Parution – Labor in the Age of Finance: Pensions, Politics, and Corporations from Deindustrialization to Dodd-Frank (Sanford M. Jacoby)

L’historien de l’économie Sanford Jacoby, professeur émérite de recherche à la Anderson School of Management de l’Université de Californie à Los Angeles, signe un ouvrage fascinant sur les transformations du travail et des syndicats à l’ère de la finance et du capitalisme actionnarial. Paru aux presses de Princeton en juin 2021, l’ouvrage suggère que l’influence du travail sur le capital est en réalité beaucoup plus étendue que certains ne l’imaginent, et que les syndicats ont restructuré la gouvernance d’entreprise autour de la rémunération et la responsabilité des dirigeants.

About the book
Since the 1970s, American unions have shrunk dramatically, as has their economic clout. Labor in the Age of Finance traces the search for new sources of power, showing how unions turned financialization to their advantage.

Sanford Jacoby catalogs the array of allies and finance-based tactics labor deployed to stanch membership losses in the private sector. By leveraging pension capital, unions restructured corporate governance around issues like executive pay and accountability. In Congress, they drew on their political influence to press for corporate reforms in the wake of business scandals and the financial crisis. The effort restrained imperial CEOs but could not bridge the divide between workers and owners. Wages lagged behind investor returns, feeding the inequality identified by Occupy Wall Street. And labor’s slide continued.

A compelling blend of history, economics, and politics, Labor in the Age of Finance explores the paradox of capital bestowing power to labor in the tumultuous era of Enron, Lehman Brothers, and Dodd-Frank.



“Jacoby brings a historian’s eye to the vexed relation of labor to finance capital. The story is a fascinating one that highlights the dilemma facing labor unions in their capacity as shareholders. Is it really possible to transform the power of money into power for workers? Jacoby shows that labor’s influence over capital is more extensive than many will have imagined, and is likely to endure.”—Simon F. Deakin, University of Cambridge

“The financialization of corporate America created an unfamiliar terrain upon which organized labor has sought to fight. Sanford Jacoby’s comprehensive, highly readable history of this struggle opens the door to the myriad ways in which unions and their pension-fund allies tried to win strikes, democratize corporate governance, negotiate with private equity, and enact new regulatory laws that might tame capitalist excess. There was more failure than success, but Jacoby’s remarkably insightful analysis will henceforth be essential to any understanding of labor’s twenty-first-century cause.”—Nelson Lichtenstein, University of California, Santa Barbara

“Jacoby tells a fascinating and important story about how labor unions found themselves espousing shareholder primacy at the turn of the twenty-first century. Anyone who is interested in the history of unions or corporate governance will want to read this book.”—Margaret M. Blair, author of Ownership and Control: Rethinking Corporate Governance for the Twenty-First Century

“Organized labor has been powerfully affected by the financialization of the U.S. economy. In fact, unions themselves have been active in attempting to shape this process for the better, using their pension resources to push back against corporate and financial excesses. In this important and readable book, Sanford Jacoby uses this perspective to trace the rise, fall, and possible rejuvenation of American unions.”—Barry Eichengreen, University of California, Berkeley

“This compelling and important book demonstrates how a reinvigorated labor movement is the first and best way of reducing inequality and strengthening democracy. Labor in the Age of Finance is destined to become the leading book on the history of labor’s corporate finance activism.”—Teresa Ghilarducci, coauthor of Rescuing Retirement: A Plan to Guarantee Retirement Security for All Americans

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