FORUM ON LABOR IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY -JUNE 1996
Freedom from Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi
Thoughts to provoke thought
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN GUERRERO
EARNINGS INEQUALITY IN CANADA? (1)
EARNINGS INEQUALITY IN CANADA (2)
TUC-Monks warns on Euro opt-out
TUC Info - Waldegrave on Job Insecurity
Factories Scrap 5-Day Week, In Quest For Efficiency/ by PETER T. KILBORN
Largest fall in employment since end of recession
PLAN TO FIGHT CUBA LAW IN THE WORKS
NYT Web Announcement -Bosnia
Town Meetings on Technology by Richard E. Sclove
EARNINGS INEQUALITY IN CANADA? (3)
Workers and the World Economy
To: Multiple recipients of list LABOR-L <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
The following was written and delivered by Aung San Suu Kyi, winner
of the 1991 Nobel Price for Peace and the 1990 Sakharov Prize for
Freedom of Thought and an imprisoned leader of the Human Rights
Movement in Burma (Myanmar). Food for Thought!
Freedom from Fear
by Aung San Suu Kyi
It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts
those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those
who are subject to it. Most Burmese are familiar with the four
'a-gati', the four kinds of corruption. 'Chanda-gati', corruption
induced by desire, is deviation from the right path in pursuit of
bribes or for the sake of those one loves. 'Dosa-gati' is taking the
wrong path to spite those against whom one bears ill will, and 'moga-
gati' is aberration due to ignorance. But perhaps the worst of the
four is 'bhaya-gati', for not only does 'bhaya', fear, stifle and
slowly destroy all sense of right and wrong, it so often lies at the
root of the other three kinds of corruption.
Just as 'chanda-gati', when not the result of sheer avarice, can be
caused by fear of want or fear of losing the goodwill of those one
loves, so fear of being surpassed, humiliated or injured in some way
can provide the impetus for ill will. And it would be difficult to
dispel ignorance unless there is freedom to pursue the truth
unfettered by fear. With so close a relationship between fear and
corruption it is little wonder that in any society where fear is rife
corruption in all forms becomes deeply entrenched.
Public dissatisfaction with economic hardships has been seen as the
chief cause of the movement for democracy in Burma, sparked off by
the student demonstrations 1988. It is true that years of incoherent
policies, inept official measures, burgeoning inflation and falling
real income had turned the country into an economic shambles. But it
was more than the difficulties of eking out a barely acceptable
standard of living that had eroded the patience of a traditionally
good-natured, quiescent people--it was also the humiliation of a way
of life disfigured by corruption and fear. The students were
protesting not just against the death of their comrades but against
the denial of their right to life by a totalitarian regime which
deprived the present of meaningfulness and held out no hope for the
future. And because the students' protests articulated the
frustrations of the people at large, the demonstrations quickly grew
into a nationwide movement. Some of its keenist supporters were
businessmen who had developed the skills and the contacts necessary
not only to survive but to prosper within the system. But their
affluence offered them no genuine sense of security or fulfilment,
and they could not but see that if they and their fellow citizens,
regardless of economic status, were to achieve a worthwhile
existence, an accountable administration was at least a necessary if
not a sufficient condition. The people of Burma had wearied of a
precarious state of passive apprehension where they were 'as water in
the cupped hands' of the powers that be.
Emerald cool we may be
As water in cupped hands
But oh that we might be
As splinters of glass
In cupped hands
Glass splinters, the smallest with its sharp, glinting power to
defend itself against hands that try to crush, could be seen as a
vivid symbol of the spark of courage that is an essential attribute
of those who would free themselves from the grip of oppression.
Bogyoke Aung San regarded himself as a revolutionary and searched
tirelessly for answers to the problems that beset Burma during her
times of trial. He exhorted the people to develop courage: 'Don't
just depend on the courage and intrepidity of others. Each and every
one of you must make sacrifices to become a hero possessed of courage
and intrepidity. Then only shall we all be able to enjoy true
The effort necessary to remain uncorrupted in an environment where
fear is an integral part of everyday existence is not immediately
apparent to those fortunate enough to live in states governed by the
rule of law. Just laws do not merely prevent corruption by meting out
impartial punishment to offenders. They also help to create a society
in which people can fulfil the basic requirements necessary for the
preservation of human dignity without recourse to corrupt practices.
Where there are no such laws, the burden of upholding the principles
of justice and common decency falls on the ordinary people. It is the
cumulative effect on their sustained effort and steady endurance
which will change a nation where reason and conscience are warped by
fear into one where legal rules exist to promote man's desire for
harmony and justice while restraining the less desirable destructive
traits in his nature.
In an age when immense technological advances have created lethal
weapons which could be, and are, used by the powerful and the
unprincipled to domninate the weak and helpless, there is a
compelling need for a closer relationship between politics and ethics
at both the national and international levels. The Universal
DEclaration of Human Rights of the United Nations proclaims that
'every individual and every organ of society' should strive to
promote the basic rights and freedoms to which all human beings
regardless of race, nationality or religion are entitled. But as long
as there are governments whose authority is founded on coercion
rather than on the mandate of the people, and interest groups which
place short-term profits above long-term peace and prosperity,
concerted international action to protect and promote human rights
will remain at best a partially realized struggle. There will
continue to be arenas of struggle where victims of oppression have to
draw on their own inner resources to defend their inalienable rights
as members of the human family.
The quintessential revolution is that of the spirit, born of an
intellectual conviction of the need for change in those mental
attitudes and values which shape the course of a nation's
development. A revolution which aims merely at changing official
policies and institutions with a view to an improvement in material
conditions has little chance of genuine success. Without a revolution
of the spirit, the forces which produced the iniquities of the old
order would continue to be operative, posing a constant threat to the
process of reform and regeneration. It is not enough merely to call
for freedom, democracy and human rights. There has to be a united
determination to persevere in the struggle, to make sacrifices in the
name of enduring truths, to resist the corrupting influences of
desire, ill will, ignorance and fear.
Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free
men are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make
themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and to uphold the
disciplines which will maintain a free society. Among the basic
freedoms to which men aspire that their lives might be full and
uncramped, freedom from fear stands out as both a means and an end. A
people who would build a nation in which strong, democratic
institutions are firmly established as a guarantee against state-
induced power must first learn to liberate their own minds from
apathy and fear.
Always one to practise what he preached, Aung San himself constantly
demonstrated courage--not just the physical sort but the kind that
enabled him to speak the truth, to stand by his word, to accept
criticism, to admit his faults, to correct his mistakes, to respect
the opposition, to parley with the enemy and to let the people be the
judge of his worthiness as a leader. It is for such moral courage
that he will always be loved and respected in Burma--not merely as a
warrior hero but as the inspiration and conscience of the nation. The
words used by Jawaharlal Nehru to describe Mahatma Gandhi could well
be applied to Aung San: 'The essence of his teaching was fearless and
truth, and action allied to these, always keeping the welfare of the
masses in view.'
Gandhi, that great apostle of non-violence, and Aung San, the founder
of a national army, were very different personalities, but as there
is an inevitable sameness about the challenges of authoritarian rule
anywhere at any time, so there is a similarity in the intrinsic
qualities of those who rise up to meet the challenge. Nehru, wh
considered the instillation of courage in the people of India one of
Gandhi's greatest achievements, was a political modernist, but as he
assessed the needs for a twentieth-century movement for independence,
he found himself looking back to the philosophy of ancient India:
'The greatest gift for an individual or a nation...was 'abhaya',
fearlessness, not merely bodily courage but absence of fear from the
Fearlessness may be a gift but perhaps more precious is the courage
acquired through endeavor, courage that comes from cultivating the
habit of refusing to let fear dictate one's actions, courage that
could be described as 'grace under pressure'--grace which is renewed
repeatedly in the face of harsh, unremititng pressure.
Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights,
fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of
torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or
means of livlihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of
failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as
common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckelss,
insignificant or futile the small daily acts of courage which help to
preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not
easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the
principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating
miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery
courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state
of civilised man.
The wellspring of courage and endurance in the face of unbridled
power is generally a firm belief in the sanctity of ethical
principles combined with a historical sense that despite all setbacks
the condition of man is set on an ultimate course for both spiritual
and material advancement. It is his capacity for self-improvement and
self-redemption which most distinguishes man from the mere brute. At
the root of human responsibility is the conept of perfection, the
urge to achieve it, the intelligence to find a path towards it, and
the will to follow that path if not to the end at least the distance
needed to rise above individual limitations and environmental
impediments. It is man's vision of a world fit for rational,
civilized humanity which leads him to dare and to suffer to build
societies free from want and fear. Concepts such as truth, justice
and compassion cannot be dismissed as trite when these are often the
only bulwarks which stand against ruthless power.
Thoughts to provoke thought.
