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Labor Economics From a Free Market Perspective

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03/28/2008Walter Block

Walter Block, in this large collection of his writings on the topic, avoids no controversial issue in the course of a consistent application of Austrian labor theory.

He begins with the determination of wages in a market economy and defends the idea that wages adjust to changing economic conditions according to the same economic laws as prices do. He explains why and how wages move up or down in a market. He takes on the issue of fairness in wages.

In turning to unions, he lays out the precise conditions under which unionization is consistent with libertarian theory and concludes that modern unions are not. Further, he explains unions as worker cartels that have the same difficulty surviving in a market as other cartels. The section on the minimum wage is probably the longest here, for Block finds that many economists still support it, which, to his mind, indicates a misunderstanding of basic economic logic.

Other topics discussed in depth are fringe benefits, redistributive justice, the status of tenure in a market economy, as well as business ethics and managerial economics and immigration, a topic on which Block takes the radical "free immigration" perspective.

 

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