As this chart from Talking Points Memo and the Economic Policy Institute shows, until about 1980 when the Republicans and conservatives took control, the hourly compensation of American workers increased almost in lockstep with productivity. American workers shared in the productivity gains that came from their willingness to work hard and to assist in the introduction of new technology. In the 1980s, the Ayn Rand zealots took over. Since then, workers have been treated as a barely necessary evil and unworthy of having a share in the future.
Capitalism works and can survive only when everyone---workers, managers, and owners—share in the financial and other rewards that Capitalism can bring. When Capitalism stops working for any group, then it is in trouble. We had better start thinking about how we can bring the hourly compensation of American workers back in line with productivity. Otherwise, we are destined for big trouble.