Friends, good morning.
Our fifth class begins our focus on power — and on the relative weakness of workers and the relative power of big corporations. Just double-click below, and you’re in the class.
Background: It’s one of the oldest struggles inside the American economy and within capitalism worldwide: between labor and capital. And it has a direct effect on inequality.
The way we’ll approach it today is by looking at two sides of the same coin: antitrust laws designed to contain the market power of corporations, and labor laws designed to allow workers to organize.
Both sets of laws have been changed over the last 40 years — giving corporations greater market power, and dramatically reducing the power of organized labor. We’ll examine why these changes have occurred.
Questions: What happened to antitrust in the United States over the last 50 years? What happened to labor unions? Why are antitrust (anti-monopoly) laws stronger in Europe than they are in the United States? Why is a higher percent of the European (and Canadian) workforces unionized than in the United States? What’s the relationship between degrees of monopolization, levels of unionization, and inequality, and why?
Looking for another session? Click the link for:
Readings for you —
On organized labor:
Louis Uchitelle, “How the Loss of Union Power Has Hurt American Manufacturing,” The New York Times, April 20, 2018
Steven Greenhouse, “How Walmart Persuades Its Workers Not to Organize,” The Atlantic, June 8, 2015
David Madland, “Wage Boards for American Workers,” Center for American Progress, April 9, 2018
John Cassidy, “The Biden Antitrust Revolution,” The New Yorker, July 12, 2021
Kate Bahn, “McDonalds, monopsony, and the need for joint employer standards,” Washington Center for Equitable Growth, April 5, 2018
Peter Thiel, “Competition is for Losers,” The Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2014
David Dayen, “Special Investigation: The Dirty Secret Behind Warren Buffett’s Billions,” The Nation, February 15, 2018
Dipayan Ghosh, “Don’t Break Up Facebook — Treat It Like a Utility,” Harvard Business Review, May 30, 2019
P.S. Apologies for the technical error today as the video link was not included in our original email.
CNN is providing Donald Trump an exclusive, prime-time platform in his campaign for president.
OPEN LETTER TO CNN,
I am writing to express my utter disgust and disappointment with your coverage of a former president who attempted to orchestrate a violent insurrection against the United States because he did not win a second term. It is beyond comprehension that you would give any airtime or column inches to someone who has shown such blatant disregard for democracy and the rule of law.
Donald Trump has repeatedly lied to the American people, incited violence, and attempted to undermine the very foundations of our democracy. He has shown himself to be a danger to our country and a threat to our national security. And yet, you continue to give him a platform to spew his hateful rhetoric and dangerous lies.
What message does this send to the rest of the world? That we condone and even celebrate those who seek to overthrow our government and destroy our democracy? That we are willing to overlook the most egregious violations of our laws and values in the name of ratings and clicks?
I implore you to reconsider your coverage of this individual and to take a stand for what is right and just. The media has a responsibility to inform and educate the public, not to provide a platform for those who seek to tear down our institutions and sow division and hatred.
In conclusion, I urge you to do better. The future of our democracy depends on it.
(PASS IT ON) Comments@cnn.com
In their messaging going into the 2024 elections, Democrats should establish that votes for our party provide the only means of ending the disproportionate influence of corporations and billionaires on policy, budget, and oversight.
This nightmare of impending oligarchy will only end when Democrats are in full control of the White House and Congress. Only then can there be campaign finance and lobbying reforms, as well as legislation and oversight muscle to pull back power from corporations.