Canadian Politics Labour Thesis

Pages: 9 (2422 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 14  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Economics

Canadian Politics and Labor


The questions this research seeks to answer are the questions of: (1) What has happened to industrialism, and where is it heading; (2) How has organized labor responded; (3) What strategies and goal should labor adopt and why?

Industrial legalism" represents the highest point for Canadian organized labor during postwar Keynesianism, but it's not clear that this model can survive globalization and neoliberalism. Industrial legalism means "the compulsory recognition of unions and enforceability of negotiated contracts." (Howlett). Deindustrialization is defined in the work of Cairncross (1982) and Lever (1981) as follows:

Deindustrialization means an outright decline in the output of manufactured goods or in employment in the manufacturing sector;

Deindustrialization can mean a change from manufacturing to the service sectors, resulting in the manufacturing sector having a lower share of employment or total output;

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Deindustrialization can mean that a declining share of external trades is that which manufactured goods form resulting in an ongoing and accelerating failure in achieving a surplus of exports over imports sufficient to maintain the economic external balance; and; and Deindustrialization is defined as a continuous state of a deficit in balance of trade accumulating to the extent that a country or region is thereby rendered unable to make payment for imports that are needed in sustaining production of goods, which results in an ongoing economic decline. (Deindustrialization, 2008)

Thesis on Canadian Politics Labour Assignment

The work of Bradley Bowden (2004) entitled: "The Ties of Place: Contractors and Employers Strategies on the Western Canadian and Central" examines the ways that "spatial configurations have shaped the use of export coalfields of Queensland and western Canada since the late 1960's and argues that "the divergent employer strategies pursued after 1996...reflects a different spatial placement within the global coal trade." (Bowden, 2004) Bowden holds that the primary problem in Canada was "locational advantage due to distance from deep-water. In consequence employers responded to falling prices by concentrating production in the area of greatest locational advantage." (Bowden, 2004) Bowden notes the statement of Alfred Marshall (1892) who noted the "tendency to variation is a chief cause of progress." (2004) Marshall (1923) is stated in the work of Bowden (2004) to have remarked "every locality has incidents of its own which affect in various ways the methods of...every class of business that is carried on in it." (Bowden, 2004)

Making things even more complicated is the fact that "while in some trades, 'the possible variations are confined within narrow limits" while in other trades "there can be great variations." (Bowden, 2004) the work of Erica L. Goshen states that a comparison with labor markets in the United States "may shed light on the causes of trends in Canada, as many influences on wages have been the same across both countries, while others have differed." (Bowden, 2004) it is related that the unemployment rates in Canada have been recently higher than those in the United States. However, 'real wage patterns have been steadier and stronger in Canada throughout much of the past two decades." (Goshen, 2005) it is held that suppression of wages for new workers during the 1990s "until the pool of unemployed was absorbed" is likely the reason for preservation of worker wages in Canada. (Goshen, 2005; paraphrased)

The work of Ostrey, et al. (2001) entitled: "Effects of De-Industrialization on Unemployment, Re-Employment, and Work Conditions in a Manufacturing Workforce" reports a study with a stated primary purpose of gaining a deeper understanding "of the dynamics of the de-industrialization on unemployment and on physical and psychosocial work conditions" since these are key indicators in determination of health in the workplace. (Ostrey, et al., 2001) This work additionally states that the resource-manufacturing sector in Canada was blasted by a recession in 1980, which lasted until the year of 1985. British Columbia employment climbed to 19.2% from 6.4% between 1979 and 1982." (Ostrey, et al. 2001)

De-industrialization is a widespread occurrence in developed nations, which "has affected and continues to affect millions of workers." (Ostrey, et al. 2001) it is held by Ostrey et al. (2001) that it is critically important to examine the consequences of de-industrialization in the long-term. Three categories of affected workers are stated to exist:

1) Those who are long-term unemployed;

2) Those who are employed after downsizing but re-employed in the long-term; and 3) the survivors who remain employed in industries that are undergoing restructuring at different intensities. (Ostrey, et al. 2001)

