This question is not backed by serious economic research but mainly by a very simple attempt to look at how the world economy has changed.
I am asking whether and why the world has, over the past 50 or so years, become less productive (not used in the strict economic sense here) and therefore people have less money to do stuff/buy things.
Several reasons why I believe this to be the case (I am open to be corrected):
- Real wages in developed economies have not risen for a long time
- Financial crisis now been going on for many years (almost 10)
- Unemployment in the EU is very high
- Tax rates are ever-increasing (it seems) relative to median wages
- More and more people are reliant on welfare (from what I gather, unfortunately I don't have a source at this point
- Growth in developing countries (China) has decreased
- National debts are ever-increasing
This has left me with the feeling that in many situations, there is simply 'less' money to go around and be spent. I can observe this, for example, by the seemingly constant need of companies and countries (even where I live, in wealthy Switzerland) to save money and reduce expenses (I don't know if it only seems this way because of some biases or it is actually the case).
Again, not sure if this is actually happening or if it only seems so to me (Also apologies for not being able to express this in very 'economy' terms).
Several reasons that I could explain to myself why it would seem like we have less to spend and are less productive than we used to be:
- Rising inequality (the rich keep getting more so the majority has less)
- Less incentive for technological progress (apart from in IT). In many industries, there is no reason to keep making everything better, only to make it cheaper and more profitable. We have most of what we need and don't see a point in improving it (cupboards, beds, kitchen utensils etc.)
- Lethargy of people. Many people are happy with what they have and do not want to work more/harder
- We have most of what we need, and the things that are left to buy are luxury items (which we maybe didn't think about before)
Again sorry for the very vague way of asking this question without any evidence, but if someone could help me make it more concrete I would be very open to that.
I guess what I want to say is do people have less money and less to spend than they used to, and if so, why?