Some Leading Principles of Political Economy Newly Expounded

By J. E. Cairnes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
TRADES-UNIONISM.--II.
§ 1. THE methods by which Trades-Unions seek to operate on the rate of wages are numerous; but they all find a place under one or other of the three following heads:
1. Directly--by calling on employers to raise the rate of wages, or, what comes to the same thing, to reduce the number of working hours, the rate of wages not being proportionally reduced--a demand which involves either increased investment of capital in the form of wages; or--unless so far as the reduction in working hours may be compensated by increased efficiency--a proportionally diminished production from the same investment.
2. Indirectly--by regulations directed toward restricting the supply of labor.
3. Indirectly--by regulations directed toward increasing the demand for labor by increasing the need for it; or, as it is otherwise expressed, by increasing the quantity of work to be done.

The first of these methods is that which has been considered in the last chapter; and the reader has seen how far we found it to be efficacious and legitimate. The two remaining methods have now to be considered.

§ 2. And first, as to that mode of action which seeks to attain its end by acting on the supply of labor. In order to form

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