One of the core lessons that I try to get across in my introductory Comparative Economic Systems classes is that economic systems are complex. Reality is much more complex than either simple theory or ideology. Countries simply cannot be easily categorized with simple labels such as capitalist, socialist, or communist. Those labels usually obscure more … Continue reading Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory – A Lesson in Comparative Economic Systems
Menzie Chinn reports more dispatches from Wisconsin, this time on recent Congressional testimony by Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker. It's clear the union-busting efforting in Wisconsin is NOT about the state budget or saving money. It's ideological. It's opposition to unions period. The budget is and was irrelevant. It was pure propaganda by Walker and the Wisconsin … Continue reading Finally Clarity on Wisconsin’s Real Objective: Bust Unions
Michael Perelman writes an excellent post on the roots of the current conservative efforts to roll-back collective bargaining rights for public workers. (See the Michael's full post after the 'more" button). Namely, the target right now is public sector workers but the effort is the same effort that traces back to the 1960's as concerted … Continue reading How Come Conservatives Only Hate Some “Unions”?
Since unions and collective bargaining rights are in the news lately, here's an event of interest for students of economic history. Ninety-seven years ago, union-busting meant murdering. Twenty-five people were shot and killed in Colorado on orders of the Governor of Colorado and John D. Rockefeller. The Ludlow (Colorado) coal strike massacre (from About.com): In … Continue reading Union-busting In The Past
Rick Snyder, Michigan governor, claims "Michigan is not Wisconsin". People take this to mean Snyder doesn't want to bust unions. That's wrong. What Snyder means is he's going to use a different strategy than Walker in Wisconsin. Walker is a bare-knuckle street fighter. Snyder hires a hit-man. Snyder smiles, tells you what you want to … Continue reading Michigan IS Wisconsin – Just Different Tactics
In the dead of the night Republicans in Wisconsin vote to end collective bargaining rights of unions who were not supportive of Governor Walker's election. The state assembly (the lower house of the legislature) has acted while the Senate is adjourned. The Senate has been unable to convene for lack of a quorum. However, this … Continue reading Wisconsin Rolls On (Over Workers)
The President is missing. Could we get the candidate back? The concerted effort to eliminate collective bargaining rights has spread well beyond Wisconsin. So have the protests. Reports have protests in 38 state capitols this week, including even Montana. Heck, even the protesters in Cairo are expressing support and solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin. … Continue reading Where’s Obama?
Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin gets totally pranked and reveals a lot. No, it's not about the money. It's about busting the unions and he'll lie if he has to. From Yves Smith, the author of Econned and a blogger extrordinaire at naked capitalism : The Beast’s “David Koch” Speaks to Wisconsin Governor Walker I … Continue reading Prank Phone Call Reveals the Real Wisconsin Governor
From Stephen Williamson (emphasis mine): One simple way to look at unions comes from Econ 101, where we just apply standard monopoly power arguments. Labor law gives workers the right to effectively act as a monopoly seller of labor. Result? The union drives up wages and extracts rent from the firm. But that argument goes … Continue reading Public Sector Unions: U.S, Canada Compared
I'm noticing that the media is being somewhat slow to pickup on the real story happening in Wisconsin and not spreading to Indiana and Ohio. It's not about fixing state deficits or finances. It's about busting unions, pure and simple. As such, it's part of an long-term effort that the right wing of American politics … Continue reading Observations on Wisconsin