A Contest of Ideas: Capital, Politics, and Labor by Nelson Lichtenstein

By Nelson Lichtenstein

For greater than thirty years Nelson Lichtenstein has deployed his scholarship--on exertions, politics, and social thought--to chart the heritage and customers of a innovative the United States. A Contest of Ideas collects and updates lots of Lichtenstein's such a lot provocative and arguable essays and reviews.

These incisive writings hyperlink the destiny of the exertions circulation to the differences within the form of global capitalism, to the increase of the civil rights circulation, and to the activists and intellectuals who've performed such vital roles. Tracing vast styles of political proposal, Lichtenstein bargains vital views at the courting of work and the country, the tensions that usually exist among a tradition of rights and the assumption of unity, and the increase of conservatism in politics, legislation, and highbrow lifestyles.

The quantity closes with pics of 5 activist intellectuals whose paintings has been important to the conflicts that interact the exertions stream, public coverage, and political tradition.

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By the onset of postwar reconversion, WLB wage policy was explicitly egalitarian. “It is not desirable to increase hourly earnings in each industry in accordance with the rise of productivity in that industry,” declared a July 1945 memorandum. ”15 The capacity of the state to reshape labor relations at the point of production has also been the subject of much debate and reevaluation. Labor’s War at Home reflected the perspective of those union militants and dissidents who in the 1960s and 1970s saw the codification of routine industrial relations as a disaster for democracy and militancy inside the factory, mine, and mill.

14 Thus black wages rose twice as fast as white, and weekly earnings in cotton textiles and in retail trade increased about 50 percent faster than in high-wage industries like steel and auto. By the onset of postwar reconversion, WLB wage policy was explicitly egalitarian. “It is not desirable to increase hourly earnings in each industry in accordance with the rise of productivity in that industry,” declared a July 1945 memorandum. ”15 The capacity of the state to reshape labor relations at the point of production has also been the subject of much debate and reevaluation.

Why did company executives see union contracts, seniority systems, and grievance procedures as such a threat to their managerial prerogatives, to the flexibility of their enterprise, to their “right to manage”? And this managerial antiunionism has been even more the case in the years since 1980, when one has had to search far and wide for any pocket of militant shop floor unionism. What seems so clear now, in an era of union defeat and retreat, is that almost any system of “industrial jurisprudence,” which was the phrase used by labor economist Sumner Slichter at the time, or “workplace contractualism,” a term later coined by historian David Brody, represents a terrain of struggle that is advantageous to most workers in most places.

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