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Wed Mar 16, 2016, 02:09 PM

Krugman:if globalization makes an effective union movement impossible thatís a big problem. Does it? [View all]

This is mainly a data note to myself. But with trade becoming an issue in the election, I thought it might be useful to take on one myth: the supposedly necessary relationship between globalization and the decline of organized labor.

You hear this myth from both sides of the political spectrum ó from conservatives asserting that unions became unsustainable in the modern economy, and from protectionists on the left arguing that free-trade agreements killed labor.

Background: I am very much in the camp that considers organized labor an essential force for equality, both because it gets higher wages for ordinary workers and because itís a political counterweight to the power of organized money. So if globalization makes an effective union movement impossible, thatís a big problem.

But thereís evidence close at hand that the link is far from proven. More on this when I get around to a longer piece.


It will more interesting to read the future 'longer piece' on this but his preliminary expression of doubt about the link between the two seems consistent with the strength of unions in countries that are more 'globalized' than the US - like Germany, Canada and Sweden - and the weakness of unions in the few countries that are less 'globalized' than the US.

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