What Caused Labor to Lose Big in the 1970s?

Upset about rising inequality? Maybe you should blame Richard Nixon and the end of Bretton Woods.

Matt Yglesias looks back at the labor changes we made in the 1980s and concludes that "several decades into this experiment, we're seeing much more of the 'profits surge' than the 'surging profits lead to an investment boom' dynamic. One explanation for this that's growing in popularity on the right is that the rise of more capital-friendly politics in the mid-1970s coincidentally occurred at the exact same time as a structural slowdown in the rate of technological progress, so while it seems like anti-labor politics has failed to deliver the goods, it's really all just a stroke of bad luck.

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