Comment 70085

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 27, 2011 at 11:39:28 in reply to Comment 70081

These lifestyles were indeed brought about by labour unrest, both at home and abroad. Here, the burgeoning labour movement was making large gains, and abroad "socialism" was beginning to take hold of entire countries. By the 1950s it became obvious that a lot of concessions weren't only necessary for the system's survival, but also incredibly useful. Not only did it drive consumerist production, but it presented a powerful piece of cold war propaganda. By institutionalizing it, though, they also neutered it. The transformation of the labour movement that happened at this time was a huge part of this. Unions were granted recognition and the right to collect dues in exchange for centralizing control over locals in a way that could prevent the kind of wildcat strikes which had been so common and effective before (with the folks Kiely mentions).

Sadly, as Ryan describes, this set of benefits has been waning for decades. Wages for most of the population peaked in real terms during the 1970s, and since then we've witnessed an incredible growth in wealth and productivity, but none of it has "trickled down".

On the bright side, the IWW is on it's way back.

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