James Piazza, De-Linking Labor: Labor
Unions and Social Democratic Parties under Globalization,"
Party Politics, 7 (July 2001), 413-435.
There are two conventional wisdoms about the effects of
globalization on domestic politics.' One holds that
globalization undermines domestic actors because it
substantially widens the opportunity for owners of mobile
capital to relocate abroad and increases competition for
domestically produced goods as consumers have greater access
to foreign goods. In this scenario, globalization threatens
to dramatically alter the economic, political and social
relations (wage norms, economic regulations, social
responsibilities) that domestic actors have painstakingly
negotiated in the past 50 years in industrialized countries
while constructing a 'buyer's market' for transnationally
mobile actors. The other holds that globalization, on the
contrary, has no measurable adverse effects on domestic
actors or, in cases, may even enhance the importance of
domestic actors and 'the local'. In this contrasting
scenario, the insecurity that accompanies globalization
heightens the importance of mediation by domestic agents of
social, political and economic security.
Figure 1: Union density and percentages of seats held by
center-left parties in national legislatures p. 419
Table 1: Results p. 422
These factors, excluding the decline of industrial
employment, for which little significant evidence was found
in the analysis, probably play some role in the policy shift
of social democratic parties, which now increasingly peddle
lower taxes, reduced social spending and free trade in an
attempt to capture middle to upper-middle class votes.
However, this study appends another precipitant: the fact
that organized labor is not the electoral (or workplace)
force it used to be.