Employer and Worker

  • Werner Sombart


This stress on equality of rights, to which social and public life in the United States is geared, is even to be found inside capitalist businesses. Even here the employer does not confront the worker as the Lord who demands obedience, which was and is the usual case in old Europe with its feudal traditions. From the beginning a purely business standpoint became the prevailing rule in the bargaining of wage agreements. There was no question of the worker having first to engage in long conflict with the employer for the equality between them to be formally recognised. The American woman was treated with great tenderness because she was scarce; similarly, the employer took the trouble to behave towards the labour force, which was not originally available in the quantity he wanted, in a polite and accommodating manner that found strong support in the democratic atmosphere of the country. Today even English workers are still astonished at the respectful tone that employers and foremen in the United States adopt towards the worker, and they are astonished at the licence given to the American worker even in his workplace; he is ‘freed from what one may call vexatious supervision’. They are surprised that he can take a day or two off, that he can go out to smoke a cigar — indeed, that he smokes while working — and that there is even an automatic cigar-vending machine for his use in the factory.1


Wage Earner Piece Rate Prevailing Rule Preference Share English Worker 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Werner Sombart

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