Date: Sunday October 24, 2010
Speaker: Richard Chapman
Dr. Richard Chapman received his PhD from University of Utah Economics Department in 1991. His research interests have been on the labor market experiences of the working class and the poor. He has recently been involved in research on the payoff for college education in the American labor market. Dr. Chapman has also been involved with important policy issues working with antipoverty groups and organized labor.
Dr. Chapman states, “Several observations emerged from the experience of the Great Depression:
- Capital had become too powerful and was plagued with overproduction.
- Skewed income distribution greatly contributed to the fragility of the economy.
- More regulation was needed in financial markets.
- A capital-labor accord that would increase the purchasing power of labor was requisite to a stable economy.
These observations were addressed by key policy changes and new government programs. Consequently, the post-world war II years witnessed a strong, healthy blue-collar middle class that proved to be a fundamental piece of a healthy economy. Beginning with the Reagan-Thatcher years, America embarked on a prolonged political and economic dismemberment of the institutions and policies erected in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Central to this institutional attack was a concerted effort to weaken the bargaining power of labor and redistribute wealth toward the upper class, resulting in the greatest redistribution of income since the industrial revolution in Great Britain. The success of these policies is self-evident in the so-called “lost decade” of the aughts and the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.”
References and Resources:
Harrison, Barry Bluestone and Bennett. Deindustrialization of America: Plant Closings, Community Abandonment and the Dismantling of Basic Industry. New York: Basic Books, 1982
Harrison, Barry Bluestone and Bennett. The Great U-Turn: Corporate Restructuring and the Polarizing of America. New York: Basic Books, 1990
Sabel, Michael J. Piore and Charles F. The Second Industrial Divide: Possibilities for Prosperity. New York: Basic Books, 1984
Wilson, William Julius. When Work Disappears : The World of the New Urban Poor. New York: Vintage Books, 1997