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Nigel Harris


(Summer 1964)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.17, Summer 1964, p.32.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Economics of Labor
E.H. Phelps Brown
Yale University Press, 10s 6d.

Professor Phelps Brown has written a clear and systematic introduction to a subject which still waits for theoretical organisation. His scope is wide and delves extensively into historical and sociological material – he makes a point of consistently stressing the social factors involved in the formation of a labour force and in pay, rather than the merely market factors. The book covers the shift from traditional to industrial labour forces, its training and pay, collective bargaining and the trends of real pay. He does not deal with differences in types of pay, nor in changes over time, nor does he advance any new theories to clarify the subject. The viewpoint is a middle of the road one which limits its attention to the conventional estimate of what the labour force is and its economic role.

The author’s lucid style and pleasing presentation, as well as the price of this book, should make it welcome to anyone just beginning the subject, provided the gaps and limits are kept in mind.

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