(and for those keeping their little files)
* James Craven * "All things have inner meaning and *
* Dept of Economics * form and power." (Hopi) *
* Clark College * "In this world the unseen has power." *
* 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd. * (Apache) *
* Vancouver, Wa. 98663 * "Be satisfied with needs instead of *
* (360) 992-2283 * wants." (Tenton Lakota) *
* email@example.com * "The Great Spirit is always angry *
* * with men who shed innocent blood." *
* * (Iowa) *
* * "It is no longer good enough to cry *
* * peace, we must act peace, live peace, *
* * and live in peace."(Shenandoah) *
* * "A people without a history is like *
* the wind over buffalo grass."(Lakota) *
* "There are many paths to a meaningful sense of the natural world." *
* (Blackfeet); "A shady lane breeds mud." (Hopi); *
* "Strive to be a person who is never absent from an important act." *
* (Osage); "Men in search of a myth will usually find one."(Pueblo) *
* "Life is not separate from death. It only looks that way." *
* (Blackfeet); "Some are smart but they are not wise."(Shoshone); *
* "The one who tells the stories rules the world." (Hopi); *
* "Force, no matter how concealed, begets resistance." (Lakota); *
* "The only things that need the protection of men are the things of *
* men, not the things of the spirit." (Crow); "When the legends *
* die, the dreams end; there is no more greatness."( Shawnee ); *
* "I love a people who do not live for the love of money."(Dwamish) *
* "Stolen food never satisfies hunger." (Omaha); "Man's law changes *
* with his understanding of man. Only the laws of the spirit always *
* remain the same." (Crow); "It takes a whole village to raise a *
* child." (Omaha); "Everything the Power does, it does in a circle."*
* (Lakota); "Man has responsibility, not power."(Tuscarora) *
* "With all things and in all things, we are relatives." (Lakota) *
* MY EMPLOYER HAS NO ASSOCIATION WITH MY PRIVATE/PROTECTED OPINION *
June 12, 1996
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN GUERRERO
We have received two urgent actions from Amnesty International on
Mexico in the last two days.
1. PEASANTS' DEMONSTRATION ATTACKED IN GUERRERO
On May 31, 1996 scores of supporters of the March 6th Movement, a
peasant organization in the state of Guerrero, were forcibly evicted
from the municipal offices of the town of San Marcos. On June 3rd, a
number of the organization's supporters again occupied the town hall,
where they remain. Given the current tense atmosphere and reports that
several peasants were ill-treated and shot at during the eviction of
May 31st, Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of the
current protesters and fears that 10 members of the March 6th Movement,
who have had arrest warrants issued against them, may face torture if
taken into custody. The demonstration on 31 May reportedly involved up
to 800 peasants calling for a resolution to their demands for
fertilizers and other agricultural inputs. Several peasants occupied
the offices of the town hall.
Reports indicate that the demonstrators were shot at, and a number were
kicked and beaten, by members of the local police, and gunmen hired by
the local authorities. An Amnesty International delegation currently
in Mexico has been able to confirm that, as a result of the attack, the
following people sustained injuries: 14-year-old Rodolfo Suastegui
Sanchez was shot in the chest; Maria Sabino Perez has a gunshot wound
on her left forearm; Matilde Cruz Nieves, Agapita Reducindo Palma and
Maria de Jesus Molina were allegedly kicked and beaten in different
parts of their bodies. Reports indicate that at least five others were
seriously wounded during the attack and needed hospitalization.
Although seven police officers were detained following the attack, on
June 7th, a local judge overturned their arrest warrants and instead
issued warrants against the first 10 people named above, on charges of
"sedition, mutiny, conspiracy, provocation to commit a crime and
advocacy of this crime, disobedience and resistance"
2. PRD MEMBER ON DEATH LIST KILLED
There is concern for the safety of members and supporters of the
opposition , Democratic Revolution Party, (PRD) in Cuadrilla Nueva,
municipality of Cutzamala de Pinzon, Guerrero State following the May
18th killing of Jesus Nuriostegui Gaona in the latest attack against
those whose names are said to appear on a "death list". Tension in
the community has grown since the killing and there is fear that more
people named on the list, allegedly compiled by a local cacique
(political boss), may be targeted at any time. According to a
witness, Nuriostegui, a PRD member and a former municipal
representative, was shot four times by unidentified gunmen. His wife
and six children have left the community in fear for their safety.
During the last few years, the state of Guerrero has been the scene of
violent repression of peasants organizing around their demands for
improved agricultural inputs and for social justice. Hired gunmen,
acting in conjunction with local landowners and regional authorities,
have been responsible for many of the attacks, in many cases supporting
the role of the local security forces.
Celestino Hernandez Gutierrez, 45, a peasant and PRD member, was shot
dead on May 5,1995, reportedly by gunmen hired by local caciques. He
had been threatened previously. He left a widow and six children, one
of whom, Claudio Hernandez Palacios, 23, also a PRD member, survived an
attempt on his life on January 24, 1996. He was shot 10 times while in
his home in Cuadrilla Nueva in front of six other PRD members.
Eustorgio Baza Mundo, 38, a peasant and a PRD municipal representative,
was abducted and killed (shot at close range in the back of the head)
on June 27,1995 by unidentified men driving a car without licence
plates. He had been threatened before. He had a wife and three
children. Andres Rosales Aguirre, 35, former president of the local
PRD committee, was attacked in his home on March 21,1995, which left
him on crutches. He was threatened again in November, 1995 and remains
in fear for his life.
All those named above appear on the alleged death list. Active members
of grassroots organizations or political parties which challenge the
rule and dominant power structures of the Institutional Revolutionary
Party (PRI), which has governed Mexico for more than 60 years, continue
to face human rights violations. Prominent among the victims of
political repression in Mexico are the members of the PRD, a
centre-to-left political party with a large following among the poor,
including Indian peasants. The PRD claims to have documented 292
murders of party activists across the country between July 1988 and
January 1995. In most cases those responsible for the attacks,
including reportedly hired by local caciquess, acted with the
acquiescence of local authorities and have remained unpunished.
1. Please send messages to the Mexican authorities
- expressing concern at the wounding of protesters evicted from San
Marcos town hall on May 31st 1996, apparently indicating the use of
- calling for an immediate investigation into the eviction, the
findings of which should be made public;
- in view of these injuries, expressing concern for the safety of
current protesters, and calling for public instructions to be issued to
all law enforcement personnel to adhere to international human rights
standards; - noting that 10 members of the March 6th Movement have been
issued with arrest warrants, and urging that if they are taken into
custody their rights be respected at all times, including the right not
to be subjected to any form of torture or ill-treatment;
- calling for the charges and arrest warrants against them to be
withdrawn if they are being targeted solely for exercising their
rights to freedom of expression and association.
2. Please also send messages to the Mexican government, expressing
serious concern for the safety of inhabitants of Cuadrilla Nueva,
Guerrero State, particularly members of the PRD, following a series of
killings, including that of Jesus Nuriostegui Gaona on May 18th; and
- an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the killings,
and into the reported existence of a "death list", in order to bring
those responsible to justice;
- immediate steps to be taken to ensure the safety of the inhabitants
of Cuadrilla Nueva, particularly those named on the alleged list.
If you can send a FAX by late Thursday, please do so to Premier Glen
Clark, who is meeting with President Zedillo Friday. Ask that he raise
the question of human rights with President Zedillo, referring to the
attacks and killings described above in Guerrero and to the ongoing
human rights violations in Chiapas.
If you can not send a message by late Thursday, then please send
messages to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, asking that he
raise the above points with the Mexican government. Please send copies
of this message to the Foreign Affairs critics for the NDP and the
Lic. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, FAX: 011 525 271 1764
Presidente de la Republica, or 011 525 515 4783
Palacio Nacional 06067
Mexico D.F., MEXICO
Premier Glen Clark FAX: 1 604 387 0087
Hon. Lloyd Axworthy, FAX: 1 613 947 4442
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Phone: 1 613 995 0153
House of Commons,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Bob Mills, M.P. (Reform Party) FAX: 1 613 995 6831
Svend Robinson, M.P. (NDP) FAX: 1 613 992 5501
Both are at House of Commons-no postage necessary.
EARNINGS INEQUALITY IN CANADA? (1)
To: Multiple recipients of list <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Paul Johanis writes:
Earnings Inequality in Canada?", Statistics Canada, 1993). Increased
polarization of the earnings of male workers continues to be observed
even if only the earnings of full year full time workers workers are
considered, thus controlling for the increased unemployment and
involuntary part-time work associated with economic downturns.
Cyclical factors do not satisfactorily explain this observed
polarization and I do not think that Beach and Slotsve provide
convincing arguments to the contrary.
It is not clear to me that it is even desirable to look only
at the figures for the employed, or at those who are fully employed.
Most of the "new" jobs seem to be part time. Having a large share of
the population unemployed and/or under-employed surely will tend to
generate economic polarization. I suspect that this effect would be
even more pronounced in the under-thirty age group. It seems to me
that a more complete description of the data is desirable if we are
really interested in avoiding distortion, i.e. both sets of figures
(employed only and an inclusive figure) and a breakdown by age. Moreover,
we don't seem to be recovering fully from the elevated unemployment
that occurs during the downturns. This suggests that there are
chronic, structural problems with the economy. And this, of course, is
quite contrary to the message that the title of the study sends.
So there seems to be a consensus on some basic facts concerning
increased polarization of a certain type of income, for a certain part
of the population. Why this is happening is still largely inexplained.
How important it is from a policy perspective is also open to debate.
I am not sure that I agree that this phenomenon is
unexplained. We may not agree on this (I am sure that the
C.H. Howe Institute wouldn't) but I would bet that tight monetary
policies coupled with very liberal trade agreements are a pretty
good recipe for economic polarization.
