THE NORTH WILL RISE AGAIN: Pensions, Politics, and Power in the 1980's by Jeremy & Randy Barber Rifkin

THE NORTH WILL RISE AGAIN: Pensions, Politics, and Power in the 1980's

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Capitalism is not likely to exist anywhere in the world a hundred years from now."" With this attention-getting prediction, Rifkin and Barber leap into a fast-moving, carefully constructed account of economic decline in the unionized North, economic growth in the anti-union South, and the need for an ""alternative economy"" to reverse the trend. Since this ""alternative economy"" is really socialism, Rifkin and Barber admit their thesis may seem ""unorthodox,"" but their statistics are so weighty, and their arguments so reasonable, as to effectively challenge pat thinking. Private capital, we are told, has abandoned the North to such a degree, bringing jobs and people into the Sunbelt, that the 1982 Congressional reapportionment will find this region dominant for the first time. Union pension funds, today totaling some $500 billion and potentially worth $1.3 trillion in eight years, are the ""major source of new capital in the American economy."" Unions themselves, not banks, should decide how to invest these funds--perhaps to help local governments in the North in the way that a $3 billion purchase of municipal bonds bailed out New York City in 1975, or to buy stock in companies friendly to unions. Rifkin and Barber foresee a new worker activism born of the Sixties' protest movements. They want union members to join with northern state governments to fight the private sector for control of pension funds, resulting in a ""rudimentary form of worker-community control."" A highly readable presentation of a controversial thesis.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 1978
Publisher: Beacon