National Labor Movements in the Postwar World

National Labor Movements in the Postwar World

National Labor Movements in the Postwar World

National Labor Movements in the Postwar World

Excerpt

Within the past decade there has been increasing interest in the problems of labor movements abroad. The manner in which these movements are born and evolve has become of major political importance to the entire non-Communist world. In both the industrialized and the developing countries the structure and the ideology of labor movements are being molded and influenced by new forces.

In western Europe, for example, the process of economic recovery and spectacular economic growth, as well as the impact of sweeping new technological changes, have raised new problems for the working population and the trade-union movements in these countries. The almost simultaneous post- World War II process of reconstruction and expansion imposed a series of new strains on many of the old union structures and attitudes. Traditional Socialist-linked policies and programs in many of the northern and western European countries were subjected to re-examination and change.

While these forces have been at work in Europe, the American labor movement, in the space of 25 years, has grown from a somewhat limited and market-sheltered type of structure of three or four million members to a large sprawling economic force of 17 million members. The very change in size of this movement has transformed it from a more limited pressure-type institution into one of the key national economic forces.

The impact of these great social and economic forces inevitably has led to serious re-examination and re-evaluation of traditional labor attitudes and institutions both in the United States and western Europe. This process of restudy has been intensified by the great increase in travel and exchange of . . .

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