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Capitalism, Unemployment and the Transition to the Contemporary Pattern of Growth

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  • Howard Petith

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Abstract

A new model of unemployment based on an idea of Marx is presented and used to interpret the development of the British economy from the beginning of capitalism to the present. It is shown that unemployment may be created purposely by capitalists in order to weaken the bargaining position of the workers. This mechanism leads to complex temporal pattern of unemployment and can explain why wages took almost a century and a half to react to the growing capital to labour ratio that characterised early British capitalism.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard Petith, 2005. "Capitalism, Unemployment and the Transition to the Contemporary Pattern of Growth," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 649.05, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:649.05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191.
    2. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    3. Jones Charles I., 2001. "Was an Industrial Revolution Inevitable? Economic Growth Over the Very Long Run," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-45, August.
    4. Richard A. Breche & Zhiqi Chen & Ehsan U. Choudhri, 2002. "Unemployment and Growth in the Long Run: An Efficiency-Wage Model with Optimal Savings," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(3), pages 875-894, August.
    5. Kogel, Tomas & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2001. "Agricultural Productivity Growth and Escape from the Malthusian Trap," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 337-357, December.
    6. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    7. Goodfriend, Marvin & McDermott, John, 1995. "Early Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 116-133, March.
    8. Gary D. Hansen & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Malthus to Solow," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1205-1217, September.
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    13. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
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    15. Galor, Oded & Mountford, Andrew, 2002. "Why are a Third of People Indian and Chinese? Trade, Industrialization and Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 3136, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Capitalism; Marx; Great Britain; unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • E11 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Marxian; Sraffian; Kaleckian
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O51 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - U.S.; Canada
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems

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