Billy Bragg, "There Is Power In A Union"

>> Sunday, September 18, 2011

Went out for an excellent dinner last night with the Significant Other and her parents, then back to their place for dessert and an excellent conversation. One of the conversational turns involved jobs and the economy and so forth and left me in a Billy Bragg mood, really.

Let's stipulate that the unions have been compromised and corrupted to a large degree. Fine. But I don't have a better idea for making sure large employers don't screw their workers than allowing labor to organize. Unless you want the government to do it through increased employment regulation, which strikes me as inefficient even if government was willing to go about it in a more-than-ineffectual way; that is, there's certainly a role for government in monitoring things like workplace safety--areas in which civil or criminal litigation is a necessary check and deterrent, in my view--but who is in a better position to know what working hours are appropriate on a factory floor or what pension plans employees deserve than the employees themselves?

The S.O. and I are getting ready to have brunch with some of my family members and I doubt I'll be around here much today to engage in very much discussion 'round here (y'all are welcome, and indeed, please share your thoughts if you have any). We're out the door in a few minutes and I don't have much time to put too many more thoughts together and taptaptap them down on the netbook's keyboard. But I'm frustrated because the more I think about think about things, the more I feel like we're witnessing early stages of a systematic failure of the United States; restoring the unions to a proper role as a fifth estate in our society would be part of a solution, but I fear only alongside of a massive restructuring of our culture and economy that involves hiked taxes, price increases, openly socialistic provision of utilities, changes in the goals of education and how it's provided, import tariffs, changes in immigration policy, and this is just off the top of my head and much of it just won't happen in my lifetime if it could ever happen at all; which is a problem, because the way things are now, the center simply cannot hold and the whole thing is going to continue to derail. It really does seem dire to me.


Phiala Monday, September 19, 2011 at 9:35:00 AM EDT  

...the more I feel like we're witnessing early stages of a systematic failure of the United States...

I've been trying not to think about that too hard, because it scares me. It's, oh, reassuring is the wrong word, but it's reassuring-but-terrifying to see someone smarter than I am saying the same thing.

Some days it's enough to make me want to join the three-years-of-canned-food-guns-under-the-bed survivalist crowd. (The guns, for the record, are not under the bed.) That's because I can't see anything I can usefully contribute on the national/regional/state scale, but only on the personal level.

Other days I look seriously at bailing. I have a useful skillset, and could fairly easily move to my choice of countries.

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