Labour Studies Exam Review
During the GoldenAge they wanted more stability
• Fear of Extremism- reduce appeal of extreme ideologies must give people a steady life
• Workplace Disruption-Lots of ppl worked long hours, low pay. Did not want this to repeat
• Cold War Context-have to prove capitalism will deliver the goods and make lives better than
communism. The biggest single way to win the hearts and minds is to convince the people their lives
will be better.
• Therefore, they put policies in place to make sure that happened. B/C cold war about cultural issues.
There was drawbacks to this b/c people concerned to where money was going
• The drawbacks were b/c of
Military industrial complex- connection between government spending & furthering the industry
• It would create a bland society- lives dull
• Create social divisions- in this time period specific people got benefits (white men)
• Race & gender- enormous inequality, pressure on women not to work etc
• Retrenchment after WWII- see women working, people of color civil rights movements, MLK had a
• These major movements created a huge change
• Industrial Democracy- Wave of activism that helps to entrench change was driven not just by workers
wanting more wages. It was also driven by a sense that they wanted more democracy in the workplace.
This is reflected in the nature of the unions created.
• Social Reform - Labour movement, in earlier times (19 century), labour had very often been a major
player in other kinds of social reform
Labour &Age of Neo Liberalism - Breakdown of Keynesianism
• Throughout the 1970’s the economy struggled, profits & productivity went down. Inflation went up &
people not able to spend as much. Through Keynesian- supposed to be happening when things are good
Younger generation of business men don’t believe they should have to bargain with unions or the
government to help them - do not want gov to intrude.
Ronald Reagen & Margaret Thatcher- both believed in radical change in society, hard core liberalists,
rejected the idea of neo liberalism
o Neo-liberalism has become the term hegemonic, almost all parties are neo-liberal (Obama,
Clinton - neo liberals).
• Washington Consensus- Push for neo liberalism, belief that the market can control everything, must be
free from intervention. Rejects Keynes
• Have faith in the market, markets are the most rational way & can correct themselves
Markets viewed as..
• Self correcting-Allan Greenspan when told there was a lot of fraud, he said the markets will fix it
nothing else can.
• Heroes of business - Book byAyn Rand. The premise of her book is that the real heroes and the
productive people in society are entrepreneurs and investors.All the innovators go on strike and bring
society to its needs (push forward to the market)
• Trickle down economics- Let people free the market and innovate (these people will get rich) but this
will benefit everyone else.
Neo Liberalism inAction
Role of The state
• Neo liberalists blamed the gov for lots of probs (gov invading 2 much, spending 2 much $$)
Expand the Market
• Domestic Policy: Privatize & Deregulate- Taking things the government used to do and own and
putting them in the markets hands. • Internationally: Globalization – Expanding the market geographically, especially former communist
countries, etc. Spreading the market into other places.
• Monetizing Life: Intellectual Property- Taking things that didn’t used to be put in the market. Allowing
things to be patented.
• Consumerism & “Ownership Society”- Neo-liberals believe in expanding the market, which also
includes how you behave, see yourself and act. Branding of goods, people identifying with universal
brands, seeing themselves as consumers rather than other forms of identity
Unions and Labour Law
• Neo liberals are hostile towards unions b/c public sector ppl are unionized (issue for non liberals)
• Right to work this law specifically endorses this view that free individuals want to work in free markets,
they can shove unions aside. Casts unions in a different light, used to be seen as giving workers a say,
they now see them as not very democratic and instead the market is demo.
Workers living in Keynesian age viewed as consumers, they had the spending money to expand the
• Market is the most democratic thing than anything else (neo liberalist view)
• Best way for people to act freely, best for determining what people want.
Legitimacy & Elitism
• Neo liberalist: people who make $$ & succeed in market change world for better that is legitimate
• Elitism- doubting the will of people as expressed in the markets
Issues facing neo liberalism
• boosts buying power of ppl
consumerism & ownership/debt- rates of consumer rate huge, pushes people to spend all they have
• daily life:credit, borrowing against your property (mortgages) when demand falls, ppl need $$ = a
Labour and the age of neo liberalism
• 2007-2008 financial crash- largest one in history, made the neo liberals realize that their belief in the
market was excessive (gov steps in bails out banks)
Assessing neo liberalism
• marxists say neo liberalism is a success, neo liberal marked by little growth
o Financialization: For a lot of business leaders, the fact that our business community is so much
more oriented and trained in manipulating things is a concern
o Rise of the right: they do not need labour like they used to b/c of financialization & new rules.
Political too active from right
o When economy crashed in the 1930’s in the US they shifted more towards the left.
o When the government in 2007/2008 to save the markets this furthered the sense that leaving
things to the market is not what they should be doing, government intervention saved them
o 2009- great deal of political activism on the right from people who continue to drift away from
gov and want more free markets
o Motivation of people who wanted keynesian order- they wanted stability. Neo liberals did not
want stability - societies reached levels of inequalities
Labour & Globalization 2 factors that drove globalization was the washington consensus - consensus from washington pushing
to free market
• Technology & Innovation drove globalization, transport- able to move stuff from place to place at
cheaper cost. Communication- w/o t cannot co ordinate production
• Machinery- new machinery- easier to train people, access to unskilled labour
• Finance- moving $$ from place to place.
• New Economy- level of competitiveness between workers all around the world
• TINA(Margaret Thatcher)- there is no alternative b/c of combination of policies and technological
advancements have sunk into the minds of ppl
• Canada has exp. globalization, used to be anti free trade but then did NAFTA- economy wasn’t getting
better 1989---1990 recovered, Canada always been a resource economy (Alberta- oil)
• Immigration keeps Canada’s economy going economically, and there has been manufacturing decline
b/c they are competing w other countries
Canada is good in the garment industry (MTL, TOR, HAM)- big employers of immigrants
• Rubber Industry - biggest employers during golden age (huge in south ontario)
• Automotive- Canada held out for long time, b/c it was productive
• High tech production- Canada did well until Nortel.. Asian countries got dis
• Rust Belt emerges-Area that is rusting out, once that happens difficult to turn around (no employment)
• Government Role- w/ move of free trade u can protect indusries esp w/ rise of neo liberalism. Gov can
be affected by things like rust belt. Golden horseshoe when manufacturing well, & employment
Unions able to resist big concessions, level of strikes go down b/c TINA
• structural weakness’-that unions have that have weighed heavily on their ability to resist the weakness
is collective bargaining
• 1970s good for Canada in Steel Industry, Hamilton dominant in Steel (Stelco) biggest issue in the start
of 1980’s workers where fed up because company was talking about bad times coming & demanding
concession(technology taking over workers). Big competition for steel other countries pushing for steel
• 1981 longest strike in recent history in this industry (125 days) and it really was the competitive forces
weighing down the economy and the strike happens. Bankruptcy w/ steel workers laid off.
• “Hanging on” Generation- 1990s/ Fingernails generation. Core of workers who had seniority for a very
long time, younger people are getting laid off.
• Industries have done well (Mining & NorthernAlberta Energy) Boomtown Mentality- Area that if you go there, people are getting rich. People who go there to work go
there to make a lot of money quickly
• Social Breakdown- The human mind cannot handle rags to riches. Signs of social breakdown= divorce
rates (twice the national average)
• Rise service sector known as the tertiary (third sector)- primary sector- resource, secondary-
manufacturing & third is trading services (become most popular) any other services
• Upper & Lower Tiers- Lower (front line service work) higher tiers are better.
• Service work expanding since the 80s, ppl work more no time for children/fam. More &