Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bringing Wal-Mart Jobs to Michigan

12/12/2012—Lost in the argument about the new right-to-work legislation in Michigan is the overall question of income misdistribution. One of the reasons that income is maldistributed is that unions are not there in most private industry to fight for higher wages. Instead, larger percentages of earnings go to management and shareholders. Conservatives like to say that this is all just a response to market forces. But experience suggests that at the margins, the exact distribution of returns from business activity is not fixed, but is subject to power relations. In countries that have strong union movements, such as Germany, those unions ensure that a larger portion of the economic pie goes to workers than in the US. This is not only good for workers, but, since workers buy products, it is good for the economy as a whole. Right to work is bad for everyone in the long run.

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