EARNINGS INEQUALITY IN CANADA (2)
To: Multiple recipients of list LABOR-L <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
_The Facts Tell a Different Story: The Rhetoric of "Myth and Reality"_
By Tom Walker
June 10, 1996
As part of it's social policy challenge series, the C.D. Howe Institute
published a rebuttal to the widespread perception that Canadian society is
becoming economically polarized, Are We Becoming Two Societies: Income
Polarization and the Myth of the Declining Middle Class in Canada, by
Charles M. Beach and George A. Slotsve. (A summary of the study is online
An accompanying, friendly commentary by Chris Sarlo crows:
"Anyone who has followed the discussion of social policy issues in recent
years, especially in the popular press, will have been told repeatedly that
income disparities are growing, that the rich in Canada are getting richer
and the poor, poorer. This claim is made without a shred of supporting
evidence, yet some journalists, commentators, and even academics continue to
repeat this canard in the belief, perhaps, that it must be true since they
have heard it so often. I hope, without much optimism, that these folks will
look at the Beach and Slotsve study."
Sarlo's "Without a shred of supporting evidence," would seem a rather
reckless and sweeping dismissal of, for example, substantive Statistics
Canada analysis such as "Good Jobs, Bad Jobs and the Declining Middle:
1967-1986" by Garnett Picot, John Myles and Ted Wannell. But, just how do
Beach and Slotsve refute the "canard" of rising income disparities?With a
To read the online summary of Beach and Slotsve's analysis is to marvel at
the (choose one): 1. pristine naivety, or 2. sheer cynical chutzpah of the
C.D. Howe Institute. Beach and Slotsve deftly disprove disparity by
definition. Their prime "econometric tool" is that bluntest of all blunt
instruments "the average" or, to be more precise in this case, the median
income. Let's face it, folks, at a high enough level of aggregation we're
all equal. (And in the long run, as Keynes would add, we're all dead.)
What Beach and Slotsve discover is that the proportion of the population
hovering around the floating middle point hasn't changed drastically in
twenty years, adjusting for presumably "cyclical" changes in unemployment
(let's leave aside for now their presumptuous stance that unemployment
"doesn't count"). I am reminded of the indignant speech by a U.S. state
legislator who deplored the results of a state-wide examination of
high-school students: he was appalled that nearly half the students had
scored below the average (mean). In their study, Beach and Slotsve were
delighted to find that incomes hover around the average (median).
To Beach and Slotsve's credit, they do acknowledge -- almost as an
afterthought -- that the median income of Canadians has been declining
relative to total family income for the past 25 years or so. In other words,
the rich are getting richer, but one may comfort oneself with the knowledge
that the middle classes are still by definition in the middle.
Are Beach, Slotsve and the C.D. Howe Institute stupid? Or do they think the
rest of us are?
_The Making of a "Myth": Inside the Megaphone_
Beach and Slotsve's study is more interesting as a tactical move than as a
piece of analysis. It is instructive to note the use of the pejorative
"myth" in the study's title and to expand a bit on the procedure by which
think tanks manufacture "myths".
A myth is a story. But if the study's title merely referred to "the story of
the declining middle class" it would seem to lend credibility to the
argument about decline. Stories offer alternative versions of reality;
myths, however, are something to be debunked as "non-real". For the
myth-buster, there can be only one version of reality, one master
perspective, one unquestionable orthodoxy. Defenders of the faith -- whether
they be Inquisitors, Stalinists, or neo-liberal economists -- are
perpetually on guard to label as "myth" any glint of narrative that strays
from the orthodoxy.
In the defense of orthodoxy, good arguments are inconsequential; tactics are
key. Good arguments are disdained because they can be found on either side
in a dispute, arguments are no respecters of authority, arguments are
"inconclusive" in that they ultimately depend on one's perspective and the
perspective of one's audience. But the whole point of myth-busting is to
decisively exclude other perspectives. The tactics for doing so are
extremely crude and apparently quite successful.
There are three stages in the myth-making procedure: labeling, repetition
and amplification. Anyone can practice the first stage of myth-making. All
you have to do is find an argument you disagree with and call it a myth.
Your counter argument doesn't have to be particularly astute, just include
enough "analysis" to bore the casual onlooker and impress the already
The second stage, repetition, is more important than the first. Repeating
the myth-label is a defensive tactic. An ally, such as the Financial Post or
the Wall Street Journal, (or, if you're lucky, the Minister of Finance)
merely cites your myth-label as a way to dismiss the heretical view. Here is
a ready-made template for dismissive citation: "(Fuss and Bother) express
concern about (growing income inequality in society), but (Beach and
Slotsve) have dispelled the myth of (growing inequality) in their
path-breaking study." An adjective such as "path-breaking", "monumental" or
"authoritative" is useful for easing the transition to the third stage:
Amplification is the offensive counterpart to repetition. Unlike labeling
and -- to some extent -- repetition, not everyone can play. The key here is
the SIZE OF YOUR MEGAPHONE. It helps if you have a lot of money or a lot of
access to opinion leaders in government, corporations and the media. The
point of amplification is no longer simply to dispute the errant idea, but
to drown it out entirely in a wall of unanimous noise.
During amplification it is a good idea to assemble a "panel of experts" on
an issue, all of whom have dutifully participated in the repetition stage.
These experts will have no trouble producing a "consensus" that is none
other that the inverse of the original, offending heresy. This expert
consensus needs no other ground to stand on than the "refutation of the
Of course, it is open to the other side to employ the same tactics and
expose the new consensus as a "myth". But whether or not this will be
successful depends on the size of their megaphone.
_Bringing an End to Myth: Towards a New Criterion for Credibility_
Neo-liberal think tanks glory in the polemical game of "myth versus
reality". It is a game they are sure they can win. And it's the game they
play the most. Consider the title of an online publication, Intellectual
Ammunition. The imagery is militaristic and the implied strategy is victory
by war of attrition. The think tanks' advantage is industrial -- with a
large, well organized network of policy intellectuals, sympathetic access to
media and government opinion leaders and generous funding from corporations
and wealthy individuals.
But what is really at stake in the intellectual policy battlefield marked
out by the think tanks? Is it, as the tank thinkers claim, the promotion of
free-market ideas and policy perspectives? Or is it the entrenchment of a
particular fraction of the policy elite in positions of state sanctioned
monopoly? Both, one might say, with the second -- strategic -- objective
underpinning the first -- ideological -- goal.
Let's overlook the obvious contradiction between policy ends and careerist
means and focus instead on the personal stress of doing polemical battle
against an enemy who is presumably out of official favour but whose
pernicious presence must be constantly hunted down and rooted out. How many
of these warrior clones dimly perceive that their usefulness to corporations
declines in proportion to their ideological success? Given the
predictability of the neo-liberal "myth versus reality" formulaic, there
can't be too much trouble pumping up the supply side of the neo-liberal
intellectual labour market or, for that matter, programming a computer to
churn out free market screeds. Perhaps prospective think tank internees
should consider differentiating their product in order to create and capture
As for the rest of us, perhaps we could learn to develop a healthy
skepticism of "myth versus reality" rhetoric. Tempting as the formula is, it
only becomes persuasive when coupled with repetition and amplification --
resources that money can too easily buy. The alternative, an inclusive,
narrative analysis requires acknowledging the non-exclusive plausibility of
a full range of policy perspectives -- even those which we may prefer to
dismiss as "mythical". To be a criterion for credibility, however,
inclusiveness need not be bound by non-partisan dithering. Being inclusive
does not mean being inconclusive.
What inclusiveness does mean is seeking conclusions that open up dialog to
other points of view, rather than closing it off.
Tom Walker, knoW Ware Communications
http://mindlink.net/knowware/worksite.htm (TimeWork Web)
tel (604)688-8296 or (604)669-3286
To: Multiple recipients of list LABOR-L <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
date: 10 June 1996
embargo: 11:00 hours 11 June 1996
TUC-Monks warns on Euro opt-out
TUC General Secretary, John Monks, has warned that Government opt-outs
and vetoes mean that Britain is losing influence on decisions of
vital importance to the
Speaking to the European Government Business Relations Council, he
"There is among our European partners an increasing weariness at what
they perceive as British special pleading.
"At the same time as hearing pleas for solidarity over beef - and
there is a good case to be made on this which we are making both in
the European trade union movement and more widely - they see and hear
which has opted- out from the Social protocol, and jeers at the
others who have not;
which has taken leave of absence from the single currency;
which is fighting a last ditch stand against free movement of
which is increasingly swayed by those who pretend to believe that
we can leave the Common Fisheries Policy, or even the Common
They see a government which has little time for European institutions,
criticising the Commission for doing its job as set down in the
Treaties we have signed, which is to make proposals, and forgetting
that it is governments in the Council of Ministers who really decide.
"They see a Government which wants to politicise and down grade the
Court of Justice when it comes to social policy, but will then make
great play of going to it when it comes to beef.
"But, worse than that, they see a public debate here distorted and
poisoned by xenophobia generated in the Conservative press, and hardly
restrained by ministers, in the context of the beef crisis.
"Our overriding national interest is to be among the big players in
the EU, and play the game.
"The Intergovernmental Conference will last well into next year, until
after our general election. Talk of blocking it is, to coin a phrase,
to live in cloud cuckoo land.
"Although not on the agenda, the question of Economic and Monetary
Union will not be far back in the negotiator's minds. And the need to
ensure secure employment will be part of the equation.
"The final decision on EMU will be based on judgement rather than on a
mechanical application of the Maastricht guidelines. The players in
that game will be decided by qualified majority vote. We should do our
best to be among those players.
"Our country cannot constantly be sending the message that we intend
to seek refuge in devaluation. The response to that message by the
markets is to attach an interest rate premium on sterling debt, making
investment more expensive. So Britain needs to be in there with the
leaders, pressing for a Euro-Keynesian approach in a globalising
financial market, with approaches which will deter speculation.
