However much we dislike unions, maybe because they seem to force collective identification rather than the individualism professionals are encouraged to identify with, and because they seem to press for higher wages rather than for innovation.
In the struggle for a share of society’s output unions, after www2, played a crucial role in maintaining some approximation to good distribution. Af er WW2, the US economy, with increased productive capacity from the war effort, faced pent up savings and consumer demand. The corporations made a deal with the unions: high per hour wage – say 27 dollars per hour, in exchange for no strikes.
This arrangement lasted until the 60’s when profit margins were shrinking and the US started a long slow decline we are still in. Politics moved against the unions and to support the pulling of wealth out of the bottom say 80% of the population. No block replaced Unions to keep the pressure on to keep distribution relatively fair
With the shrinkage of the unions there was no other social organization constraining increasing wealth by the few who controlled the political process, as can be seen in the rise of the clinton democrats , with their belief in the legitimacy of joining the rich with high profile consumption and the financialization of the economy. This Is a return to a world where the rich can take what they want – with the help their professionals, the lawyers and economists using the money of the rich to control the political process.
Post WW2 was an unusual time that put corporations and consumers in a partnership that dominated the lifestyle desires of society. (See the BBC films of Adam Curtis searchable on youtube). This was a return to the usual situation of the increasing power of the rich over society and this is a fundamental property of capitalism.This is because those with money have more leverage when summed across those with wealth, than is the power of those summed across 80% of society. Capitalism and democracy are parallel systems for making the key decisions for society . The many vs the few, and the capital side wins out, forcing periodic revolt. My own view is that we are living in the shadow of an incomplete French Revolution and, coordinated by the internet, it would be continuing to create new forms now.
But climate change and viruses in the context of a population dependent on coal and oil is creating the possibility of a renewed shift of power to the rich as society grows desperate for some group to take control and manage the crisis.