Open thread March 18, 2014 Dan Crawford | March 18, 2014 11:20 am Tags: open thre Comments (3) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
MY NOTE TO CAROLA BINDER — ON HER SITE:
(Re: Who will Save Us from Inequality? – Carola Binder
There is only one mechanically plausible way to rebalance the US labor market (and, because it means massive re-unionization, also reform the US political forum): a post-WWII, industrialist invented (that’s right; not Marxist) setup called centralized bargaining — legally mandated.
Under centralized bargaining (A.K.A., sector wide labor agreements) all employees working at similar occupations (e.g., retail clerk) in the same geographic locale (where applicable — airlines would presumably take in the whole country) negotiate one common contract with all employers.
Wal-Mart recently closed 88 big-boxes in Germany where it could not undercut based on lower pay and benefits.
Where to start: supermarket and airline employees would kill for centralized bargaining. A few years ago Northwest Airlines squeezed a billion dollars of givebacks out of flight crews — to be followed a year later by a billion dollars of bonuses for 1,000 executives.
Where it stops: not with you — your are a female human. You are able to judge the saleability of a new direction strictly on merits of argument — and not be totally mesmerized by the big world outside that always looks too big, much too big, to seriously change. You are an individual gatherer, instinctively.
Human males — with their (our) pack hunter outlook — always and immediately check with the world outside and almost always assume nothing can be done (maybe this is so only if we have no immediate personal stake — which academics don’t have in reforming the labor market). Have see this issue after issue over and over for decades.
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Realistic way out: just guessing: the $15 an hour minimum wage is sweeping the west coast — and I am spamming the inarguable basics to every journalist and legislature whose address I can track down …
… spammed 14,000 of simpler arguments about same all over country last year (took three months) so when it comes their way they will at least have the basics.
I figure that when the $15 minimum wage comes in to everybody’s benefit in the west, it shouldn’t take long to go in the east — meantime it will be time to start pushing centralized bargaining — once the possiblity of real change reaches into the male pea brain (midbrain, limbic system).
I reading Piketty’s magnum opus — when I am finished (month or two) I will be ready to do a real zinger on the labor market overall.
Different versions of centralized bargaining can be found in continental Europe, French Canada, Argentina, Indonesia.
Final thoughts (one example) on the human male problem:
Show a human female that a $15 minimum wage will only raise overall prices 3.5% ($560 billion added to $16 trillion) and common sense takes care of the rest. Males need one more number (before they no longer obsess on the big pack outside): that the 45% of the workforce getting a raise wont be laid off — wont be told: “we don’t need your output anymore” — over a small price increase.
A quote from a US President (I will identify at the end)
“Many of our rich men have not been content with equal protection and equal benefits, but have besought us to make them richer by act of Congress. By attempting gratify their desires we have in the results of our legislation arrayed section against section, interest against interest, and man against man, in a fearful commotion” It is interesting how these words still hold true today although they come from the veto message Andrew Jackson gave when he vetoed the recharter of the second bank of the US.
The more history I read it appears the battle between Hamilton and Jefferson/Madison over economics has never been resolved and continues today. Allbeit that the sides have switched over time, today the Republicans seem to take the policies of Jefferson/Madison, and the Democrats the policies of Hamilton. (60 years ago it was the reverse) , and the republican party is the successor in many respects to the Federalist party of Hamilton thru the Whigs. The Democratic party traces its heritage to Jefferson. So it is an interesting issue to contemplate what lead to the switch in basic position. (Reading The Founders and Finance by Thomas Mccraw, Jefferson sounds a lot like the tea party in that debt is always bad and must be paid off)
Denis Drew: AGREED, good idea, & good luck!.