[p2p-research] Post-Depression first: Americans get more money from government than they give back | csmonitor.com

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 25 17:01:12 CET 2009

your last paragraph is a good analysis Paul, indeed U.S. unions (but not
only them, though it is less grave in Europe), have become corporatist
entities, only dealign with their 'own' workers, and so inevitably,
competing with each other and losing sight of any larger whole

On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 10:44 PM, Paul D. Fernhout <
pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:

> Michel Bauwens wrote:
>> I must say I strongly disagree about the blaming of the unions ...
>> the unions were defending not just their reasonable incomes (how can a
>> wage
>> be greedy combined with the neoliberal fleecing by the top 1%), but the
>> availability of public services,
>> on the other side the tax revolt fueled by the reagan right made it
>> impossible to level realistic taxes required for such public services ...
>> interesting stat that recently came out is that if the labor-capital
>> distribution had remained the same as before the reagan era, the minimum
>> wage would be at $40 !!!
> Yes, that is a big part of things. The increase in industrial productivity
> in the USA over the last three decades has not gone to the workers. Neither
> has much of it gone to public infrastructure or more free time (like in
> Europe).
> this gives you an indication of the scale of the looting that took place
>> ...
>> blaming the victims, the workers and their unions, for this, I find that
>> quite perverse,
>> (this is of course not to say that corporatist unions, looking only for
>> their own, cannot be agents of unhealthy conservatism, but in the larger
>> scheme of things, this is not a key cause, but rather, it would have been
>> much worse without their defense of public services)
> What became clear to me in a previous discussion on this list with you and
> the differing histories of the welfare states in the USA (distress based)
> vs. Europe (a right of citizenship), is that unions often create "private
> welfare states" that last as long as the corporation they are embedded in
> lasts (the US big three car companies are the best example). Unions missed
> their chance decades ago to continue to push for essentially a public
> welfare state for all in the USA, and now unions have been picked off
> member-by-member and union-by-union as companies downsize or collapse or
> sell off divisions. And, without a level playing field, like social benefits
> for all, companies with unions have faced a competitive disadvantage
> sometimes (not always, since sometimes people who are treated better produce
> more). Because the state and the school system have grown, those specific
> unions have become more dominant, reflecting that part of Andrew's point.
> But those unions have not been calling for broad changes in society, just
> the continuation of their private welfare states (so, they strike about
> their own pay, not in "sympathy" with pay for everyone, like, as you
> mention, as US$40 minimum wage, or I'd say, a basic income like Social
> Security and Medicaid for all regardless of age). What would happen if, say,
> the US teacher's unions and unions for US state workers said they would go
> on strike unless everyone in the USA got a basic income and single-payer
> health care, like members of those unions essentially already have
> privately? So, unions may still have some power, but maybe only if they use
> it to help others outside the unions. A related item going into more detail:
> "Can unions and strikes still make a difference?"
> http://www.beyondajoblessrecovery.org/2009/11/16/can-unions-and-strikes-still-make-a-difference/
> --Paul Fernhout
> http://www.pdfernhout.net/
> http://www.beyondajoblessrecovery.org/
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