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LABRST 1C03 (126)

Lecture - The Golden Age - 2014-01-21

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Labour Studies
Sandra Colavecchia

The Golden Age for Labour • What's "Golden" about it – average tax rate was 90% around this time; any amount you made over 2 million dollars was taxed this much; if you make this much stop whining was the attitude; workers lives got better; roughly from 1945-1973; in these 30 years the growth of peoples income was unprecedented (hadn't been matched before that and hasn't been matched since); peoples buying power typically doubled (if they had $1 by the end of the year they had $2 by 1973); parallels growth in productivity = 100%, average worker produced doubled from 1947-1973) o standard of living – if you were a blue collar unskilled worker then you were poor living an unsecure life; outside of the few skilled workers the vast majority lived poor live o status of workers – average unskilled workers is part of the middle class; from the 1920's this was seen as unrealistic thinking that an unskilled worker could be middle class; they are now not just workers doing grunt work they are also shoppers that help fuel the economy o daily life – transforms the daily life of average workers; daily life was mostly a struggle to get by; workers had to strategize in a family unit on how they would get by and had to be clever and resourceful just to make ends meet; typically the mother's did this (stretching all materials in the house, taking in more family workers); children were big part of daily life; they were very early workers (daughter over 12 seen as key domestic labourer; son had to be out working); if you weren't working by 15-16 you had some explaining to do; using school as an excuse was not good cause parents needed help; during this time however the lifestyle is much more suburban; youth is seen more as a time to enjoy life o education - becomes much more widespread; kids would only leave high school if they had a really good job; more kids staying in school and going to university; university enrolment increased 800% from 1944-1970; education allowed for people's ambitions to change even if they come from disadvantaged backgrounds (sense they could be a teacher, or doctor now); society much less class conscious (you're from this background so you're going to be this); • "great middle class" – a larger amount of the population was in the middle class and they were very comfortable about being in that class and society saw itself as a middle class society; people weren't as worried about how the rich lived their lives o north American advantages - this happened because North America had a big economic advantage (had this advantage because in Europe they were bombing each other's economy) and all the wartime investment/production had long term economic benefits; also, Canada had the resources necessary that other countries needed to help rebuild; there was not as much competition; government was in huge debt and bad financial shape after the war o government policy – tried to create full employment  full employment – tried to keep unemployment rate as low as possible by making jobs  redistribution – the government had an explicit policy of taking money from the rich and giving it to the middle class; redistributing the wealth; would take money from the rich and use it for what they needed; happened during the 50's • taxation – mainly did this through taxes (top income tax rates: 1920s = 24%, mid 1930s = 63%, late 1930s = 79%, mid 1950s = 91%)  public investment – helps encourage full employment; big investment in education and health care and things that will help create jobs and make the economy perform at a higher level; biggest single public investment in American history (interstate highways); big investment in universities;  security – making workers feel secure in the long term was very important; secure about their jobs and their lives + families + health (get health insurance) and retirement; social security gets expanded during this times; protection against workplace injuries is also expanded; biggest one of the time was unemployment insurance (if you lose your job now you can bridge from one job to another; in the past you would just lose your job and give up your house)  social insurance –expansion of these types of social insurances; in Canada leading figures are members of the NDP (or CCF) pushed public home insurance so you don't go to private places instead  collective bargaining – government solidifies a system that creates a place for collective bargaining; encourages a labour relation system that allows for collective bargaining; gives unions a role in bargaining for higher wages, better benefits etc; most policy makers accept this now and in some cases see this as a good thing; labour place having to recognize union is codified during this time The "Golden Age" for Labour Part 2 • Keynesianism – John Maynard Keynes (liberalism); most influential thinkers of the 20th century; is an economist concerned with the instability and viability of capitalism in the longer term; influential for what he has to say about the depression; basic problem is that there is not enough demand; the economy chokes in the depression on its own production (producing so much but average people aren't making enough money to buy the goods); so if you want the capitalist economy to work you need more demand o "mass production requires
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