What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

Friends With Benefits: Why Private Sector Workers Should Care About Public Sector Unions

March 10, 2011, 7:54 PM
Friends_with_benefits

The Republicans are trying to pit private sector workers against public sector workers. It's easy for a struggling private sector worker with low wages and no benefits to resent of private sector workers with job security, pensions, health care, and more—especially if that worker's state taxes are going up, and her public services are dwindling.

But why do public sector workers get better benefits than private sector workers? Because the public sector is much more heavily unionized than the private sector. Why is that? Because the law makes it virtually impossible to form a union in a private sector workplace these days. So, benefits in the private sector get worse and worse while corporate profits soar. Benefits in the public sector stay relatively good, even in tough economic times because they are organized and they can fight for themselves.

Here's what needs to happen: 1) The Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it a lot easier for workers in the private sector to organize, so that private sector workers can demand their piece of the American Dream; 2) Corporations and rich people need to pay their fair share of taxes so that the public employers can continue to provide decent benefits and wages to their workers—i.e., the people who teach our children, pick up our garbage, purify our water, pave our roads, etc.. Everybody wins.

Here's what's going to happen if we don't do something: 1) The states will crush public sector unions, and wages and benefits will go into a tailspin, for everyone, not just public sector workers. 2) If nobody has any money, nobody buys anything, and private sector companies suffer, so they have to cut wages and benefits and lay people off. 3) If nobody's making any money, nobody's paying any taxes, so the public sector has to cut wages and benefits and lay more people off, and cut public services. Everybody loses.

If you're a robber baron who wants dirt cheap labor, low taxes, and no public services for the undeserving masses, you win big...at least in the short term. In the long term, you're screwed, too because when everyone's living on catfood, nobody will have any money to buy your products. Even Henry Ford understood that he had to pay his workers good wages so they could buy Fords.

[Photo credit: Luminis Kanto, Creative Commons.]

More from the Big Idea for Friday, March 11 2011

 

Friends With Benefits: Why ...

Newsletter: Share: