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A Contest of IdeasCapital, Politics, and Labor$
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Nelson Lichtenstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037856

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037856.001.0001

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From Corporatism to Collective Bargaining

From Corporatism to Collective Bargaining

Organized Labor and the Eclipse of Social Democracy in the Postwar Era

Chapter:
(p.79) Chapter 6 From Corporatism to Collective Bargaining
Source:
A Contest of Ideas
Author(s):

Nelson Lichtenstein

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037856.003.0007

This chapter discusses the emergence increasingly privatized system of collective bargaining after the end of World War II. The turning point came between 1946 and 1948 when a still powerful trade union movement found its efforts to bargain over the shape of the postwar political economy decisively blocked by a powerful remobilization of business and conservative forces. Labor's ambitions were thereafter sharply curbed, and its economic program was reduced to a sort of militant-interest-group politics, in which a Keynesian emphasis on sustained growth and productivity gain sharing replaced labor's earlier commitment to economic planning and social solidarity. This forced retreat narrowed the political appeal of labor-liberalism and contributed both to the demobilization and division of those social forces that had long sustained it.

Keywords:   organized labor, labor unions, collective bargaining, privatization, trade unions, labor movement, liberalism

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