And now add an uncertain future of a major war in Europe.
In the past, as is well known, investors and companies took advantage to expand into global markets from liberalized finance and low corporate taxes. Even before COVID-19, this caricature of fractured labor markets was wrong. Today, as the economy emerges from the pandemic, the reversal of "capital" over labor will come sooner than you think. It will be a Capital versus Labour confrontation.
Public perception of how easy it is to find a job has now recovered to levels that took almost a decade to reach after the global financial crisis. And even in Europe, suffering a fourth wave of infections, and outright war, the labor market is outperforming forecasts as economies adapt to virus containment measures. As the labor market recovers, two profound changes are unfolding: in politics and technology. Let's start with the policy environment, which is becoming more worker-friendly than it has been for decades. The first sign of change was the increase in the minimum wage during the previous economic cycle. Average wages have increased by more than a quarter in the OECD, a population-weighted club of mostly wealthy countries. A sign of great social transformation.
The second major change in the labor market is technological. In the pandemic, prophets doubled down on predictions of long-term labor market woes. The future of work has changed for the better this year because it has become more digitized. Remote working is easing the stranglehold of expensive housing in prosperous cities. Homeworking workers report higher levels of happiness and productivity.
And it is here to stay in a world undergoing enormous change. That is why it is necessary to promote happiness in organizations by fostering a culture of sharing and corporate unity.
Productivity can also be unshackled by widening access to opportunities. Governments have a responsibility to ensure meritocratic access to education and sufficient opportunities for digital retraining. In the future, they will tear down these barriers to entry, such as unnecessary professional licensing rules: a new, more digital, and cross-border business model is on the way. This will be the future. As will gender parity. In the year 2021, in New York State, women's wages exceeded men's, proving that in the Big Apple, income balance is a reality and an example for the world.
A new wave is forming towards a more social and integrated economy. Technology and blockchain will have to be put to good use, as they can positively play a decisive role in the future of humanity.