"European leaders, most of whom want to move towards EMU, should be
fully aware that convergence in the real economy, job levels,
investment, is needed if the project is to be successful.
"Without a strong commitment to employment and to social policy, it
will be very difficult to make EMU work.
"European citizens would not understand it if the important exercise
that is the IGC did not address employment as their main concern.
There is a European dimension to this question, and it needs to be
formally recognised by strengthening the Treaty.
"An increasing number of Governments have recognised this and are
rallying to the kind of proposals initiated by the Swedish Government
to add a new title in the Treaty. this would set as a principal EU
objective a high and sustainable level of employment and low
notes to editors
1) A copy of the full speech is available from the TUC
2) More information from Nigel Stanley 0171 467 1288 (pager 01426
318128) or John Healey (pager 01399 783195)
From: MX%"email@example.com" 12-JUN-1996 22:26:59.34
Subj: TUC Info - Waldegrave on Job Insecurity
date 11 June 1996
Waldegrave cannot "wish away job insecurity"
Commenting on William Waldegrave's speech to the American Chamber of
Commerce TUC General Secretary, John Monks, said:
"Mr Waldegrave cannot wish away job insecurity. It is blighting the
lives of millions of employees and holding back the economy as people
are increasingly afraid to make major purchases, move house or save
for their retirement.
"Mr Waldegrave is also being extremely selective in his use of
statistics. The recovery in Britain dates from Britain's expulsion
from the European Monetary System and has little if anything to do
with the government's deregulation mania.
"The real test on job creation must be applied to the record since the
government came to power, not from a date of their own choosing. For
every 1,000 jobs in Britain in 1979 only one extra has been created.
Over the same period France has created 17 jobs and Germany 50.
Britain's lack of employment protection may have encouraged macho
managers, but it has done nothing to create employment. Indeed it
simply encourages multinationals looking to lose jobs to choose
Britain for their redundancies."
notes to editors
1) more information Nigel Stanley 0171 467 1288 (01426 318128)
Factories Scrap 5-Day Week, In Quest For Efficiency
By PETER T. KILBORN
ORLANDO, Fla. - Tony Moreno is an outgoing, churchgoing man and the
father of three.
But for most of the last five years, Moreno put in 12-hour workdays,
including all of his Sundays, as a machine operator here at Lucent
Some of his colleagues at the immense, windowless microelectronics
factory relish the schedule, in which they alternate three- and
four-day weeks, because it gives them so much time off.
``But that didn't mean much to me,'' said Moreno, 45. ``I missed
going to church. Being a family man, weekends mean a great deal to me.
All my friends are off on weekends.''
Many of Moreno's co-workers like the nontraditional set-up because,
in addition to long stretches of time off, they also receive premium
pay. Like it or hate it, however, more and more American factory
workers are being assigned the short-week, extended-hour schedules.
The key word here is "assigned". Wage-slaves don't live in a democracy
which they rule; they live in a democracy in which the people who rule
are those in the employing class.
``I think employers are concerned about getting the most out of their
employees,'' said Marc Vallario, the Mercer firm's health and welfare
expert. ``They also recognize there are other demands on employees'
lives. So many are structuring the workweek to accommodate their
productivity needs and their employees' life needs.''
Productivity (profit) comes first. If it happens that some workers find
this "compression" of their sold time better than their old schedule, then
it becomes all the sudden an altruistic act by the employing class.
Efforts are being made in Congress to speed the shift to abbreviated
workweeks. Many companies want Congress to change overtime provisions
of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 that require employers to pay
time and a half for any work beyond 40 hours a week, with one proposal
seekinga monthly ceiling instead.
Wake up workers. If the employing class wants to increase it's
productivity by lengthening your work day without the penalty of overtime,
you're going to find yourselves back in the 19th Centruy before long.
If you want to increase your free time (freedom) try another route. Why
not increase the finacial penalties for overtime from time and half to
``The week is getting redistributed toward work,'' said Jerome M.
Rosow, president of the Work in America Institute, a research
organization in White Plains financed by unions and corporations.
Part of the price, he said, is the traditional weekend: ``Leisure
is getting squeezed out.''
The impetus, experts say, is a redoubled emphasis on efficient
production, the same pressure that has been driving the tides of
corporate downsizing. It is another tactic to wrest additional profits
and lower-cost production from factories.
The Lucent factory belongs to AT&T, which said this year that it
would shed 40,000 workers and recast itself into three smaller
companies that will soon become completely independent. One of the
three, Lucent, combines AT&T's research laboratories and 14
manufacturing plants, including the factory here.
In Orlando, management is building a big addition and expanding the
work force to 1,500, from 1,000. About 80 percent of the employees are
refugees from AT&T shrinkage elsewhere.
Inside, the factory workers, in white suits that conceal everything
but their eyes, bake tiny deposits of metal onto paper-thin
six-inch-diameter wafers of silicon. Factories in Singapore and Bangkok
slice the wafers into the integrated-circuit chips that form the brains
of computer modems and cellular telephones.
Five years ago management decided that to hold its own in
competition with wafer processors worldwide, it could not let its
machinery sleep when people do. ``The equipment has to keep running,''
said the plant manager, Robert B. Koch.
Before, the company had been running on a less-compressed week with
four 10-hour days. But that meant that for several hours a day the
machinery stood idle.
``The company eyeballed that quiet time,'' said Thomas S. Christian,
president of Local 2000 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers, who helped negotiate the schedule with 12-hour shifts.
As Koch put it, ``There were inefficiencies.''
Now all but some office personnel work the long shifts, three
consecutive days that total 34 1/2 hours one week and four days that
total 46 hours the next. Time and a half overtime pay is incorporated
into wages that start at $6.91 an hour and rise to nearly $18.19, very
high for factory work south of the Rust Belt.
This may be high; but you should see the profits such wages permit.
The employing class vacations on the Riveria for months on end while
the wage-slaves dutifully increase their productivity on the treadmill
of the world market. Thanks suckers says big Daddy, as he rests on his
Everyone has one weekend day a week, Saturday or Sunday. To make the
schedule work, employees also gave up two holidays, Memorial Day and
Labor Day. Still, all the free days amount to half the year off.
Workers say they appreciate having jobs, enjoy the time off and
relish the pay. They also talk of being extremely tired.
Go to the library. Look for the newly published book, "Sleep Thieves".
Booker T. Thomas, 47, who is married and has an 11-year-old
daughter, came here from an AT&T plant in Shreveport, La. He worked
10-hour days and earned good wages, but he had watched the number of
workers plummet, to 1,000 from 6,500.
``I asked myself, Should I stay here and watch it close?'' Thomas
said. ``I didn't want to get caught in that situation. So I came to
As a skilled technician here, Thomas earns the top wage. He works
days, every other Wednesday and every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
``I get fatigued,'' he said. ``But I got fatigued in Shreveport. I
worked 50 weeks a year there. Here I work 25 weeks and make more money.
Who can argue with working half the time for more money?''
Many other workers, however, talk of a struggle to align the Lucent
clock with the cycles of their personal lives. One is Martha Toler, 34,
who is single and the mother of a 9-year-old boy and a 20-month-old
``I'm a B-grade metals operator,'' paid $14.95 an hour, Ms. Toler
said. ``I sputter metal onto the wafers. I work the days, 5 to 5.
When I work I don't clean or cook. Everything's prepared already.
I put it in the microwave.
``I get up at 3:30. I get the baby ready to go to the sitter. We
leave the house at 10 after 4. She's dropped off at 4:30. I usually
make it here 10 minutes before we have to start. Most people are in
Ms. Toler said that to help pay the sitter $15 a day, she rents a
room in her three-bedroom house.
Her son fends for himself. ``He gets up at 7:30 and goes to school
to 3,'' she said. ``From 3 to 6 he does homework, his chores, watches
TV. Days off I take him to ball games. He doesn't like me working
``I've been more tired and more sick than ever before. I get upper
respiratory infections. A lot is fatigue. I have back and foot
problems. But I had to take the job that takes care of the kids. More
money, more pain.''
Rosow of the Work in America Institute said: ``There's always been
a tension in our society between work, family and leisure. I don't
think industry plans its schedule around the leisure needs of the
Stick a pin there. Only if we organize to make them, will they do
anything in our interests.
An extreme form of workweek compression is the product of
something the experts call best cost scheduling. Under that concept
people work 12-hour shifts for three days and take three days off.
They also work days for 30 days and then switch to nights for 30 days.
Typically the schedules permit two Saturdays and one Sunday off one
month and one Sunday and two Saturdays the next.
Four years ago A.E. Staley Manufacturing Co., the corn miller in
Decatur, Ill., imposed the schedule. The union local, the United
Paperworkers, voted 96 percent against it, precipitating a 30-month
lockout before the workers acquiesced and returned last December.
Other companies have devised less disruptive schedules that often
permit more regular time off. There is the 10-hour day four-day week.
And there is the nine-hour day with two days off one week and three
Some companies use eight-hour shifts on the five regular workdays
but use separate teams of workers on 12-hour shifts on the weekends.
Jerry Cashman, work-options manager at Hewlett-Packard Co. in Palo
Alto, Calif., which is often cited for innovative scheduling, said the
company had ``production environments'' in which different workers
were on 10-hour, 12-hour and 8-hour shifts at the same time.
To give management greater flexible in setting workers' hours, Sen.
