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The evolution of unions

Today is Labo(u)r Day in Canada and the United States.

It is the official end of summer for a lot of people, which is always a bit sad. (Unlike a lot of people I know, I’m not a huge fan of fall.) But primarily, today is a day to celebrate the labor union movement.

Fred Wilson wrote an excellent post on his blog this morning about this topic. I agree with him and he put it far better than I could this morning. So here are a few snippets:

When one looks back over the history of the development of the modern economy from the agricultural age, to the industrial age, to the information age, the development of a strong labor movement has to be one of the signature events. Capitalism, taken to its excesses, does not allocate economic value fairly to all participants in the economic system.

I am a fan of the idea that labor needs a mechanism to obtain market power as a counterbalance to the excesses of markets and capitalism. I think we can look back and see all the good that has come from a strong labor movement in the US over the past 150 years.

However, like all bureaucratic institutions, the “Union” mechanism appears anachronistic sitting here in the second decade of the 21st century. We are witnessing the sustained unwinding of 19th and 20th century institutions that were built at a time when transaction and communications costs were high and the overhead of bureaucracy and institutional inertia were costs that were unavoidable.

Click here for the full post.

On that note, I am in the market for new – ideally daily – blogs to read. Blogs such as this one, which generally focus on a particular topic but are written by one person and are a bit personal in nature. I find those are where the best online communities develop.

If you know of any, please leave the link in the comment section below. A lot of readers have also asked me for similar recommendations, so I am sure they would appreciate the suggestions.

Happy long weekend 🙂

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