How a Low Wage Economy with Weak Labor Laws Brought Us the Mortgage Crisis

Source: Source: Damon A. Slivers, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Vol. 29 no. 9, 2008

This lecture is an effort to link the field of labor law to the crisis that is unfolding in our economy. As such it may seem a rather peculiar lecture labor law – as I intend to range rather far afield into questions of corporate finance, trade policy, and even environmental policy. Please bear with me, as what I want to do is to show that in the end, labor law, in its broadest sense and as the legal structure shaping how we as a society regard the fate of the vast majority of us who work for a living, is central to what sort of society and economy we are, and what our possibilities as a society can be. This insight – that the fate of working people is the central question to the fate of our society – is the founding idea of labor law. Whether we make the right choices or the wrong choices, the results are far reaching. But most importantly, it is never too late to start making the right choices.

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