I’m stoked John brought Freddie on board. I think the pity-charity liberalism / redistributive liberalism discussion is fascinating. I don’t think you can over-estimate how badly the cause of the social welfare project has been harmed by the erosion of organized labor in this country.
For a long time I believed that you could basically have a strong market economy alongside a strong welfare state and it would work. I’ve come more and more to the belief that that’s not sustainable. Without worker organization that dynamic can’t last. That’s why you have such an effective welfare apparatus in a place like Sweden. Sweden has free markets, a robust social safety net, and upwards of 70% of the population unionized, including much of the white-collar workforce. When you have that much of the population involved in the political and economic process, you get better laws. And you get a better balance between worker and corporate influence.
I’ll have more to say on this soon, but for now check out this piece in The Nation by Corey Robin. Lots to think about.