NYTimes: ... In Ohio, economic decline has redrawn the map, devastating towns and cities, and making some places unrecognizable. Mr. Carner, now 70, recalled making a wrong turn at night in Toledo a number of years ago, not realizing where he was because population decline had left entire blocks abandoned and dark.
“We’re just a little bit afraid, like an old man who is trying to make his way, but is lost,” he said. “We used to be the big boys on the block, but the rest of the world is catching up with us in so many ways.”
Richard Freeman, an economist at Harvard, said he saw the hostility toward unions as a sign of decay in society. Some working-class people see so few possibilities for their lives that it is eroding the aspirational nature that has long been typical of Americans.
“It shows a hopelessness,” he said. “It used to be, ‘You have something I don’t have; I’ll go to my employer to get it, too. Now I don’t see any chance of getting it. I don’t want to be the lowest one on the totem pole, so I don’t want you to have it either.’ ”
See also this earlier post from 2005: Equilibration can hurt.
Here's Richard Freeman last year at Alibaba's (Chinese internet company) Hangzhou offices. When it comes to labor economics, Richard tells it like it is.