Thursday 8 March 2012
‘Workers, Unions and the Left: Responding to the Global Crisis’
Dr. Rohini Hensman (Author of Workers, Unions and Global Capitalism: Lessons from India, Columbia University Press, New York 2011)
Friday, 16 March 2012 at 4pm
NM Perera Centre, 106 NM Perera Mawatha (Cotta Road), Colombo 8.
All Are Welcome
Socialist Study Circle
The decades since the mid-1970s saw a worldwide assault on trade unions and workers’ rights, as a consequence of which real wages stagnated or in some cases actually fell, while income disparities increased massively. This created the context for the economic crisis that swept through the world in 2008, and is far from being resolved even today. The predominant response to the crisis by most governments is to bail out the banks and impose austerity measures on wage earners, resulting in growing unemployment, downward pressure on wages, and the dismantling of social security and welfare benefits. Yet if the shrinking of aggregate demand and the disproportionate growth of ‘fictitious capital’ (as Marx termed most of the capital held in banks) led to the crisis in the first place, how can such a strategy possibly solve it? I argue that while capitalism will always be prone to crises, only by strengthening workers’ rights, expanding employment, and raising the income of working people living in poverty can the world economy emerge from this particular crisis.