John Ashcroft, R-Mo., has proposed legislation that would replace the
40-hour week with a 160-hour month. Industry would still have to pay
overtime for work beyond the 160 hours.
Can we also have "chattel slave zones" set up in the ghettos to provide
employment trainin opportunities for our youth, suh?
But with worker approval, managers could, for instance, pack all
those hours into the first two weeks of the month and allow two-week
Ashcroft and management lobbying groups, like the Labor Policy
Association in Washington, say the proposal would liberate workers.
A spokeswoman for Ashcroft, Doreen Denny, said, ``This proposal
deals with a core concern of families to balance their personal and
Unions, by contrast, see the bill as an effort to restore the
sweatshop hours of the turn of the century. ``He cloaks it in giving
workers and their families flexibility,'' said Jane O'Grady, a
legislative representative of the AFL-CIO. ``But clearly this is an
effort to let employers get overtime without paying for it.''
Still, the old ways die hard.
Recently Moreno escaped the abbreviated workweek at Lucent. He has
shed his protective white suit and moved to one of the few eight-hour
Monday-to-Friday office jobs. ``I love it,'' he said. ``I've always
been a 7 a.m.-to-3:30 guy.''
Tom Walker, knoW Ware Communications
tel (604)688-8296 or (604)669-3286
I am the editor of NEW SOLUTIONS, a quarterly journal of occupational
and environmental health policy published in ccoperation with the Oil,
Chemical and Atomic Workers Union. The journal is aimed at an audience
of labor activists, environmentalists and public health scientists.
It is peer-reviewed and is now in its sixth year. We would welcome
contributions to the journal concerning shorter work time issues.
Please contact me for further information.
Professor of Work Environment Policy
12 Jun 1996 23:15:00 BST-1
Largest fall in employment since end of recession
Reacting to todays labour market statistics TUC General Secretary,
John Monks, said:
"Today's welcome fall in the unemployment total is blighted by the
news that the number of jobs in the economy has also fallen. The fall
in total employment recorded in the first quarter of 1996 is the
largest since the economy came out of recession. Job creating
investment must be given priority in the 1996 Budget".
1.1 Two sets of new labour market statistics were issued by the
Office for National Statistics on 12 June 1996: the claimant count
unemployment figures for the month to May 1996 and the Workforce in
Employment series for the first quarter of 1996.
2.1 Claimant unemployment (UK seasonally adjusted) fell by
14,800 in the month to May 1996 to stand at 2,167,600 . The claimant
unemployment rate now stands at 7.7 per cent of the workforce.
2.2 Male claimant unemployment fell by 11,100 and the number of
women claimant unemployed fell by 3,700 (UK, seasonally adjusted).
2.3 The inflow onto the claimant register in May was 295,100
(UK, seasonally adjusted). The outflow from the register in May was
3.1 The UK workforce in employment (employees in employment,
the self-employed, HM Forces and participants on work related
government training programmes) fell by 74,000 in the first three
months of 1996 to stand at 25,731,000 in March 1996. This is the
largest quarterly fall in the Workforce in Employment series recorded
since the end of the recession.
3.2 The fall in employment recorded by the Workforce in
Employment series was accounted for by an 85,000 fall in men's
employment. The women's employment total increased by 11,000.
3.3 Employee employment fell by 27,000 in the first quarter of
1996, the number of self-employed fell by 27,000, the numbers in HM
Forces fell by 3,000 and the numbers participating on work related
government training programmes fell by 16,000 (all figures UK,
3.4 Employment in manufacturing industry in Great Britain
(seasonally adjusted) stood at 3,817,000 in April 1996. This was
18,000 lower than the figure recorded one month earlier in March 1996.
4.1 The statistics issued today collectively point towards a
slowdown in the UK labour market recovery. Although claimant
unemployment continues to fall, the 14,800 drop in May followed on
from a revised fall in April of only 4,300. The average fall in
claimant unemployment over the last 6 months now stands at 12,800
whereas the corresponding average for the 6 months to May 1995 was
4.2 In addition to recent claimant count figures, the fact that
the workforce in employment total fell by 74,000 in the first quarter
of 1996 (the largest quarterly fall since the end of the recession)
further emphasises the need for government action to strengthen and
sustain the faltering labour market recovery. Targeted job creating
investment and additional funding for quality training programmes must
now be given priority in the 1996 Budget if further substantial falls
in the employment total are to be avoided.
Further information available from Mike Power at TUC on 0171 467 1287
To: Multiple recipients of list LABOR-L <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
Toronto Star June 13, 1996
PLAN TO FIGHT CUBA LAW IN THE WORKS
'Stay tuned' says Eggleton before Zedillo dinner
By David Israelson - Toronto Star Business Reporter
Ottawa is putting the finishing touches on its plan to fight
Washington's controversial anti-Cuba law, Trade Minister Art
``Stay tuned,'' he told The Star, as he arrived
for a dinner in Toronto with Mexican President
``We're finalizing our options.''
Eggleton said he can't say yet when the federal
cabinet will go public with its program to counter
the U.S. Helms-Burton law, which enables Americans
to blacklist Canadian executives at the border and
to sue Canadian firms that do business in Cuba.
Both Canada and Mexico object to the law, and it
was a top issue in discussions this week between
Zedillo and Prime Minister Jean Chretien during the
Mexican president's official visit to Canada.
``I think we see eye to eye on this,'' said
Eggleton, referring to talks held with Zedillo and
other Mexican officials.
Canada is considering beefing up an existing law
called the Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act,
which can slap penalties against Canadian businesses
that cave in to the U.S. anti-Cuba boycott.
The law may be changed to allow Canadian firms
sued by Americans to countersue in Canada for the
exact amounts claimed against them.
The U.S. law allows astronomical lawsuits for
Americans who have registered claims against
property seized by Cuban President Fidel Castro's
Communists after their 1959 revolution.
There are 5,911 such claims, and one Toronto
mining company, Sherritt International Corp., is
expected to be a top target. Its president Ian
Delaney is expected to be barred from the U.S.
within weeks, along with his family, under the
provisions of the Helms-Burton law.
Eggleton acknowledged that time is limited for a
counterattack. The U.S. is about to issue guidelines
explaining how it plans to enforce the blacklist and
let the lawsuits go forward.
The guidelines were due last Monday, but sources
say they are now expected to be published in
Washington either tomorrow or early next week.
Earlier yesterday, at a news conference in
Ottawa, Zedillo and Chretien said they are looking
at joint actions against the law, in addition to
moves made by each country separately.
For example, Eggleton has said it's a virtual
certainty that Canada and Mexico will press ahead
for a top level dispute panel to take up the issue
under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
But at the Ottawa news conference, Zedillo
warned that no legislation could fully protect
Mexican investors against the U.S. legislation.
``I don't want to lie to Mexican entrepreneurs
or Mexican businessmen promising them a legislation
that will make them totally invulnerable to the
Helms-Burton. I think that is not possible,'' he
``Helms-Burton is a unilateral action, and at
the end, there will have to be a unilateral decision
(on) the part of the United States to change the
Under the law passed March 12, U.S. President
Bill Clinton has until July 16 to exempt Canada,
Mexico and any other countries from the
legislation's harsh provisions.
Eggleton has said Canada has no expectation that
this will happen.
The law has already required Clinton to file a
report to the U.S. Congress on Canadian and other
non-U.S. companies doing business with Cuba.
Some sources said they believe this report to be
just a summary of existing knowledge. But others in
Washington have suggested that the document has been
labelled classified, because its information has
come from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
As he arrived at yesterday's dinner here,
Eggleton said the continual Canadian and Mexican
objections to Helms-Burton are attracting attention
south of the border.
``I'm getting calls from the U.S. press now.
They're starting to wake up to what's happening
here, and that there is a protest.''
Zedillo himself was greeted by a protest as he
arrived downtown for his dinner and meetings, as a
small but lively knot of demonstrators marched
outside the King Edward Hotel.
The protesters objected to the Mexican
government's handling of the rebellion by Zapatista
rebels in Mexico's Chiapas province.
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 12:18:37 -0700
Reply-To: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: D Shniad <shniad@SFU.CA>
Subject: NYT Web Announcement (fwd)
On Monday, June 10th, The New York Times on the Web launched an
interactive multimedia photojournalism project that chronicles Bosnia's
struggle for peace. "Bosnia: Uncertain Paths to Peace," features an
electronic gallery of more than one hundred and fifty images by renowned
photojournalist Gilles Peress, and a month-long worldwide discussion on war
and peace in the former Yugoslavia. Anyone with Internet access can view
and participate in the project without charge or registration at
Bosnia: Uncertain Paths to Peace encourages participation from individuals
all over the world, particularly in locations closest to the conflict and
its unfolding resolution. Live Internet connections through 15 publicly
accessible terminals at Sarajevo University have been set up by the Soros
Foundation so Bosnians themselves can take part. Terminals linked to the Web
site have been installed by IBM at the International Criminal Tribunal for
the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, and at the United Nations
in New York. Global discussions are being initiated on the political, social
and cultural issues raised by the war.
Peress' images are a personal and journalistic chronicle of the final weeks
of the siege of Sarajevo, including the exodus of the Serbs from the city's
suburbs. The interactive photo essay, combined with the photographer's
narrative, provides the viewer with information and experiences similar to
those encountered by journalists witnessing the end of the war.
Peress is known for his photographic coverage of conflicts in Iran, Northern
Ireland, Rwanda, and Bosnia. Viewers are encouraged to submit comments
and reactions. Individuals in the former Yugoslavia are being invited to
email their own accounts of events.
