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Jevons’s Ideal Role for Labor Unions as a Form of Co-operation

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  • Monica Hernandez

    () (Department of Economics, New School for Social Research)

Abstract

This research examines the ideas about labor unions found in William Stanley Jevons's works. I focus on the collaborative role Jevons envisioned for these organizations as part of a broader cooperative vision between workers and capitalists. Even though Jevons was not a supporter of labor unions and regarded them as monopolies with limited power to increase wages, on the one hand, and with great potential for generating dead losses of wages due strikes, on the other, he did not consider indispensable their elimination as long as they were guided to co-operate with business. This study concludes that there is more than one form of co-operation in Jevons’s thought. One explicit, from capitalist to workers, via profit sharing, and a second one, implicit, through the collaboration of workers to capitalists via their participation in labor organizations different than traditional labor unions. A major implication of this scheme is that both forms of co-operation have to be present for it to be beneficial for both classes. The latter, however, would not ensure that they are equally beneficiated.

Suggested Citation

  • Monica Hernandez, 2017. "Jevons’s Ideal Role for Labor Unions as a Form of Co-operation," Working Papers 1717, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:new:wpaper:1717
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    File URL: http://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/econ/2017/NSSR_WP_172017.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Morgan, Mary S., 2006. "Economic Man as Model Man: Ideal Types, Idealization and Caricatures," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(01), pages 1-27, March.
    2. White, Michael V., 2004. "Sympathy for the Devil: H. D. Macleod and W.S. Jevons's Theory of Political Economy," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(03), pages 311-329, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    William Stanley Jevons; trade unions; profit sharing; co-operation;

    JEL classification:

    • B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
    • B19 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Other
    • B3 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J52 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Dispute Resolution: Strikes, Arbitration, and Mediation
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J54 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Producer Cooperatives; Labor Managed Firms

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