Stated to be the "first class of potential losers' in the process of de-industrialization are those who are unemployed in the long-term since adverse effects are known to be adverse "on general mortality and morbidity." (Ostrey, et al. 2001) the second class or workers, or 'those who are downsized from an industry but find reemployment in the long-term..." are referred to as 'redundant' in de-industrialization and "differ from the population of the unemployed in the immediate post-war era because their status is due to permanent rather than cyclical shifts in the labor markets of developed countries." (Ostrey, et al. 2001)

The work of Robert Rowthorn and Ken Coutts entitled: "De-Industrialization and the Balance of Payments in Advanced Economies" states that the "causes and significance of de-industrialization have been debated with fluctuating intensity since the process first began." (2003) Various explanations have been put forth in the attempt to state why "the employment share of manufacturing should fall in advanced economies" according to Rowthorn and Coutts (2003) which include:

1) Specialization;

2) Consumption;

3) Productivity; and 4) International trade. (Rowthorn and Coutts, 2003)

Specialization is stated to include specific activities including ", catering and transport that were previously performed in-house by manufacturing firms are increasingly performed by specialist service providers." (Rowthorn and Coutts, 2003) This is stated to be representative of a "reclassification rather than a genuine shrinkage in the manufacturing sector." (Rowthorn and Coutts, 2003) Consumption is stated to be a factor because as the poor countries have experienced a rise in incomes during the ongoing industrialization the "proportion of expenditure devoted to food declines, and consumers purchase more manufactured goods." (Rowthorn and Coutts, 2003) the result of imports rising from low wage countries combined with the rise in productivity in the home country is that manufactured goods in advanced economies "are now so cheap that consumers can buy a lot more of these goods whilst spending a smaller fraction of their income on them." (Rowthorn and Coutts, 2003) in relation to International trade, Rowthorn and Coutts state that international trade affects "manufacturing employment in a variety of ways:

1) it increases productivity in this sector by stimulating competition and encouraging domestic firms to produce more efficiently;

2) Competition from imports may also increase productivity by eliminating low value-added activities or inefficient firms;

3) in order to pay for imports a country may exports goods and services to foreigners or use its income from investments abroad, or it may borrow. (2003)

In relation to investment it is stated by Rowthorn and Coutts that the evolution of the manufacturing sector under the impact of rising incomes, differential productivity growth, relative price change and foreign trade has had superimposed upon it "the influence of such factors as the share of fixed investment in total spending. Investment expenditure is skewed toward manufactured goods such as machinery and building materials so that a higher rate of investment will increase the share of manufactured goods in total demand, and thereby raise the share of manufacturing in real output and employment." (2003)

Rowthorn and Coutts make a comparison of de-industrialization in the United States and the United Kingdom. The following chart illustrates the share of manufacturing employment in Europe and North America as cited in the work of Rowthorn and Coutts.

Share of Manufacturing Employment in Europe and North America

Rowthorn and Coutts (2003)

The work of Alderson (1997) entitled: "Globalization and Deindustrialization: Direct Investment and the Decline of Manufacturing Employment in 17 OECD Nations" states that N. interesting linked has been "drawn between direct investment and its effects: that between the outflow of direct investment - often cast as 'capital flight' and de-industrialization." (Alderson, 1997) Alderson states the fact that "on average, the share of manufacturing employment in the seventeen OECD nations noted above decline from 27% in 1967 to 19% by 1990. Deindustrialization has thus been general, if not uniform, across the core in the last twenty-five years." (1997)

The work of Rowthorn and Ramaswamy (1999) entitled: "Growth, Trade, and Deindustrialization" states that there has been an ongoing decline in "the share of manufacturing employment...for more than two decades in the most advanced economies - a phenomenon that is referred to as industrialization." Stated as primary issues in the deindustrialization debate are:

1) Whether the decline in the share of manufacturing employment should be a concern; and 2) the extent to which this decline is caused by factors that are internal to the advanced economies, as opposed to external factors in the form of expanding economic linkages with the developing countries." (Rowthorn and Ramaswamy, 1999)

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