More than ten Internet forums are being conducted by leading intellectual
and political figures specializing in different aspects of the Bosnia
conflict, including the war and its destruction, preceding historical
events, the religious dimension, and political ramifications. Bernard
Gwertzman, senior editor, is overseeing the forums. Hosts and participants
* Madeleine Albright, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
* Ervin Staub, professor of psychology studying genocide at the
University of Massachusetts
* Steve Walker, formerly of the U.S. State Department
* Manuela Dobos, professor of Balkanology at the City University of NY
* Aryeh Neier, president of the Soros Foundation & the Open Society
* Christiane Amanpour, senior international correspondent for CNN
Users can also access multimedia background materials, color maps, audio
clips, archival articles from New York Times correspondents, and links to
relevant sites on the Web. Highlights of discussions and forum
contributions will be posted regularly on the site. The site itself will
remain accessible until August.
So much of the imagery that comes at us from television leaves us unable to
respond. This project, using a two-way medium, allows us to both feel the
power of Peress' images, but also to respond, to join a worldwide community
of others who can no longer be silent about what they see and hear through
We invite you to visit this new and important Web site early and often. It
can be reached either from The New York Times on the Web's home page
(http://www.nytimes.com), or by pointing your browser to
Technology Review: July 1996
Town Meetings on Technology
By Richard E. Sclove
Richard E. Sclove is executive director of the
Loka Institute, a nonprofit organization based
in Amherst, Mass., that is concerned with the
social effects of science and technology (e-
mail Loka@amherst.edu). He is the author of
Democracy and Technology (Guilford Press,
The "consensus conference," a recent Danish
innovation, gives ordinary citizens a real chance to
make their voices heard in debates on technology
policy. And business and government, as well as the
general public, could reap substantial rewards.
In a democracy, it normally goes without saying that
policy decisions affecting all citizens should be
made democratically. Science and technology policies
loom as grand exceptions to this rule. They
certainly affect all citizens profoundly: the world
is continuously remade with advances in
telecommunications, computers, materials science,
weaponry, biotechnology, home appliances, energy
production, air and ground transportation, and
environmental and medical understanding. Yet
policies are customarily framed by representatives
of just three groups: business, the military, and
universities. These are the groups invited to
testify at congressional hearings, serve on
government advisory panels, and prepare influential
According to conventional wisdom, the reason for
this state of affairs is that nonexperts are ill-
equipped to comment on complex technical matters and
probably wouldn't want to anyway. But the success of
an innovative European process dubbed the consensus
conference has begun to shed new light on the
subject. Pioneered during the late 1980s by the
Danish Board of Technology, a parliamentary agency
charged with assessing technologies, the process is
intended to stimulate broad and intelligent social
debate on technological issues. Not only are
laypeople elevated to positions of preeminence, but
a carefully planned program of reading and
discussion culminating in a forum open to the public
ensures that they become well-informed prior to
Both the forum and the subsequent judgment, written
up in a formal report, become a focus of intense
national attention--usually at a time when the issue
at hand is due to come before Parliament. Though
consensus conferences are hardly meant to dictate
public policy, they do give legislators some sense
of where the people who elected them might stand on
important questions. They can also help industry
steer clear of new products or processes that are
likely to spark public opposition.
Since 1987 the Board of Technology has organized 12
consensus conferences on topics ranging from genetic
engineering to educational technology, food
irradiation, air pollution, human infertility,
sustainable agriculture, and the future of private
automobiles. And the board's achievements have
recently led to new incarnations of the Danish
process--twice in the Netherlands and once in the
United Kingdom. Other European nations, as well as
the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, and
Australia, are actively considering consensus
conferences as well.
Ironically, the process is gaining popularity just
as the U.S. Congress has abolished its Office of
Technology Assessment (OTA), whose establishment in
1972 helped motivate Europeans to develop their own
technology assessment agencies. But the truth is
that when the OTA faced the chopping block, those
rallying to its defense were primarily a small cadre
of professional policy analysts or other experts who
had themselves participated in OTA studies--hardly a
sizable cross-section of the American public. By
contrast, a consensus conference format, which
engages a much wider range of people, holds the
potential to build a broader constituency familiar
with and supportive of technology assessment. And
there is no reason why the United States could not
adapt the process.
Framing the Issues
To organize a consensus conference, the Danish Board
of Technology first selects a salient topic--one
that is of social concern, pertinent to upcoming
parliamentary deliberations, and complex, requiring
judgment on such diverse matters as ethics, disputed
scientific claims, and government policy. The board
has also found that topics suited to the consensus
conference format should be intermediate in scope--
broader than assessing the toxicity of a single
chemical, for instance, but narrower than trying to
formulate a comprehensive national environmental
strategy. The board then chooses a well-balanced
steering committee to oversee the organization of
the conference; a typical committee might include an
academic scientist, an industry researcher, a trade
unionist, a representative of a public interest
group, and a project manager from the board's own
With the topic in hand and the steering committee on
deck, the board advertises in local newspapers
throughout Denmark for volunteer lay participants.
Candidates must send in a one-page letter describing
their backgrounds and their reasons for wanting to
participate. From the 100 to 200 replies that it
receives, the board chooses a panel of about 15
people who roughly represent the demographic breadth
of the Danish population and who lack significant
prior knowledge of, or specific interest in, the
topic. Groups include homemakers, office and factory
workers, and garbage collectors as well as
university-educated professionals. They are not,
however, intended to comprise a random scientific
sample of the Danish population. After all, each
panelist is literate and motivated enough to have
responded in writing to a newspaper advertisement.
At the outset of a first preparatory weekend
meeting, the lay group, with the help of a skilled
facilitator, discusses an expert background paper
commissioned by the board and screened by the
steering committee that maps the political terrain
surrounding the chosen topic. The lay group next
begins formulating questions to be addressed during
the public forum. Based on the lay panel's
questions, the board goes on to assemble an expert
panel that includes not only credentialed scientific
and technical experts but also experts in ethics or
social science and knowledgeable representatives of
stakeholder groups such as trade unions, industry,
and environmental organizations.
The lay group then meets for a second preparatory
weekend, during which members, again with the
facilitator's help, discuss more background readings
provided by the steering committee, refine their
questions, and, if they want, suggest additions to
or deletions from the expert panel. Afterward, the
board finalizes selection of the expert panel and
asks its members to prepare succinct oral and
written responses to the lay group's questions,
expressing themselves in language that laypeople
The concluding public forum, normally a four-day
event chaired by the facilitator who presided over
the preparatory weekends, brings the lay and expert
panels together and draws the media, members of
Parliament, and interested Danish citizens. On the
first day each expert speaks for 20 to 30 minutes
and then addresses follow-on questions from the lay
panel and, if time allows, the audience. Afterward,
the lay group retires to discuss what it has heard.
On the second day the lay group publicly cross-
examines the expert panel in order to fill in gaps
and probe further into areas of disagreement.
Once cross-examination has been completed, the
experts are politely dismissed. The remainder of
that day and on through the third, the lay group
prepares its report, summarizing the issues on which
it could reach consensus and identifying any
remaining points of disagreement. The board provides
secretarial and editing assistance, but the lay
panel retains full control over the report's
content. On the fourth and final day, the expert
group has a brief opportunity to correct outright
factual misstatements in the report, but not to
comment on the document's substance. Directly
afterward, the lay group presents its report at a
national press conference.
Lay panel reports are typically 15 to 30 pages long,
clearly reasoned, and nuanced in judgment. The
report from the 1992 Danish conference on
genetically engineered animals is a case in point,
showing a perspective that is neither pro- nor anti-
technology in any general sense. The panel expressed
concern that patenting animals could deepen the risk
of their being treated purely as objects. Members
also feared that objectification of animals could be
a step down a slippery slope toward objectification
of people. Regarding the possible ecological
consequences of releasing genetically altered
animals into the wild, they noted that such animals
could dominate or out-compete wild species or
transfer unwanted characteristics to them. On the
other hand, the group saw no appreciable ecological
hazard in releasing genetically engineered cows or
other large domestic animals into fenced fields, and
endorsed deep-freezing animal sperm cells and eggs
to help preserve biodiversity.
Portions of lay panel reports can be incisive and
impassioned as well, especially in comparison with
the circumspection and dry language that is
conventional in expert policy analyses. Having noted
that the "idea of genetic normalcy, once far-
fetched, is drawing close with the development of a
full genetic map," a 1988 OTA study of human genome
research concluded blandly that "concepts of what is
normal will always be influenced by cultural
variations"; in contrast, a 1989 Danish consensus
panel on the same subject recalled the "frightening"
eugenic programs of the 1930s and worried that "the
possibility of diagnosing fetuses earlier and
earlier in pregnancy in order to find 'genetic
defects' creates the risk of an unacceptable
perception of man--a perception according to which
we aspire to be perfect." The lay group went on to
appeal for further popular debate on the concept of
normalcy. Fearing that parents might one day seek
abortions upon learning that a fetus was, say, color
blind or left-handed, 14 of the panel's 15 members
also requested legislation that would make fetal
screening for such conditions illegal under most
This central concern with social issues becomes much
more likely when expert testimony is integrated with
everyday citizen perspectives. For instance, while
the executive summary of the OTA study on human
genome research states that "the core issue" is how
to divide up resources so that genome research is
balanced against other kinds of biomedical and
biological research, the Danish consensus conference
report, prepared by people whose lives are not
intimately bound up in the funding dramas of
university and national laboratories, opens with a
succinct statement of social concerns, ethical
judgments, and political recommendations. And these
perspectives are integrated into virtually every
succeeding page, whereas the OTA study discusses
ethics only in a single discrete chapter on the
subject. The Danish consensus conference report
concludes with a call for more school instruction in
"subjects such as biology, religion, philosophy, and
social science"; better popular dissemination of
"immediately understandable" information about
genetics; and vigorous government efforts to promote
the broadest possible popular discussion of
"technological and ethical issues." The
corresponding OTA study does not even consider such
When the Danish lay group did address the matter of
how to divide up resources, they differed
significantly from the OTA investigators. Rather
than focusing solely on balancing different kinds of
biomedical and biological research against one
another, they supported basic research in genetics
but also called for more research on the interplay
between environmental factors and genetic
inheritance, and more research on the social
consequences of science. They challenged the quest
for exotic technical fixes for disease and social
problems, pointing out that many proven measures for
protecting health and bettering social conditions
and work environments are not being applied.
