Work and Welfare: The Social Costs of Labor in the History of Economic Thought

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996 - Business & Economics - 224 pages
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This interesting work presents a unique perspective on the history of economic thought by showing that classical economists from Adam Smith to Alfred Marshall had sympathy for workers - for example, the theory of the subsistence wage echoed the theological call for a just wage that existed in the middle ages. It also describes how these thinkers promoted either a set of social obligations or a form of social insurance to assist workers. These economic thinkers of the past argued that a subsistence standard of living was important to maintain and improve workers' efficiency and to raise healthy families. The notion that these writers had an undeveloped theory of social costs that they applied to labor should appeal to economists and others concerned with the plight of workers as the modern economy restructures itself.


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Adam Smith The Friend of Labor
Malthus Ricardo and Bentham The Fund for Maintaining Labor
John Stuart Mill and Labors Responsibility
Karl Marx The Alienation and Exploitation of Labor
Marginalism Moral Character and Work
Institutional Economics and the Community Approach to Labor
Orthodox Economics and the Scientific Treatment of Labor
The Endangered Worker

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Page 14 - How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.
Page 21 - A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at least be sufficient to maintain him. They must even upon most occasions be somewhat more; otherwise it would be impossible for him to bring up a family, and the race of such workmen could not last beyond the first generation.
Page 15 - And hence it is, that to feel much for others, and little for ourselves, that to restrain our selfish, and to indulge our benevolent, affections, constitutes the perfection of human nature; and can alone produce among mankind that harmony of sentiments and passions in which consists their whole grace and propriety.

About the author (1996)

DONALD R. STABILE is Professor of Economics and Chair of the Economics Department at St. Mary's College of Maryland. He is associate editor of Business Library Review and has conducted seminars on Thorstein Veblen and Alexander Hamilton for the program of summer seminars for school teachers of the National Endowment for Humanities. He is coauthor (with Jeffrey Cantor) of The Public Debt of the United States (Praeger, 1991), and author of Activist Unionism (1993) and Prophets of Orde(1984).

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