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Class Conflict and Bargaining under Monopoly Capitalism : The Impact of Mass Unemployment and some Evidence from the UK

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  • Dowrick, Steve
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Baran and Sweezy (1968, p85) argue that "the working class as a whole is (not) in a position to encroach on surplus ... under monopoly capitalism employers can and do pass on higher labour costs in the form of higher prices". In Section 2 I examine this claim that employers' power in product markets can transcend conflict over the process and pay of labour, discussing the implications for conflict between groups of workers as well as conflict between workers and employees. Despite ample evidence of employers' monopoly pricing power, there is also evidence that profit margins do change in response to workers' strength - an observation which, I argue, is not adequately explained by theories based on the threat of foreign competition or by theories of oligopolistic uncertainty. Section 4 explores the hypothesis that employers and workers bargain over jobs as well as wages, a hypothesis which could explain workers' potential to erode profit margins.

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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 261.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 1985
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:261
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