06 August 2011

Why Unions Are Good For You, Even If You Won't Admit It

In Mother Jones you can find this nice summary of a recent academic paper demonstrating the relationship between the decline in unions and the rise in political-economic inequality in the United States. Two points stand out. First, oligarchy doesn't just happen, it is created. And the attack on unions - both politically and economically - has been a concerted one. Second, the research punctures the ideological belief among many workers that they deserve what they earn and get paid on the basis of merit and hard work. (As though the inverse relation between numbers on worker productivity and inequality of income and wealth in the U.S. over the past four decades didn't put that illusion to rest.) Non-union workers benefit from the proximity of unions too - even if they are indifferent or even hostile toward collective representation.

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