The professor of Labor Law at the University of Valencia, Adrián Todolí, publishes the book “Labor Regulation and Economic Policy. How labor rights improve the economy “
“The best way, I would say the only way, to improve the economy is to [Nadia] Calvin and [Yolanda] Diaz understand each other. “Beyond the personal relationship that the two vice presidents of the Government may have, this phrase synthesizes the thesis defended in his new book by the professor of Labor Law at the University of Valencia Adrián Todolí. On “Labor Regulation and Economic Policy. How labor rights improve the economy”, This doctor of law and a degree in economics investigates the difficult and tortuous relationship between macroeconomic progress and labor rights. Two key issues in the progress of societies and that in recent years the majority economic thought has presented as difficult to fit, if not incompatible. A myth that Todolí tries to dismantle in his book. “Labor rights improve the economy, by improving productivity and competitiveness of companies. In addition to reducing social inequality,” he says in conversation with EL PERIÓDICO.
In 1989, with a dying USSR and neoliberalism well represented in the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, in the United States, and Margaret Tatcher, as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the economist John Williamson coined the “Washington Consensus”. This 10-point ode to deregulation marked the mood of international organizations such as the IMF or the World Bank and, according to Todolí reviews in his book, has conditioned the economic debate until very recently. “Since the 90s, labor deregulation has prevailed, with the idea that it harmed rather than favored the economy. […] And the criticism of this has been approached from a more ethical perspective, of social justice, than not an economic one ”, he comments.
After the crisis of 2008 and the wave of protests that emerged in Europe during the Great Recession, the discourse of these institutions has changed. “Excessive inequality does not promote sustainable growth”, admitted in 2015 the then managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and today top leader of the ECB, Christine Lagarde. Also that of those in the antipodes of their economic thinking, who already see in this distribution of growth an incentive to it. “Raising wages is not only a social protection measure, as indicated by the Bank of Spain, but it lies in the firm conviction of economic efficiency”, defended the second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, after the Council of Ministers that approved the latest increase of the minimum interprofessional wage.
To stop the rise in inequality
“In recent years we have seen how inequalities have widened, but this has not improved the economy. It has been an extraction of income, from the workers to the company,” says Todolí. His thesis fits, in this sense, with the recent publication of the French economist Thomas Piketty. According to it, 10% of the population in Spain owns 57% of all the wealth, while the 50% with the lowest income only owns 7% of the wealth. the resources that during the last 30 years, except for specific deviations during financial bankruptcies and crises, have remained practically unchanged.
“There is a very clear ‘trade off’ between economic growth and social rights. In Spain, for example, we have a turnover problem that is detrimental to the economy, since the temporary worker it consumes less, which is bad for the domestic economy, and it is less productive. We need interventionism from the State to grow and guarantee that we grow in a fair way, “he adds.