Monopoly, Organized Labor, and Antitrust - Wealth & Poverty Class 5
The ongoing struggle between labor and capital
Friends, good morning.
Our fifth class begins our focus on power — and on the relative power of workers and the corporations that hire or contract with them. 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 is by looking at two sides of the same legal coin: antitrust laws designed to contain the market power of corporations, and labor laws designed to allow workers to organize. What we’ll see is that both sets of laws have been changed over the last forty 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 fifty 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?
Readings for you —
On organized labor: