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Inequality as Lack of Co-operation in Economic Thought

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  • Monica Hernandez

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

Abstract

This study is about the notion of co-operation by economic thinkers of the 19th century in the United Kingdom. It presents a comparison and contrast of their ideas as well as an analysis of the relationship between co-operation and economic and social inequality. Two approaches of such relationship are identified. First, an economic-centered view, found in Charles Babbage and William Stanley Jevons, where the benefits of co-operation are linked to profit sharing, the increase of productivity and the expansion of the economic system. Second, Robert Owen’s and John Stuart Mill’s ideas on co-operation, even though with different implications, are mainly socially-oriented. Here, it is possible to see a broader social concern that led them to suggest reforms that could have implications in terms of social (e.g., education and gender), and not only economic inequality. Marx’s analysis of co-operation does not belong to any of these approaches. In his view, under capitalism, the effect of some forms of co-operation may generate or reinforce inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Monica Hernandez, 2017. "Inequality as Lack of Co-operation in Economic Thought," Working Papers 1718, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:new:wpaper:1718
    as

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    File URL: http://www.economicpolicyresearch.org/econ/2017/NSSR_WP_182017.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2017
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Barry Clark & John Elliott, 2001. "John Stuart Mill's Theory Of Justice," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 59(4), pages 467-490.
    2. Bruno Tinel, 2013. "Why and How Do Capitalists Divide Labour? From Marglin and Back again through Babbage and Marx," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(2), pages 254-272, April.
    3. Bruno Tinel, 2013. "Why and how do capitalists divide labor? From Marglin and back again through Babbage and Marx," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00763837, HAL.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Co-operation; inequality; Robert Owen; Charles Babbage; William Stanley Jevons; John Stuart Mill; Karl Marx; profit sharing; co-operatives; associations;

    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
    • B30 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - General
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J50 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - General
    • 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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