Finally, they recommended a more "humanistic and
interdisciplinary" national research portfolio that
would stimulate a constructive exchange of ideas
about research repercussions and permit "the soul to
Not that consensus conferences are better than the
OTA approach in every possible way. While less
accessibly written and less attentive to social
considerations, a traditional OTA report did provide
more technical detail and analytic depth. But OTA-
style analysis can, in principle, contribute to the
consensus conference process. For example, the 1993
Dutch consensus conference on animal biotechnology
used a prior OTA study as a starting point for its
own more participatory inquiry.
Timeliness and Responsiveness
Once the panelists have announced their conclusions,
the Board of Technology exemplifies its commitment
to encouraging informed discussion by publicizing
them through local debates, leaflets, and videos. In
the case of biotechnology, the board has subsidized
more than 600 local debate meetings. The board also
works to ensure that people are primed for this
whirlwind of post-conference activity. For example,
the final four-day public forums are held in the
Parliament building, where they are easily
accessible to members of Parliament and the press.
Nor is it any accident that the topics addressed in
consensus conferences are so often of parliamentary
concern when the panelists issue their findings. The
board has developed the ability to organize a
conference on six months notice or less largely for
the purpose of attaining that goal. This timeliness
represents yet another advantage over the way
technology assessment has been handled in the United
States: relying mostly on lengthy analysis and
reviews by experts and interest groups, the OTA
required, on average, two years to produce a
published report on a topic assigned by Congress. In
fact, one complaint leveled by the congressional
Republicans who argued for eliminating the agency
was that the process it employed was mismatched to
legislative timetables. Upon learning about
consensus conferences and their relatively swift
pace, Robert S. Walker, Republican chair of the
House Science Committee, told a March 1995 public
forum that if such a process can "cut down the time
frame and give us useful information, that would be
something we would be very interested in."
The Board of Technology's efforts do seem to be
enhancing public awareness of issues in science and
technology. A 1991 study by the European Commission
discovered that Danish citizens were better informed
about biotechnology, a subject that several
consensus conferences had addressed, than were the
citizens of other European countries, and that Danes
were relatively accepting of their nation's
biotechnology policies as well. Significantly, too,
Simon Joss, a research fellow with the London
Science Museum who has conducted interviews on
consensus conferences with Danish members of
Parliament, has found the legislators to be
generally appreciative of the process--indeed, to
the point where several eagerly pulled down
conference reports kept at hand on their office
And although consensus conferences are not intended
to have a direct impact on public policy, they do in
some cases. For instance, conferences that were held
in the late 1980s influenced the Danish Parliament
to pass legislation limiting the use of genetic
screening in hiring and insurance decisions, to
exclude genetically modified animals from the
government's initial biotechnology research and
development program, and to prohibit food
irradiation for everything except dry spices.
Manufacturers are taking heed of the reports that
emerge from consensus conferences as well. According
to Professor Tarja Cronberg of the Technical
University of Denmark, Danish industry originally
resisted even the idea of establishing the Board of
Technology but has since had a change of heart. The
reasons are illuminating.
In conventional politics of technology, the public's
first opportunity to react to an innovation can
occur years or even decades after crucial decisions
about the form that innovation will take have
already been made. In such a situation, the only
feasible choice is between pushing the technology
forward or bringing everything to a halt. And no one
really wins: pushing the technology forward risks
leaving opponents bitterly disillusioned, whereas
bringing everything to a halt can jeopardize jobs
and enormous investments of developmental money,
time, and talent. The mass movements of the 1970s
and 80s that more or less derailed nuclear power are
a clear example of the phenomenon.
By contrast, early public involvement and publicity-
-of the sort that a consensus conference permits--
can facilitate more flexible, socially responsive
research and design modifications all along the way.
This holds the potential for a fairer, less
adversarial, and more economical path of
technological evolution. A representative of the
Danish Council of Industry relates that corporations
have benefited from their nation's participatory
approach to technology assessment because "product
developers have worked in a more critical
environment, thus being able to forecast some of the
negative reactions and improve their products in the
For example, Novo Nordisk, a large Danish
biotechnology company, reevaluated its research and
development strategies after a 1992 panel deplored
the design of animals suited to the rigors of
existing agricultural systems but endorsed the use
of genetic engineering to help treat incurable
diseases. The firm now wants to concentrate on work
more likely to win popular approval, such as animal-
based production of drugs for severe human
Bringing It All Back Home
Finding suitable topics for U.S. consensus
conferences would hardly be difficult; a variety of
technically complex and socially significant issues
currently on the federal agenda could work. One
likely candidate would be the evolution of the
information superhighway. The World Wide Web and
other information systems promise to significantly
affect everyone in our society, including many
people who do not presently use computers and who
are poorly represented in current deliberations on
Another good topic would be post-Cold War
reorganization of the U.S. national laboratory
system. All taxpayers finance that system, which is
intended to function as a national resource.
However, blue-ribbon commissions appointed to help
chart the labs' future have focused on the concerns
of scientists, the military, industry, and the
communities immediately adjacent to the labs--not on
the needs of the American public as a whole.
Moreover, the mechanisms for distributing lay panel
reports and encouraging follow-on social debate are
readily available in this country. They include the
Internet and the League of Women Voters. Also, the
Connecticut-based Study Circles Resource Center, the
Public Agenda Foundation, and the Kettering
Foundation are experienced in facilitating
nonpartisan, public-affairs discussions across the
United States--everything from study groups with
four or five people to large community forums.
Of course, a lay panel composed of, say, 15 people
would represent a feeble statistical sample in a
nation whose population numbers 250 million.
However, hearing the considered views of a diverse
group of 15 ordinary citizens would be a marked
improvement over excluding the lay perspective
entirely, which is the norm in most contemporary
technology policy analysis and decision making.
Skeptics could also point out that consensus may be
much easier to attain in a small, fairly homogeneous
nation such as Denmark. But it is not as if
consensus is impossible here; U.S. juries routinely
reach consensus on highly contested, complex legal
disputes. And besides, the significant feature of
the consensus conference model is not consensus
itself but the cultivation of informed citizen
judgment. The final report can and often does
identify issues on which the panel is unable to
reach agreement. The report from the 1993 Dutch
consensus conference on animal biotechnology
included majority and minority opinions. In fact,
believing that consensus is not essential to the
model at all, Dutch organizers renamed their variant
simply a "public debate."
Consensus aside, would an ad hoc assemblage of U.S.
citizens even be capable of deliberating together
reasonably? There is some reason to think so. The
intensive preparatory weekends that precede a public
consensus conference help by letting lay panelists
get to know one another and develop their ability to
reason together. More to the point, key real-life
trials have met with encouraging results. For
instance, although Britain is populous and racially
and socioeconomically diverse, panelists on the
first U.K. consensus conference proved quite able to
converse and work together.
And the Jefferson Center--a Minneapolis-based
nonprofit organization that explores new democratic
decision-making methods--has developed a
deliberative format, known as a "citizens jury"
process, that is similar in many ways to a consensus
conference. In 1993, such lay panels formed working
relationships sound enough to permit an examination
of such contentious issues as national health care
reform and federal budget restructuring. The panels'
conclusions did not directly alter government
policy, but they received enough media attention to
influence public debate, and elected officials paid
attention. Indeed, representatives from the budget
jury were invited to discuss their proposals with
Senate Finance Committee.
As to the question of who should organize consensus
conferences, European organizers stress the need to
seek an institution that is--and will be perceived
as--scrupulously impartial on the issues under
debate, authentically committed to democratic
deliberation, and of sufficiently high stature to
attract strong media, popular, and government
attention. Consider, for example, the Library of
Congress or a trusted nonprofit organization such as
the League of Women Voters. But for maximum media
attention and social influence, congressional or
presidential sponsorship, with bipartisan oversight,
would presumably be ideal. With many Americans
convinced that the federal government has grown
seriously out of touch with the concerns of ordinary
citizens, perhaps consensus conferences would be one
way to start rebuilding trust.
Of course, we might start on a more modest level, to
learn some of the ropes, before going national.
Norman Vig, a Carleton College political scientist
who has studied technology assessment throughout
western Europe, recommends experimenting carefully
in different U.S. institutional settings and at
various governmental levels. For instance, the
consensus conference methodology could be applied in
a university setting, or at the state level on
issues in science and technology policy pending
before the legislature.
At least in the abstract, we Americans are fiercely
proud of our democratic heritage and our
technological prowess. But it is striking that we do
virtually nothing to ensure that these twin sources
of national pride are in harmony with one another.
