The so-called middle class was largely created by labor unions and government regulations during a brief 40-year window during the 20th Century, explains popular progressive author and University of Rhode Island history professor Erik Loomis.
“From the beginning of the 1930’s with the successful unionization of the American workforce and the New Deal continuing through the 1970’s,” he explains, “was a period where American workers were getting a bigger slice of the pie, where workers were dying on the job less and less, where workers themselves were demanding safer workplaces and promoting the creation of OSHA and the EPA and other agencies that are going to ensure that Americans lead decent lives…”
Loomis’ latest book is about what happened next.
“And then corporations figured out how to escape this,” he said during a sit down interview at his URI office in Kingston. “And they do this by moving jobs overseas.”
Aptly called Out of Sight, it’s about how big corporations abandoned the American middle class to bring bad working conditions and environmental degradation to third world nations.
“This is an intentional move by corporations,” Loomis says, “in order to get away from union contracts, to get away from environmental regulations, move it overseas. They can recreate the bad old days, undermine the middle class here, increase their profits and force the burden of global production onto the world’s poorest workers.”
He will be discussing his new book at AS220 on Wednesday, November 18 from 5:30 to 7:30. The event is sponsored by RI Future. An evocative author and speaker of national prominence, Loomis is the Rhode Island’s top scholar on globalization. His book was featured on C-SPAN’s Book TV, as well as in Truthout, Counterpunch, In These Times and Dissent, among others. He’s a regular contributor to the Lawyers, Guns and Money blog.
Few understand the Trans Pacific Partnership as well as Erik Loomis and he’ll be discussing and answering questions about it at the event, as well. We discussed this at length in our interview – including a potential upside for workers and progressives. Tune in tomorrow for the second part of the interview in which Loomis discusses the TPP. Wednesday, we talk about who he’s backing for president, and why.