Here is my take on the recent events in Wisconsin, in the form of a short talk and roundtable discussion at Santa Clara’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, where I am an Ethics Fellow.
Here is a recap:
Governor Walker’s attack on unions is part of a longstanding animus from employers in this country to unions, what some call American exceptionalism because this kind of hostility to trade unions is rare in the rest of the world, outside of countries like China.
Walker’s approach is also dysfunctional because it is an attack on labor policy but it does nothing to address deep concerns we should have about fiscal policy and social policy, which are the other two key pieces of the debate.
Our fiscal policy is out of whack because pension funds are now used by Wall Street for financial engineering at great expense to those funds not for investment in long term economic development.
[Left out as there was a time constraint]: We need to shift our approach to social policy away from the volatile and chaotic capital markets to investment in infrastructure and other methods of revitalizing the economy, a process in which state and local public employees can play a vital role.