The Politics of Inequality - Election 2020: UC Berkeley Big Ideas

9/23/2020; 108 minutes

This lecture takes up the question of neoliberalism, income inequality and low wage workers. We begin with a brief overview of the political economy of the neoliberal project from the 1970s to the present, considering neoliberalism as both an economic philosophy and a political project of the global ruling class. Professor Jayaraman then takes up the main topic of the lecture on the politics of low wage workers, especially workers in the food service industry. Working through a history of restaurant workers and the practice of tipping from slavery to the present, we consider how restaurant workers have struggled to survive on a sub-minimum wage for decades due to the aggressive lobbying efforts of the National Restaurant Association ("the other NRA"). We discuss the alarming rates of sexual harassment experienced by this predominantly female and women of color work force, as well as ongoing efforts to organize working class Americans both on the job and at the polls. Recorded on 09/23/2020. (#36443)

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