We kid you not

Issue 

Report: unions key to wellbeing

A new report has found that trade unions improve the general well-being for union and non-union citizens in several industrialised countries, an October 7 InTheseTimes.com article said.

The findings, which appear in the September issue of Social Indicators Research, “highlight a link between union density and life satisfaction based on data from fourteen developed nations”, the article said.

“The researchers … found that organized labor is a boon to the well-being of those who live in industrialized regions in places like Europe, Japan and Australia.”

The researchers wrote: “Our findings strongly suggest that unions increase the life satisfaction of citizens, and that that this effect holds for non-union members as well.

“Moreover, we also find that labor organization has the strongest impact on the subjective well-being of citizens with lower incomes.”

InTheseTimes.com said that “individuals who live in countries with high union densities had a higher level of life satisfaction; union members reported being generally happier than non-union members by one-tenth; and the less fortunate who were union members had the highest improvement in their quality of life”.

The study outlined several factors leading to improved well-being. These included unions providing a measure of job security against sudden lay-offs and collective bargaining providing a sense of empowerment.

Spending cuts kill?>

“Radical cuts to social welfare spending to reduce budget deficits could cause not just economic pain but cost lives, warn experts in a study published online in the British Medical Journal.

“While there is a major debate under way about the potential economic impacts of radical budget cuts in Europe, David Stuckler from the University of Oxford and his colleagues dissect the effect of public spending on people’s health.

“Their analysis shows that levels of social spending in Europe are ‘strongly associated’ with risks of death, especially from diseases relating to social circumstances, such as heart attacks and alcohol-induced illness …

“The team evaluated data on social welfare spending collected by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) from 15 European countries in the years 1980 to 2005 …

“They found that when social spending was high, mortality rates fell, but when they were low, mortality rates rose substantially …

“The researchers found spending on social welfare to promote health, and not simply healthcare, had the greatest impact on public health. However, they also found that reducing spending on non-welfare sources, such as military or prisons, had no such negative impact on the public’s health.”

— June 28 ScienceDaily.com article.

Bono endorses scrapping minimum wage

“The September 13 issue of Forbes, the business magazine owned by [U2 lead singer] Bono, has an article by Rhodes College professor Art Carden entitled ‘Scrap the Minimum Wage.’

“Carden claims that the minimum wage, which is impossible to live on, ‘has only destroyed jobs.’ … According to his theory, [scrapping it] would create several new jobs in the poverty-stricken city of Memphis where he lives.

“When Bono bought Forbes he said he liked the magazine because ‘it has a consistent philosophy.’ … The ‘consistent philosophy’ of Forbes may be summed up as “’It is glorious to be rich.’”

— October 6 Rockrap.com post.

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