There’s some controversy over working conditions at an Ikea plant in Virginia. Apparently wages start at $8/hr, with 12 days of paid vacation (8 of which are determined by the company). Oh, and also you’ll often be informed Friday evening that you have no choice but to work over the weekend too. And don’t even think about unionizing. Sweet! It’s just like we keep saying about all those workers in China that make our cheap plastic crap. “At least they’ve got jobs.” I sense that we’re going to have to re-learn all of the lessons about balancing the rights of labor and capital that we already learned so bloodily about 100 years ago. Only now, maybe we get to learn it in the context of becoming an exploited low-wage nation in a global economy. Ikea workers doing the same jobs in Sweden make $19/hr and get 5 weeks of paid vacation a year. And they’re all unionized.