Nathan Field, writing a guest post at The Arabist about the Washington Post story from Tuesday on unemployment among Saudi women, makes an interesting comparison with the situation in the US before the New Deal:
A useful historical comparison here might be with US firms before the New Deal. Until the 1930s, the balance of power between employers and employees stood firmly in favor of the former (see The Jungle). Business was generally powerful enough to beat back any government attempt to increase regulation of work conditions.
Only with the crisis of the Great Depression was public opinion so strongly siding with the workers that FDR had the ability to increase the state’s control in this area with policies like a minimum wage, unemployment insurance and to ignore complaints from businessmen which were largely anti-New Deal.
Is Saudi Arabia in a similar situation today with the Arab Spring? Does this give the government enough cover to go after the interests of business, the way FDR did in the 1930s?