Western Europe: The Wages of Prosperity

While U.S. employers have reason to complain about soaring labor costs, the fact is that wages have been rising much faster in other major nations, notably those of Western Europe. Between the 1958 start of the Common Market and 1965, U.S. workers' pretax wages went up 14%. During that seven-year period, pretax wages jumped 25% in Italy, 29% in France, 40% in Denmark, 41% in The Netherlands, and 53% in West Germany.

To be sure, European workers, having started lower, still have a lot of catching up to do. The average American factory...

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