share of the U.S. economy — that is, gross domestic product. From 1950 through the 1970s, corporate profits hovered in the range of 5 percent to 7 percent of GDP. They dipped as low as 3 percent in 1986, but since then have staged a long-term ascent that has brought them to 11 percent today, their highest level since World War II. (That's as far back as Federal Reserve figures go.)”
“China’s large pool of surplus labor has fueled its rapid industrial growth. Now this demographic dividend may be almost exhausted,” argue Yukon Huang and Clare Lynch in Bloomberg.
“College graduates are four times as likely to be unemployed as urban residents of the same age with only basic education, even as factories go begging for semi-skilled workers. Given the underdeveloped service sector and still-large roles of manufacturing and construction, China has created a serious mismatch between skills of the labor force and available jobs.”
The map of who sells and who buys oil and natural gas is being radically redrawn, writes Vince Beiser in Pacific Standard.
“The new world oil economy could bring dramatic changes to the entire Middle East. The Persian Gulf States still have unmatched resources – Saudi Arabia alone holds one-fifth of all the world’s known oil reserves – but we don’t need them like we used to. American imports from the gulf have plummeted in recent years; our top two fossil fuel providers are now Canada and Mexico. That’s partly because of increased U.S. production, and also because of a surge in imports of another recently unlocked resource – the oil sands of northern Alberta. Meanwhile, all the new oil and gas coming online worldwide will likely bring prices down. That could mean a serious cash crunch for the kings and emirs who have long depended on government handouts to keep their citizens from demanding greater freedoms, Arab Spring-style.”