Sunday, January 4, 2015

What Helps The American Worker The Most?

A lot of things help. A good union helps, in a particular craft or trade, or in an entire industry. A political climate favorable to fair negotiations between workers and their employers; it doesn't happen automatically... it must be aggressively pursued, in part through politics, whatever you may think of politics. And... this doesn't get mentioned nearly often enough: workers in an industry (or workers in a broad category of industries) need a good think tank analyzing every aspect of that industry with an eye toward improving the workers' status in the industry or category.

Who was that hirsute man?
I was introduced to EPI, the Economic Policy Institute, many years ago through the blogging of labor economist Max Sawicky. Then he vanished (not really) into some sort of employment which required him to abandon his blog MaxSpeak, dedicated to the substance of EPI, for... something else; I'm not quite sure what. In any case, as of last June, MaxSpeak reappeared, with Max as feisty and intolerant of (yet full of) bullshit as ever, exploring the relationship (effective or otherwise!) of EPI and current politics. Meanwhile, EPI itself never let up in its effort to analyze (using real facts; what a concept) and expose the good, the bad and, uh, whatever else it came across, usually from the perspective of labor, where "labor" was working people, joined and organized or otherwise. Here is EPI's own summary of its recent accomplishments... no mean list, IMHO.

American labor has suffered from a large dose of St. Ronald Reagan, who was as ready as any other "conservative" to manufacture whatever "facts" were required to espouse whatever position he and other self-proclaimed conservatives had already decided to promulgate, mostly to the detriment of working folk. For workers, having an analytical association of economists not wholly owned by The Powers That Be proved utterly essential to survival among the lies served up to the public by people for whom "Keynes" rhymes with "pains" and not much else. Today there are several such think tanks; EPI is one of the oldest and is an aggressive survivor. If you're not familiar with them, Mother Google is your friend leading you to some initial points. Go. Explore. Dig through the accretions of piles of bullshit; find out what's really going on. Maybe it isn't all hopeless after all!


  1. what helps the most? money!

    that said, yes, epi is a terrific resource, and since I think you may have been the one to turn me on to max speak, then you probably get the credit for turning me on to epi too. thanks! (and I didn't know that max speak was back either, so thanks for that too!)

    also, happy blogiversary!

    hipparchia, anonymously
    (because I'm too lazy to make a new identity and I'm boycotting google as much as possible)

  2. Hi hipparchia anonymously! Great to see you on the threads! Yes, Max is one of the most entertaining economists out there, and EPI is a good source for the material we need when Uncle Popoff starts popping off at a family holiday gathering.

    As for the blogiversary, every year I swear I'll quit, and every year I don't... thanks for the good wishes.

  3. " every year I swear I'll quit, and every year I don't... "

    and every year I breathe a sigh of relief that you're still dactyling! thank you!

    !also, thank you for the anonymous option)




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