Belgian Labour

Leuven Travel Blog

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Leuven train station
The cost of labour in Belgium is quite high. Taxes are the highest in Europe, at 55.4% (as an aside, while the taxes are used in a progressive manner, on health care, public transport and education for all, they are raised in a regressive manner, as there are no capital gains or wealth taxes to bother those born rich and the maximum income tax bracket kicks in at only €32,270, almost making it the wet-dream of the extreme right - a flat tax). Wages are also very high compared to the cost of living, even after tax, especially for low income jobs. In the academic world, a PhD student or post-doc in Belgium makes far more than they would in America, although at the upper end of the income scale the Professor makes several times less than their counterpart across the pond.
Justo Lipsio
The Right tell us constantly that we need to drive wages down, as the high cost of wages drives up the price of goods (with the implication that consuming is of greater importance than earning a living) and wages that are too high will drive down the demand for labour (of course, it goes without saying that the Right are concerned only that the cost of blue collar wages are too high - for the elite of course high wages are perfectly acceptable). You would expect, therefore, that the Belgium economy would be orientated away from labour use.

Not so, we have noticed. In fact, labour use seems conspicuously higher. A new credit card is not sent to our mail box, instead it involved an hour-long visit with the bank manager. When we registered in our commune the administration lady pulled out a blue-print of our apartment building and confirmed which apartment was ours, so that our local policewoman (and I do mean local, our policewoman patrols just a couple of streets) knew which one to visit when she came to visit us, as they do all new residents. Our internet connection through clearwire gave only one bar and a man came straight out to play around with it, and when he found one location fixed the problems he helped rearrange the furniture - when the same happened in Seattle we rang up and were given phone directions as to the best position. The chocolatier gladly spends time helping us to decide which flavour to buy, even with other customers waiting patiently behind us. Waitors let you enjoy your table for as long as you desire, without any none-too-subtle hints to leave and maximise turn-over. In the fashionable stores lining the Bondgenoteniian (and make no mistake - they are all fashionable stores) employees outnumber customers and stare serenely out of the windows. In the most fashionable stores employees even outweigh the number of items for sale.
bernard69 says:
Belgium is a Paradise for lots of French people like students,elders,the wealthy...:)
Posted on: Feb 22, 2009
geokid says:
All news to me! Thanks for posting this blog.
Posted on: Feb 22, 2009
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Leuven train station
Leuven train station
Justo Lipsio
Justo Lipsio
Leuven
photo by: Chokk