1823: Political Economy and the Workers
Labour issues regained some prominence in the debates of this year. There were moves to amend the Combination Laws and to alter the regulations governing the employment and conditions of some workers in both the shipping and silk industries. The issue of the impact of machinery on employment opportunities was also canvassed. Throughout these discussions, Ricardo and his followers insisted on treating labour as a ‘thing’ and sought to have labour relations dealt with simply as exercises in the application of the principle of free trade. In the case of the Merchant Vessels Apprenticeship Bill, Ricardo took this approach to such extremes of doctrinaire intransigence that he eventually found himself in a minority of one.
KeywordsPolitical Economy Minimum Wage Collective Bargaining Industrial Relation Economic Thought
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