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Capabilities, Spontaneous Order, And Social Rights

  • Simon Deakin
  • Frank Wilkinson
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    This paper explores the legal and normative implications of the idea that the labour market is a spontaneous order or self-organising system which rests on set of mutually-reinforcing conventions which are themselves the outcome of an evolutionary process. It is suggested that the role of self-enforcing norms and conventions cannot be separated from that of more formal mechanisms of legal regulation and intervention (judicial decisions, legislation, collective self-regulation). These formal mechanisms can operate to change the 'architecture' or parameters within which the conventions of the market evolve, and in so doing can influence the path of social and economic development. In this vein, it is suggested social rights, far from being inimical to the effective functioning of the labour market, are actually at the core of a labour market in which the resources available to society, in the form of the potential labour power of its members, are fully realised. Social rights should be understood as institutionalised forms of capabilities which provide individuals with the means to realise the potential of their resource endowments and thereby achieve a higher level of economic functioning.

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    Paper provided by ESRC Centre for Business Research in its series ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers with number wp174.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp174
    Note: PRO-2
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/

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    1. Humphries, Jane, 1977. "Class Struggle and the Persistence of the Working-Class Family," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(3), pages 241-58, September.
    2. Lessig, Lawrence, 1998. "The New Chicago School," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 661-91, June.
    3. H. Peyton Young, 1996. "The Economics of Convention," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 105-122, Spring.
    4. William Brown & Simon Deakin & Paul Ryan, 1997. "The Effects of British Industrial Relations Legislation 1979-97," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 161(1), pages 69-83, July.
    5. repec:sae:niesru:v:161:y::i:1:p:69-83 is not listed on IDEAS
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