Reducing Inequality in the 21st Century

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The idea of workers owning the businesses where they work goes back to the earliest days of the United States. Joseph R. Blasi traces the development of that idea in American history and looks at how it applies in today's economy. The book The Citizen's Share: Reducing Inequality in the 21st Century , written with Richard B. Freeman and Douglas L. Kruse, is based on a 10-year study of profit sharing and employee ownership at small and large corporations, and makes the case that the country’s founders’ original vision of sharing ownership and profits offers a viable path toward restoring the middle class.


Joseph R. Blasi

Comments [12]

jim foxman from greenfield ma

no such thing as inequality, just a liberal socialist scam. Just work hard and have accountability. This show was a joke, hey Leonard give 50% of your assets to lazy morons so they can buys new air jordans. Yea right..

Sep. 03 2014 08:42 PM
Peter Talbot from Harrison NJ

Blasi, Freeman and Kruse have produced a weighty tome that means absolutely nothing. Globalization has already won: US corporations worth the name are already inverted (not US citizens, not paying US taxes). US corporations and financial instruments are all heavily weighted on the asset side (cash and securitized debt speculation) such that much of their income derives not from making any thing or providing any service but from speculating on indexed or basket options with little connection to their "core" (laugh out loud) competencies. The US protects these villains with the full power of the equal protection clause, bails them out when any of their speculations turns downward and ensures by complete lack of any interest in equality that these foreign actors will do anything thinkable to subvert US law and buy legislation, jurisprudence and popular opinion in order to preserve double digit bottom line capital growth.

The idea that there exists anywhere in the world a plebiscite or government with the authority to stop these pirates from their rapine and pillaging of public wealth and private investment is simply laughable. We are speaking now from from the standpoints of microeconomics, national policy, legal precedent (and Supreme Court sophistry) or any other avenue of public discourse aside from source searches at Far from it: the pirates are lauded for their fiduciary prowess, rewarded with astronomical capital for ensuring bottom line expansion at the expressed cost of weakened labor (for which read expanded productivity), dismantled public welfare income redistribution (for which read the now moribund New Deal), and globalized tax avoidance and environmental stewardship subversion. They can and do fool all of the people all of the time. Poor Leonard was grateful for an interesting discussion. I was crying (literally) in my brown bag lunch throughout. There is no longer any egalitarian American agenda of any kind: let everyone eat high carb cake in between their three shifts at Burglar King, Dominos and the mini-mall.

Sep. 02 2014 02:01 PM
tom LI

Re those who thinks k this subject is about absolute equality - you have it all wrong. The smart employee knows he/she can't be absolutely equal in all ways with the CEO, or even their immediate boss. It comes down to matters of rewards for ones work. Am I being cheated by unjust employment practices

Is the employee being cheated because he/she got hired by a hard nosed, low wage-giving manager, while the next one gets a better wage because that hiring manager is looser in attitude and wages. I've seen it happen for decades of working in various industries. and one of the better aspects of unions that should be more often the rule are Pay grades, where everyone comes in at $X and the raises are structured, allowing for a small variable for better performance. But not left to the Cults of Personality that too often run most places of employment.

Another issue with disparity and how Corps keep it instutionalized are the moronic review systems. Yearly reviews with insane questions, based on nothing of value, that force the employee to answer in ways that please management and not address their actual jobs and value, and/or contributions.

I could go on and much wrong with the current state of affairs in the American workplace.

Sep. 02 2014 12:55 PM

Can your guest please talk a bit about worker cooperatives and the benefits that model offers. It seems that this may be 21st equivalent to unions.

Sep. 02 2014 12:36 PM

Ben Franklin only decided for the Revolution after visiting Ireland and seeing the disparity there of a colonial concentration of landed/Capital wealth.

Sep. 02 2014 12:30 PM
Ed from Larchmont

You can address inequality by having an expanding economy, which would happen if we had more young people, which we don't have.

Sep. 02 2014 12:20 PM
Jerry from NYC

what about employment of illegals, why pay an adequate wage to locals when illegals will work for a half, locals would do dirty work - NYC sanitation dept. employs us citizens only, dirty work gets done by locals if the pay is decent

Sep. 02 2014 12:19 PM

God bless the United States of Hypocrisy!

Sep. 02 2014 12:16 PM
Brian from UWS

The guest just mentioned John Adams's fears about concentrated wealth. Can he please comment on Adams's (and others') belief that centralizing that power in the Senate would give it a place for proper exercise, and contain it.

Sep. 02 2014 12:15 PM
Jason from South Bronx

Exactly how does someone earning more or having more (assets) cause or lead to others earning or having less? This has never been explained.

Sep. 02 2014 12:12 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Ahh, this "equality" stuff can only go so far. I lived on two kibbutzim in Israel over 40 years ago and at first I wanted nothing more in life than to become a "kibbutznik." There was no more egalitarian socioeconomic structure ever created in human history than the Israeli kibbutz system. Well, to cut to the chase, what I learned is that the nature of our species ("human nature") trumps everything else. If you want true "equality" you are going to have to produce people in factories to quality control standards like we produce other widgets. People are biological creatures whose individuality can only be suppressed so far and for so long, unless you keep killing them like in North Korea. Even so, you cannot forever suppress individualism.People are individuals not machines.

Sep. 02 2014 11:37 AM
Ed from Larchmont

There might be a demographic element to this problem also: we don't have enough people of job and business-creating age to expand the economy. (We lost them somehow.)

Sep. 02 2014 08:02 AM

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