links for 2010-08-08

  • "…Second only in importance to the ascent of business was the continuing decline of organized labor…Economists often focus on unions’ contribution to greater equality through their bargaining over wages. This is a mistake. It is the political role of organized labor on issues of economic and social policy that matters most in the political economy. Indeed, the political consequences of union power are difficult to exaggerate. Social scientists have consistently shown that the strength of organized labor has a very large impact on the development of social policies across nations. Strong labor unions are closely associated with low levels of inequality and more generous social programs…"
  • RELATED: "…Berg doesn’t believe there’s anything inherently political about riding a bike. “But people on both sides of the political aisle do ascribe political significance to biking. The lifestyle-statement bikers, of course, see the act as a political and social statement. And there’s a certain strain of conservatism that sees conspicuous consumption—driving an SUV and chortling at paying more for gas—as a way to poke a finger in the eyes of the environmental left…."
  • "…But the most irritating conspiracy theory is one that I’ve encountered almost exclusively on the right – the theory that riding a bicycle unwittingly ties you into a shadowy international network of Fabian socialist Bilderberg cap-and-traders. All sorts of conservatives and “conservatives” believe this…"