2014

Margaret Thatcher, the Thatcherite Intellectuals, and the Fate of Keynes
John Trumpbour. 5/2014. “Margaret Thatcher, the Thatcherite Intellectuals, and the Fate of Keynes.” Industrial Relations Journal, Special Issue on Margaret Thatcher’s Legacy, 45:3, Pp. 250-265. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In the early 1970s, major political leaders of the centre-right such as Richard M. Nixon proudly declared their allegiance to the Keynesian consensus and the welfare state. By the mid-1970s, this consensus unravelled so rapidly that even the leader of Britain's Labour Party came to regard Keynesian medicine as ineffectual. Seeking to demolish several foundations of the Keynesian welfare state, Thatcherism soon attracted economists and policy pundits eager to defend its achievements, including in North America at such bygone hotbeds of Keynesianism as Harvard University. This essay seeks to probe cherished mythologies of Thatcherism that she restored Britain's economic dynamism, streamlined government and revived plucky entrepreneurship. Her intellectual admirers have largely averted their eyes from law-and-order repression and the rewards delivered to politically connected insiders, most dramatically those policies unleashing finance capitalists and extending the tentacles of the Murdoch media empire.
Falling Behind? Boom, Bust, and the Global Race for Scientific Talent
Michael S. Teitelbaum. 2014. Falling Behind? Boom, Bust, and the Global Race for Scientific Talent . Princeton University Press.Abstract

Is the United States falling behind in the global race for scientific and engineering talent? Are U.S. employers facing shortages of the skilled workers that they need to compete in a globalized world? Such claims from some employers and educators have been widely embraced by mainstream media and political leaders, and have figured prominently in recent policy debates about education, federal expenditures, tax policy, and immigration. Falling Behind? offers careful examinations of the existing evidence and of its use by those involved in these debates.

These concerns are by no means a recent phenomenon. Examining historical precedent, Michael Teitelbaum highlights five episodes of alarm about "falling behind" that go back nearly seventy years to the end of World War II. In each of these episodes the political system responded by rapidly expanding the supply of scientists and engineers, but only a few years later political enthusiasm or economic demand waned. Booms turned to busts, leaving many of those who had been encouraged to pursue science and engineering careers facing disheartening career prospects. Their experiences deterred younger and equally talented students from following in their footsteps—thereby sowing the seeds of the next cycle of alarm, boom, and bust.

Falling Behind? examines these repeated cycles up to the present, shedding new light on the adequacy of the science and engineering workforce for the current and future needs of the United States.

Benjamin I. Sachs and Catherine L. Fisk. 2014. “Restoring Equity in Right-to-Work Law.” U.C. Irvine Law Revue, Vol. 4, 2, Pp. 857-879. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Under United States labor law, when a majority of employees in a bargaining unit chooses union representation, all employees in the unit are represented by the union. Federal law, moreover, requires the union to represent all workers in a bargaining unit equally with respect to both collective bargaining and disciplinary matters. As a general rule, federal law enables unions to require employees to pay for the services that unions are obligated to provide them. Twenty-four states, however, have enacted laws granting union-represented employees the right to refuse to pay the union for the services that federal law requires the union to offer. As such, the intersection of federal labor law and state right to work laws results in a mandate that unions provide services for free to any employee who declines to pay dues. This paper proposes three approaches to addressing this feature of U.S. labor law. First, the paper argues that under a proper reading of the NLRA states may not prohibit all mandatory payments from workers to unions. In particular, the paper shows that states must permit collective bargaining agreements requiring so-called objectors (or nonmembers) to pay dues and fees lower than those required of members. Second, the paper argues that in right to work states federal law ought to relax the requirement of exclusive representation and allow unions to organize, bargain on behalf of, and represent only those workers who affirmatively choose to become members. This proposal would implement a members-only bargaining regime in right to work states. Third, the paper contends that the NLRB ought to abandon its rule forbidding unions from charging objecting nonmembers a fee for representation services that the union provides directly and individually to them.
Paradigm lost: employment-based defined benefit plans and the current understanding of fiduciary duty
Larry W. Beeferman. 2014. “Paradigm lost: employment-based defined benefit plans and the current understanding of fiduciary duty.” In Cambridge Handbook of Institutional Investment and Fiduciary Duty, edited by James P. Hawley, Andreas G. F. Hoepner, Keith L. Johnson, Joakim Sandberg, and Edward J. Waitzer, Pp. 100-110. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.Abstract

In this chapter we will contend the following: the trust model is a poor fit for the relationships in which plans are embedded. Those relationships warrant, at minimum, decision-makers considering members’ interests as workers at the associated enterprise, which derive from the financial risks of plan investments in other enterprises in general, and arguably the impact of harms that result from the behaviors of specific, sometimes competing enterprises. We express skepticism that these relationships justify taking account of members’ interests other than as members or workers. However it can be justified based on a different line of argument. It concerns the extent to which members (or others) who participate in collective vehicles for investment should retain the voice they would otherwise have with respect to advancement of their interests in the case of their own individual investment decisions. Vindication of a broader range of members’ interests might have merit as a matter of social policy rather than as one of advancing those interests for their own sake.

