Bill Hutt on Trade Unions,
Wage Fixing & the Rule of Law
On the perpetuation of myths
Hutt’s views will be widely regarded as heretical but if they stand up to criticism then the question will be asked: How did so many people manage to be so wrong for so long?
He subjected the following myths to searching criticism based on historical research and economic analysis.
1. The industrial revolution and the factory system resulted in a period of brutal exploitation of the labouring masses.
2. The workers were frustrated and oppressed by the Combination Acts which were designed to favour the employers and to prevent the workers from forming associations.
3. Labour has an inherent disadvantage in the contest with capital unless the state intervenes to provide assistance, especially by protecting the right to engage in collective bargaining and strike activity.
4. Labour had to wage a bitter struggle to achieve improved pay and conditions.
5. Collective bargaining by the trade unions is a manifestation of the solidarity of the working class to resist exploitation and get a fair go.
6. Wage rates are “indeterminate” so it is good for unions to bargain as hard as they can to get the best possible pay and conditions.
7. Strike activity with the use of violence against non-conforming workers is morally legitimate to adjust for the imbalance of power between labour and capital.
8. Collective bargaining, with strikes or the threat of strikes, is not only morally legitimate but it was also necessary to improve the share of the common wealth between labour and capital.
THIS PAPER IS NOW PUBLISHED IN AN AMAZON E BOOK
Jacques Barzun & Others