Archive forEquity

In Drive to Unionize, Fast-Food Workers Walk Off The Job

This article discusses how employees at McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants have started to strike. They are asking for the formation of a Union and higher wages; they have requested a raise from $7.25-$8.25 to around $15.oo. I found this to be very surprising. Since the fast-food industry offers low-skilled jobs, these employees have the potential to be replaced before a Union was created and acknowledged by these large international corporations. Also, unless the majority of McDonald’s/other fast-food restaurant employees went on strike, which doesn’t seem to be the case, I don’t foresee much progress being made. Similarly, as we discussed in class, higher wages would mean that the employers would hire fewer employees, so some of the individuals on strike would most likely lose their jobs in the long run anyway. Another challenge of creating a union and higher wages would be that these fast-food jobs are often temporary for many employees. As stated in the article, “These jobs have extremely high turnover, so by the time you get around to organizing folks, they’re not on the job anymore.” I will be interested to see if anything comes of this strike and whether the fast-food industry would consider paying their employees more.

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Where Will the World’s Poor Live?

Most of the world’s poor now live in middle income countries, making the development challenge one of addressing domestic income distribution rather than aid from one country to another. The working paper provides an “Update on Global Poverty and the New Bottom Billion”:


The Fiscal Cliff Is Not as Steep As It Seems

Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research, explains the impact in terms of tax increases and spending cuts that will follow a policy that lets the Bush tax cuts expire: In doing so, he explains the different impact of tax cuts for the richest 2% and ‘bottom’ 98% along with the different impact of cuts in discretionary and military spending. While largely touching on macro issues, this article connects to micro topics on incentives and taxes and subsidies.

For your calendars: Dean Baker will be coming to Dickinson to discuss this issue on November 7th.


Rising prices encourage cocoa theft

This article includes a good explanation of the impact of higher demand on the price of cocoa pods: It also highlights the challenges facing the cocoa farmers in Madagascar as a result of the rising value of their cocoa pods and weak institutions for enforcement of property rights.

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US Manufacturing: Output vs. Jobs

This graph provides the data to support the argument made in class that manufacturing output has increased over the past three decades despite the fall in manufacturing employment:

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US Income Growth

What does the following graph tell us about U.S. income growth over the past six decades?