The G20 Forum and the Interests of Working People

Watching the protests and riots staged to coincide with the G-20 Forum in the United Kingdom might tempt you to view this as another battle in the long-running war between capital and labor. But, that's not true.

Working people, through their pension funds and mutual funds, now own a majority of stocks in most big corporations. And when these corporations pay out their profits, much of that profit goes toward funding the pensions and other retirement income of middle class people who would call themselves working people.

In fact, among working people with a stake in big business, through their pension funds and mutual funds, members of trade unions are among the biggest owners. They enjoy that status because they not only contribute to pension funds themselves, but also because their employers often match their contributions. That means they have either bigger pensions, or that they have extra disposable income they can invest in mutual funds.

The demonstrators at the G20 Forum, including the labor people who've taken to the streets of London, would have you believe otherwise. But, they're sadly out of date, protesting in support of a separation between business and labor that's disappearing rapidly.

This disappearing separation, through ownership of corporations, began in a small way in a handful of countries after World War II. Since then, the growth of worker ownership through pension and mutual funds had both expanded and accelerated. Now, literally hundreds of millions of working people around the globe participate.

The health of big business now matters, despite what you might hear from protestors at the G20 Forum. Even in these difficult days, corporate earnings add significantly to the retirement incomes. Few of us would want to retire on just government pensions, and thanks to our investments in big business, few of us have to.

We might now argue that what we

Resource Box
Robert F. Abbott is writing a book that explains how working people became the owners of big business, including how a Wall Street bailout can also be a Main Street bailout. Read excerpts from the book at

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