With new bailout plans for Wall Street being unveiled almost every week, it’s easy to forget that nearly all of the work that fuels our economy takes place outside of Manhattan. While reviving the financial sector is an important part of recovery, any lasting economic solution must also empower American workers and protect them from corporate abuses.
Workers’ rights are a core issue for our democracy, argues progressive icon Noam Chomsky in an interview with Paul Jay of The Real News. Chomsky advocates for a much broader palette of reform than a simple cleanup of the financial sector.
The discussion covers the current economic crisis and its implications for the democratization of the U.S. economy. It’s a fascinating exchange.
Chomsky notes that while the recent bank bailouts have brought a great deal of attention to the disconnect between public investment and private profit, it has become routine for the taxpaying public to foot the bill for important research that eventually creates big corporate profits. To ensure that we all reap the benefits of our investments, it is essential to make institutions accountable to their communities, rather than exclusively dedicated to maximizing shareholder returns.
The first step in democratizing the U.S. economy, according to Chomsky, is promoting unionization by enacting the Employee Free Choice Act, which makes it easier for workers to organize.
“The Employee Free Choice Act is always misrepresented,” Chomsky says. “It’s described as an effort to avoid secret elections. It’s not that. It’s an effort to allow workers to decide whether there should be secret elections, instead of leaving the decisions entirely in the hands of employers.”
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