Belabored: What’s Up With Inflation, with J.W. Mason

Belabored: What’s Up With Inflation, with J.W. Mason

Economist J.W. Mason joins the podcast to talk about inflation and how to organize around price increases.

Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, announced new measures to contain inflation earlier this week in D.C. (Jim Watson / AFP)

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Everyone’s talking about inflation following the Federal Reserve’s announcement of the biggest interest rate increase in twenty years. But what actually is inflation? What causes it, how does it affect workers, and how should unions think about it? We asked economist J.W. Mason to explain it all to us and answer some listener questions about how to organize around price increases.

We also check in on the National Day Laborer Organizing Network for Workers’ Memorial Day, hear about a huge May Day strike put on by Voces De La Frontera, look at the latest Starbucks union election results, and discuss the situation of tugboat workers. For Argh, we consider the “Amazonification” of the workforce and how the impending repeal of Roe V. Wade might affect abortion clinic workers.

Thank you for listening to our 246th episode! If you like the show, you can support us on Patreon with a monthly contribution, at the level that best suits you.

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Sarah Jaffe, Tug Life, American Prospect

Silent no more: overworked tugboat workers are reaching breaking point, International Transport Workers’ Federation

Amelia Lucas, Starbucks to hike wages, double training for workers as CEO Schultz tries to head off union push, CNBC

Tallahassee Starbucks becomes 1st unionized store in Florida, WCTV

Colin Staub, Workers at five Oregon Starbucks are now unionized, Northwest Labor Press

Nik Theodore, Recovering From Climate Disasters: Immigrant Day Laborers as “Second Responders,” National Labor Day Organizing Network

Hannah Kirby, Thousands of people marched in Milwaukee to demand Biden pass protections for immigrant workers, their families, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel



J.W. Mason, associate professor of economics at John Jay College, CUNY

Tim Barker and J.W. Mason, Is There an Alternative? The Macroeconomics of the Biden Administration, Dissent

David Stein, “In a Good Economy Homelessness Goes Up”: Inflation and the Housing Question, Law and Political Economy Project

Dominic Rushe, Federal Reserve announces biggest interest rate hike since 2000, Guardian


Argh, I wish I’d written that!

Michelle: Laura C. Morel, Abortion’s Last Stand in the South: A Post-Roe Future Is Already Happening in Florida, Reveal

Sarah: Jason Del Rey, The Amazonification of the American workforce, Vox