onsdag 2 februari 2011

Facken och andra countervailing forces

"I have a piece in the next issue of the magazine about the long-term disaffection of the liberal cause from organized labor, something that I've come to believe is the single biggest policy disaster of the American left over the past 40 years. Unfortunately, the piece makes clear why I don't write more about this: I don't know what to do about it. In fact, I'd say it's clear that organized labor long ago passed the point of no return, and there's really no feasible hope of returning it to a state of even moderate influence over American economic life. Practically speaking, then, the question is: what sort of ground-level, working class organization can take its place as an effective countervailing power against the economic interests of corporations and the rich — which, today, reign virtually unchallenged? But I don't know that either. Any ideas?"
Kevin Drum, "Liberals and Labor", 16 januari

"It's not clear what type of institution can work at an international level to restore the bargaining power workers have lost with the decline in unions, but it is clear that something like this is needed."
Mark Thoma, "State of the Union", 11 januari

"The hostility to labor is most obvious in the attacks on public-sector workers as what Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota’s former governor, calls “exploiters”—cosseted, overpaid bureaucrats whose gold-plated pension and health plans are busting state budgets. But there’s also been a backlash against labor generally. In 2009, for the first time ever, support for unions in the Gallup poll dipped below fifty per cent. A 2010 Pew Research poll offered even worse numbers, with just forty-one per cent of respondents saying they had a favorable view of unions, the lowest level of support in the history of that poll.

In part, this is a simple function of the weak economy. The statistician Nate Silver has found a historical correlation between the unemployment rate and the popularity of unions. Furthermore, an analysis of polling data by David Madland and Karla Walter, of the Center for American Progress, shows that, when times are bad, the approval ratings of government, business, and labor tend to drop in sync; voters, it seems, blame all powerful institutions equally. And although organized labor is much less powerful than it once was, voters don’t seem to see it that way: more than sixty per cent of respondents in the 2010 Pew poll said that unions had too much power."
James Sturowiecki, "State of the Unions", The New Yorker 17 januari

Ezra Klein, "Do We Still Need Unions? Yes", Newsweek 27 februari
Will Wilkinson, "Counterwailing what? After unions", Economist-bloggen Democracy in America, 28 februari
Matthew Yglesias, "Unions, Norms, and Inequality", 28 februari
Mark Thoma, "How Unions' Trickle Down Effect Faded Away", Fiscal Times 1 mars

Uppdatering 10 april 2012
Ryan Avent spekulerar utifrån Daron Acemoglu och James Robinsons nya bok Why Nations Fail i huruvida vissa "extraktiva" institutioner, såsom fackföreningar, kan vara bra ändå, eftersom de utgör en motvikt till andra extraktiva institutioner.
Ryan Avent, "Offsetting exploiters", Free Exchange 28 mars 2012

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