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


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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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
With rendition switcher


Question: Do unions have too much or too little power in the American political system?


Carla Katz: Of course I would say we don’t have enough power.

The labor movement has changed dramatically. 1973, 25 percent of the private sector work force was unionized. We’re down to below seven percent. Overall, including the public sector, we’re at 12 percent.

That being said, the labor movement still has an incredibly powerful place in both national and state politics because we are a well-organized force. We participate in the political process at a much, much higher rate than the regular public, and at a higher rate than most other organized groups. And we put people out on the street on Election Day; and that matters because our members vote and we can make change.

That being said, the attack by corporate America on unions, specifically since the ‘70s through today, has been extraordinary. A lot of the discussion about what’s happened to the labor movement and why is it shrinking; people talk about globalization and technological change. But the reality is that the attack by corporate America on the right to organize has been a much, much more powerful force in terms of shrinking the size of the movement.

A lot of the focus of the labor movement nationally now is on achieving federal legislation – the Employee Free Choice Act – that would at least put a dent in prohibiting companies and employers from illegally intimidating and attacking workers that want to organize.


Recorded on: February 8, 2008



Do unions have too much or ...

Newsletter: Share: