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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

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

Nelson Lichtenstein

University of Illinois Press

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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