Economic Update: How People Change Economies

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This week’s Economic Update features updates on Maine’s progressive economic changes, the documentation by the U.S. Senate on how the wealthiest abuse the estate tax, how Nestle is profiting from water nearby Flint’s crippling water crisis, the effects of poverty and social exclusion in Greece and Europe, the Trump/GOP cuts to health programs and the rise of profits in the U.S. as wage share continues to fall. 

SPECIAL TOPIC: the second half of this week’s episode focuses on a major discussion of the economics of migration and the economics of coalitions between labor and unions and worker co-ops.

Showing 5 comments

  • Sionna Breasal
    commented 2017-11-22 12:18:57 -0500
    I have to agree that in my area, there are heavy duty union interests involved in keeping workers ‘in their place’, where union leaders are nothing more than another layer of management, looking out completely for themselves. I did try to fight this in my workplace, and the result is that I am not working there any longer, and off on disability insurance for a year, and then struggling to figure out how to survive with two kids. I can’t hire a lawyer to help me address what was going on because they say I have union protection, and the union local president isn’t interesting doing anything on my behalf, even though the situation is serious. I contacted union officials all the way up to Vice presidents and the president, and was ignored completely or dismissed. I am a single mom in a union that serves pulp and paper workers, most of whom are not women. I can’t fight all of that. I think union corruption should be addressed. Maybe in some places it is complacency, but they are definitely complicit in ignoring members like me with serious problems.
  • Michaelangelo Dippolito
    commented 2017-11-20 12:06:46 -0500
    I like the self-governing part of worker-owned cooperatives. However, there’s a problem. If it’s a production for exchange organization rather than a production for use organization implicit in it is the unlimited growth in a world of finite resources. If you sold eight last year you would like to sell nine this year and 10 the next. Where does that end. Moreover, if you’re competing against other worker-owned cooperatives, the same incentives are there to compete against one another to reduce cost like capitalist organization. The organizations that have favorable terms with people that control currency will be beat the other ones.
  • evelyn guerrero
    commented 2017-11-20 07:28:19 -0500
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  • Will Cooper
    commented 2017-11-20 03:53:46 -0500
    Dr. Wolff: With all due respect—and I mean that—I must disagree with your suggestion that the leadership of the major U.S. labor unions would go to bat for worker co-operatives. The unions today guard the interests of capitalists more than they do those of their rank and file members.

    Union officials make large salaries relative to those earned by workers. They’re cosseted by the bosses, wined and dined, taken on luxury vacations, and who knows what goes on underneath the bargaining table? What would be their incentive to seek to promote co-operatives that, if successful, would likely undermine their power and take away their privileges?

    The evidence for this kind of corruption is plentiful. The UAW recent contract negotiations make a case in point. The leadership out-maneuvered the widespread opposition expressed by the rank and file by using dirty tricks to guarantee that the contract desired by the employers got voted passed.

    Perhaps you have more information on this topic that gives you reason to believe that unions would champion co-ops. If so, I hope you will comment on it.
  • Will Cooper
    followed this page 2017-11-20 03:50:18 -0500

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