Friday, April 22, 2011

George Kenney interview: "American unions with Dr. Jefferson Cowie" @ Electric Politics

Dear Michael,

Jefferson Cowie has written a book, Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class, that describes the decline of American unions without mentioning de-industrialization. The book has garnered all kinds of awards and recognition. Jeff is, by his own reckoning, and that of others, a left liberal. This is frustrating.

Instead of taking a non-confrontational approach I try to help Jeff understand why, in critical themes in his work, he's wrong. I'm not sure whether I dented his self-confidence but I think, nevertheless, that his mistakes are the kind of mistakes that help us to better understand things. And Jeff is not the only one brainwashed by the assertion that the de-industrialization of America is inevitable or that some kind of normal economy could survive de-industrialization. I mean, honestly, everybody who thinks that should be corrected.

Fortunately, Jeff's a decent guy and, since I'm older than him, I'll pull rank and say -- and it's true -- that our differences were exchanged on a friendly basis.

As always, if you like this podcast please don't hesitate to forward the link.



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