This is a personal blog and I talk about/repost whatever I find interesting, diverting, or beautiful. Topics include but aren't limited to: politics, feminism, race/ethnicity, social/economic justice, art, history, literature, cute animals, pop culture, other nonsense. I credit/link back to sources whenever possible. More about this blog
I don’t know how much of the devaluation of labor either technology or monopoly explains, in part because there has been so little discussion of what’s going on. I think it’s fair to say that the shift of income from labor to capital has not yet made it into our national discourse. Yet that shift is happening — and it has major implications. For example, there is a big, lavishly financed push to reduce corporate tax rates; is this really what we want to be doing at a time when profits are surging at workers’ expense? Or what about the push to reduce or eliminate inheritance taxes; if we’re moving back to a world in which financial capital, not skill or education, determines income, do we really want to make it even easier to inherit wealth? As I said, this is a discussion that has barely begun — but it’s time to get started, before the robots and the robber barons turn our society into something unrecognizable.
There is an argument sometimes made by union activists that unions should run persuasion campaigns to collect dues because the workers are more invested and supportive of an energized organization than when dues are passively/invisibly collected on a union’s behalf. There is some evidence that this is true. For example, the most powerful local union in the country, Culinary 226 in Las Vegas—a political powerhouse that ensures middle-class wages and benefits for hotel housekeepers—operates in a right-to-work state and gets close to 100% dues compliance. Thus the Culinary local has the classic “free rider” problem—but the union solves the problem itself thru its intense advocacy. However, the very invisibility and ease of collecting union dues in the non-right-to-work states has paradoxically made unions more dependent on these “automatic” functions than ever. In short, most local unions today are logistically and, often, intellectually, atrophied. They lack the esprit, borne of success and militancy, of Culinary 226. Unfortunately, on balance, and in most situations, unions need automatic dues collection just to function at a reasonably high level. The medicine may make them weaker, but to take them off it immediately could be fatal.
The so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws — they don’t have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.
For many men it is unthinkable that women could possess a technical competence equal to their own. Women would have to be paragons of competence to be accepted by male colleagues (Cockburn, 1985, 188)
Finn, Geraldine. Voices of Women, Voices of Feminism: Limited Edition. Fernwood Publishing; Halifax. 1993. (pg. 113)
Relevant: a recent study that found women face persistent gender bias in the sciences:
Science professors at American universities widely regard female undergraduates as less competent than male students with the same accomplishments and skills, a new study by researchers at Yale concluded.
I’d wager that you’d find similar results if you conducted the same experiment in other fields.
People are much less likely to be convicted of murdering a prostitute than of any other murder. The conviction rate of 75% for murder drops to 26% when it comes to killings of women in prostitution.
I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.