The foregoing points are made within the context of what is deemed to be decision-makers’ duty
of loyalty. However, we briefly explore the import of what is termed their “duty of care” for the issues explored. In doing so, we assert that the statutory framework that defined that duty was largely devoid of substantive content. The content was supplied by investment theories and practices at best insensitive to the relationships in which plans are grounded. Moreover, those theories and practices embodied problematic claims about the goals that might legitimately be pursued by the enterprises in which plans might invest. These claims stand in tension if not in direct conflict with those of members’ interests that decision-makers might appropriately seek to advance. The foregoing suggests a close or intimate connection between how fiduciary duty, with respect to investment in enterprises, and the legitimate goals that might be pursued by those enterprises are understood.

'Reform' of the United States and Brazilian Retirement Systems for Federal Employees
Larry W. Beeferman and Arthur Bragança V. de Weintraub. 9/10/2014. “'Reform' of the United States and Brazilian Retirement Systems for Federal Employees.” Revista Brasileira de Previdência, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP),. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Recently, Brazil made changes to its retirement system as it concerned public sector workers, changes which in certain ways were similar to those which occurred for most federal workers in the United States somewhat over a quarter of a century ago. Broadly speaking it involved the conversion of a purely pay-as-you-go defined benefit plans to a hybrid of a reduced pay-as-you- go defined benefit plan with a funded defined contribution plan. In the United States, the latter is called the Thrift Savings Plan which now has over 4.5 million participants and nearly $400 billion in assets.

This paper offers a brief history of the origins of the U.S. system up until the changes in question were made, what were among the major factors or considerations which appear to have spurred the changes, a little bit about the constituencies which seem to have driven or resisted change as the case may be, the modifications that were envisioned, and expectations as to the difference that was expected to be wrought from those alterations. It canvases the differences between the then “old” and the “new” systems in relation to what was ostensibly sought to be achieved. It then draws on what is a surprisingly thin literature to describe the outcomes of the changes more than 25 years later with an eye to hoped-for or anticipated results at the outset. We then detail important elements of the new Brazilian system – which is at an early stage – with an eye to similarities and differences between it and the one we have described with a focus on how the outcomes of the system in the U.S. might bear on thinking in Brazil as it moves forward with its own. We conclude briefly with thoughts on the nature and merits of further pursuing the comparison and inquiry.

2014 May 07

TWELFTH ANNUAL PENSIONS AND CAPITAL STEWARDSHIP CONFERENCE

Wed - Fri, May 7 to May 9, 9:00am - 5:50pm

Location: 

Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA

Pensions and Capital Stewardship Project, Labor and Worklife Program
in collaboration with 
PSL-Université Paris-Dauphine, Chair Dauphine-Ensae-Groupama  
Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts

“Pension Fund Investment in the Long View: Where, With What Goals, and Why?”

From May 7 to May 9, 2014, the Project held its twelfth annual conference, this year, in collaboration with PSL-Université Paris-Dauphine, Chair Dauphine- Ensae-Groupama. Trustees from the United States and Canada were joined by senior pension fund staff, scholars, researchers, and others from across the United States as well as from Brazil, Canada, France, Morocco, and the United Kingdom. The conference explored a range of issues with a particular eye to the meaning, import, and practice of long-term investing in general and how it relates to investment in emerging market countries in particular.
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2014 Feb 06

"Citizens Derided: Corporate Politics & Religion in the Roberts Court"

4:00pm to 6:00pm

Jamin Raskin Darrin Spann
Jamin Raskin,
Professor, American University,
Washington College of Law &
Maryland State Senator

Introduction by 
Darrin Spann, Assistant Director of AFSCME Council 13 in Pennsylvania 

Opening Remarks by Professor Jamin B. Raskin: 
"In 2010, in the 5-4 Citizens United decision, the conservative majority on the Roberts Court broke from government 'of the people, by the people, and for the people,' and gave us a constitutional blueprint for government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations. It held that for-profit corporations have the right to spend unlimited sums—million or billions of dollars-- promoting or disparaging candidates for public office."

 Brochure of full transcript [Download]