Labor in a Growing Economy

Labor in a Growing Economy

Labor in a Growing Economy

Labor in a Growing Economy

Excerpt

This is a textbook designed for a one-semester undergraduate course in labor economics as given in an economics department or school of business administration. As such it is, in a sense, an amalgam of two books: one on unions and industrial relations and another on wages, income distribution, labor mobility, etc. Therefore, the reader will perceive a difference in emphasis in Part II, which deals with industrial relations, from that in Parts III and IV, which deals with "labor economics." Because of this, it is possible to proceed directly from Part I (which serves as a general introduction) to Parts III and IV, or to study the chapters in order. I have tried both procedures and found that each has its advantages, and correlative drawbacks.

However, the various parts of the book are not disconnected. Apart from rather numerous cross-references, they are unified by the fact that both the institutions and the economics of labor are studied as parts of a growing economy. The emphasis upon economic growth pervades not only the two introductory chapters, but also the discussion of union institutions and wage determination.

In keeping with this emphasis, I have devoted considerably more than the customary amount of space (Chapters 3 and 4) to the history of the labor movement. This has several advantages: it enables the instructor to describe various features of union organization in an historical context (i.e., as a response to certain concrete problems). By so doing, the merger of AFL-CIO can be seen as an integral, and understandable, development of American labor history. Furthermore, it makes it possible to discuss certain topics (e.g., unions in politics and Communists in unions) in relation to other material with which they are closely related, and not as separate subjects. Because of this method of treatment, it has not been necessary to include a separate chapter on the role of unions in politics.

In the course of writing this book, I have been asked by the publisher . . .

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