Consensus conferences are not a magic bullet for all
that ails democracy or for ensuring that science and
technology are responsive to social concerns. But
they do reawaken hope that, even in a complex
technological age, democratic principles and
procedures can prevail and, indeed, extend into the
Subj: TUC info - UK breaches ILO rules
Sat, 15 Jun 1996 15:37:15 BST
Britain in new breach of ILO rules on union rights
The International Labour Organisation has found the UK government in
breach of its rules because it allows employers to pay union members
less than non-union members.
At a meeting in Geneva an ILO committee has found that section 13 of
the 1993 Trade Union and Employment Rights Act which permits employers
to deny pay increases to Trade unionists who refuse to accept personal
contracts breaches convention 98 on the right to organise and bargain
collectively. The full text of their ruling is below.
TUC General Secretary, John Monks, said, "Once again the UK has been
found guilty of breaching basic human rights at work. Employers are
not allowed to pay women less than men, or black people less than
white people, but in Britain they can legally pay union members less
than non union members. This is an outrage. The government should
urgently repeal this measure."
The Committee on Application on Standards at the ILO conference in
Geneva today(13 June) reached the following conclusions on section 13
"The committee took note of the statement by the UK government
representative and the discussion that ensued. The committee notes
that at the request of the Committee on Freedom of Association, the
Committee of Experts took note of the insuffiency of the protection
that should be offered to workers against acts of anti-union
discrimination under Article 1 of the convention. The committee
further notes that the interpretation of labour legislation by the
legal system has given rise to comments by the Committee of Experts
and conclusions by the Committee of Freedom of Association with
respect to Article 4 of the convention concerning promotion of
collective bargaining. The committee expresses the hope that the
government will re-examine the situation so that its law and practices
will, without any ambiguity, give effect to the principles of the
conventions. It wishes the government to communicate in its next
report detailed information on legislative action taken or planned to
fully ensure in law and practice the application of the convention and
in particular to guarantee respect for protection against anti-trade
union discrimination for collective bargaining in order to establish
workers' employment conditions."
EARNINGS INEQUALITY IN CANADA? (3)
Subj: Beach/Slotsve and C.D. Howe (fwd)
Sat, 15 Jun 1996 12:48:06 -0400
Paul Bernard forwarded parts of the recent exchange over the Beach/Slotsve
study for C.D. Howe. I enclose some of my own observations (written before
I saw this debate). Since I don't know if the Labor-listerver will accept
my message, I am asking Paul to forward my comments. Sorry, it doesn't
have the footnotes. A version of this will appear in the CCPA Monitor.
A Pseudo-Debate Over the Declining Middle Class
The release of a new study on earnings and income polarization
by the C.D. Howe Institute set off another flurry of press commentary
on this now decade old topic. The main conclusions of the report were
1/ despite several decades of growing labor market polarization,
2/ the final distribution of family incomes has scarcely budged since
the 1970s (the middle class is not disappearing),
3/ this is a result of the offsetting effects of the tax-transfer
system (social programs), and
4/ to do something about earnings polarization public policy should
concentrate on bringing down unemployment.
What was novel here to garner media attention? Not much.
In the body of their report, Charles Beach and George Slotsve come
to the same conclusions as everyone else who has studied the topic
since the 1980s. This is hardly surprising since their's is a
reanalysis of the same underlying data used in virtually all other
studies of the question, Statistics Canada's Survey of Consumer
Finances. Beach and Slotsve, moreover, provide a more than
competent review of earlier studies and take issue with none of them.
The only surprise was the breathlessness with which the press
greeted the finding that Canadian family incomes have not become more
polarized since the seventies. This is the standard result reported
by the former Economic Council of Canada, Statistics Canada, the
Caledon Institute and by everyone else who has studied the topic.
Market earnings have become markedly more unequal but the effects of
this development were largely offset by social programs, at least
until the early nineties.
Media gullibility can in part be explained by C.D. Howe's
packaging of the study. The press release of March 26 announced
well known facts as "new" discoveries. According to the Institute,
the "widely held" notion that the Canadian middle class is
disappearing can finally be dispelled as myth. William Watson's
introduction creates a new "myth" by claiming that the fact of the
declining middle class has now become a truism in Canada. If the
intended target is the belief that family income has become more
polarized in recent years, they are bombing positions in which
no one is entrenched. And apart from their attention-grabbing title,
the authors, Beach and Slotsve, make no claim of revolutionizing
received wisdom on the topic.
The main policy conclusion of the authors, that bringing down
unemployment would help an awful lot in stabilizing family incomes,
is also unexceptionable and would doubtlessly be warmly embraced by
Canadian labor and friends of the CCPA.
Perhaps the most newsworthy aspect of the report's release
was the apparent equanimity of the C.D. Howe in the face of the
findings. "Not to worry!", say Bill Watson and the Institute's press
office, "the middle class is not declining after all."
Reading between the lines, however, indicates C.D. Howe is
deeply concerned. As the report shows, the reason family incomes
did not polarize in the eighties was rising transfer payments paid
for by rising taxes on middle and especially upper income earners,
trends the Institute finds deeply troubling. As Howe's CEO, Thomas
Kierans, makes clear in the Foreword, the Institute believes social
transfers are bad for people, and "Canada has hit the ceiling" when
it comes to taxes. Similarly, Bill Watson is decidedly tepid toward
Beach and Slotsve's prescription about using macroeconomic policy to
bring down unemployment. Easier said than done, he concludes.
One suspects that the Howe Institute felt obliged to put a
happy face on what are otherwise deeply troubling developments. First
Canada has experienced two decades of what can only be called market
failure. As the report shows, real earnings have been stagnant since
the seventies, the distribution of market income has become more
polarized and falling market incomes have been particularly harsh on
younger families, their children, and on low income earners generally.
Second, the reason families were protected against this development
must be chalked up to welfare state success. In the absence of
Canadian social benefits, there is now little doubt that Canada would
have followed the American trend toward sharply higher inequality in
family incomes and child poverty.
The studies on this topic are numerous and thoroughly
documented in the Beach and Slotsve volume. The most recent is a
brief note by Andrew Sharp in CSLS News. Between 1973 and 1993,
the pre-transfer income of the bottom income quintile fell by and
average annual rate of 3.7 per cent. After transfers, the change
was an annual average rate of +1.7 percent, well above the overall
average of 0.6 per cent. Government transfers to persons rose from
11.3 percent of total personal income in 1973 to 17.8 percent in 1993
and almost all of this growth went to the two bottom quintiles.
To put another perspective on the "facts," the OECD reports
that transfers to working-age families in Canada grew from 5.5 to
7.6 per cent of GDP between 1980 and 1990. In contrast, the U.S.
figure fell from 4.5 to 3.5 per cent of GDP. The difference between
the two countries -- approximately 4 per cent of GDP -- is the number
U.S. economists estimate would be necessary to return U.S. inequality
to 1979 levels.
Numbers like these -- and many of those reported by Beach and
Slotsve -- clearly pose a problem for the folks at C.D. Howe and other
advocates of lower taxes and welfare state cuts. Absent other
significant changes, theirs' is a prescription for rising inequality
and child poverty. Beach and Slotsve are correct to point to lower
unemployment as a partial cure for growing pressure on the
tax/transfer system but Watson et al. are clearly unhappy with, and
at best skeptical of, such neo-Keynesian prescriptions.
What of the future? Will Canada continue to offset market
failure with social programs? Is it desirable? To the first
question, two observations are cause for concern. First, a major
reason for Canada's welfare state "success" until now has been the
real increase in federal child benefits for low income families since
the seventies. These increases were partly financed by cuts in child
benefits for middle and upper income families. With the introduction
of the Child Tax Benefit in 1992, this process is now complete and is
no longer available to finance future increases. Secondly, the 1990s
have brought Klein, Harris, and the cutbacks in social assistance
favored by C.D. Howe and its friends. They have been aided and abetted
by Paul Martin's handover of (and cutbacks to) the Canada Assistance
Plan in 1995.
It will be a few years before we have the data to assess these
changes but the implications hardly need elaboration.
A far happier solution to my mind is the sort advocated by
Beach and Slotsve -- macroeconomic policy that reduces unemployment
and creates upward pressure on wages at the bottom of the labor
market. Welfare states are a good thing; but generous welfare states
are viable only so long as most people don't need the welfare state
most of the time.
Department of Sociology
Florida State University
Tallahassee, Fl. 32306
Tel: 904-644-3750 Fax: 904-644-2304 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sat, 15 Jun 1996 18:26:43 BST
Sorry if this is a repeat--the computer was down for a while.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS for May/June has an interesting article by Ethan
Kapstein, the Director of Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations:
"Workers and the World Economy," discussing sources of the economic
crisis facing workers, and the government abdication of responsibility.
"The world may be moving inexorably toward one of those tragic
moments that will lead future historians to ask, why was nothing done
in time? Were the economic and policy elites unaware of the profound
disruption that economic and technological change were causing working
men and women? What prevented them from taking the steps necessary to
prevent a global social crisis?"
He cites Polanyi's "version of history" as having shaped the
vision of postwar leaders of government's role. He is unusual among
those writing in mainstream publications in advocating public job
creation, and seeing crime as related to labor's problems. ("Fully two
percent of all working-age American men are behind bars.").
June Zaccone (Emer., Hofstra University),
National Jobs for All Coalition,
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 554, NY, NY 10115-0050; 212-870-3449
=============RRojas Research Unit/1996============