Lessons from the U.S. and Germany
Wage regulation in China: Is Fordism coming back?
This chapter compares the experience of collective bargaining in China in order to uncover the key aspects that differ from the effectiveness of collective bargaining and wage regulation processes in the United States and in Germany. I draw these comparisons through analysis of current global economic and political environment, industrial and production trends, specific development path of China, and the state-capital-labor relations within the industrial relation system of China. I argue that the successes in the Chinese model of collective bargaining and industrial relations mainly depend on whether this model is able to normalize the capital relations in existing accumulation regimes as well as to develop a fairer society. Furthermore, this chapter explores the institutionalization of collective bargaining in China. As history shows, the institutionalization of collective bargaining must result from the combined endeavor of all major actors in collective bargaining - workers and trade unions, employers, and state. As the global economy as well as the development path and industrial relations of China have largely varied from those of the post-war US and Germany, general observations cannot determine the successes of collective bargaining in a specific country today. In particular, the social institutions that organize, regulate, and motivate production and consumption, must be taken into consideration. For instance, while trade unions today face globally similar economic pressures and social changes, they often respond in different ways (Boyer, 1995). This is clearly demonstrated in the different strategies of the German and U.S. Labor movements in response to the 1970s crisis....
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