Human physical and mental skills available to produce goods and services
  • Unemployment - The state of not being engaged in a gainful occupation
  • Wages - The price of labor, renumeration paid to employees for their work or services


Labour (economics) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"In classical economics and all micro-economics labor is a measure of the work done by human beings and is one of three factors of production, the others being land and capital. There are macro-economic system theories which have created a concept called human capital (referring to the skills that workers possess, not necessarily their actual work), although there are also counterposing macro-economic system theories that think human capital is a contradiction in terms. ..."


The Great Lie of Modern Unions, by Wendy McElroy, 31 Oct 2013
Details the history of labor organizing, from the Knights of Labor in 1869 to the 1935 Wagner Act
"Big business applauded the Wagner Act because it eliminated the need to negotiate contracts with multiple groups or individuals. The monopoly union also acted as an enforcement arm, which ensured that its members complied with contracts. The union prevented the wildcat strikes which were a significant problem; it punished unsanctioned boycotts, work slowdowns and the other labor tactics that had proven so effective in the past."
Work!, by Sheldon Richman, 7 Mar 2014
Contrasts the "gospel of work" and "joy of labor" espoused by moralists and state socialists with the views of economists such as Adam Smith, Bastiat, John Stuart Mill, Mises and Rothbard
"The message was that work is not just an honest and proper way to obtain the necessities of life without mooching off others. ... the moralists were joined in their labor evangelism by employers, who needed uncomplaining workers willing to spend long hours in unpleasant factories. ... We get a different picture of labor from the economists. ... It follows that the penchant for economizing effort — the preference for leisure — is a beneficent feature of human nature."
Anarchism, by Voltairine de Cleyre, Free Society, 13 Oct 1901
Examines various economic propositions for anarchism (socialist, communist, individualist and mutualist) and opines that all could be tried out
"... in the old days ... the workshop was a fairly easy-going place where employer and employed worked together, knew no class feelings, chummed it out of hours, as a rule were not obliged to rush, and when they were, relied upon the principle of common interest and friendship (not upon a slave-owner’s power) for over-time assistance. The proportional profit on each man's labor may even have been in general higher, but the total amount possible to be undertaken by one employer was relatively so small that no tremendous aggregations of wealth could arise."
Benjamin Tucker, Individualism, & Liberty: Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order, by Wendy McElroy, Literature of Liberty, 1981
Bibliographical essay covering the people and radical movements that influenced Tucker in his founding and publishing of Liberty, its major themes and contributors
"The [New England Labor Reform] League was a broad reform alliance formed in 1869 by a group including [Josiah] Warren, [Stephen Pearl] Andrews, [Ezra] Heywood, and Wendell Phillips. It presented an anti-statist, anti-monopoly, anti-corporation philosophy, with a strong emphasis on the labor theory of value. The League's favored strategy was boycott, the strategy of last resort at Warren's Modern Times. The League also took a keen interest in monetary theory, viewing the monopoly of money as a primary means by which the privileged rich profited from the laborer."
Government, by James Mill, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1820
Discusses the purpose of government, the means for attaining that end and various related questions and objections; rationalises that representative democracy, as exhibited in early 19th century Britain, is most conducive to "good Government"
"The other mode of obtaining labour is by allurement, or the advantage which it brings. To obtain all the objects of desire in the greatest possible quantity, we must obtain labour in the greatest possible quantity; and, to obtain labour in the greatest possible quantity, we must raise to the greatest possible height the advantage attached to labour."
How Much Do You Know About Liberty? (a quiz), The Freeman, Jun 1996
A 20-question quiz (with answers) on various topics related to liberty in the history of the United States
"Name three New Deal policies that destroyed American jobs. ... The New Deal destroyed jobs by increasing taxes for a variety of spending schemes. ... National Industrial Recovery Act (1933), which established cartels to restrict production and hence employment; the Wagner Act (1935) which enabled unions to expand their power and get higher wages, thereby reducing the number of jobs employers could afford ..."
On Equality and Inequality, by Ludwig von Mises, Modern Age, 1961
Examines the premise that "all men are created equal" and some possible as well as purported conclusions
"What has multiplied the 'productivity of labor' is not some degree of effort on the part of manual workers, but the accumulation of capital ... Man could not survive as a human being without manual labor. However, what elevates him above the beasts is not manual labor and the performance of routine jobs, but speculation, foresight that provides for the needs of the &mdash always uncertain &mdash future."
Our Secret Desires, by Claude Frédéric Bastiat, 1848
Originally "Abondance, Disette" (Abundance, Scarcity), an essay in Economic Sophisms, translated in 1964 by Arthur Goddard
"He [a solitary man] would easily understand that labor is not an end in itself, but a means, and that it would be absurd to reject the end for fear of doing injury to the means. He would understand, too, that if he devotes two hours of the day to providing for his needs, any circumstance (machinery, the fertility of the soil, a gratuitous gift, no matter what) that saves him an hour of his labor, so long as the product is as great, puts that hour at his disposal and that he can devote it to improving his well-being. He would understand, in short, that a saving in labor is nothing else than progress."
Related Topics: Free Trade, Money, Prices
Roots Of Economic Understanding, by Floyd A. 'Baldy' Harper, The Freeman, Nov 1955
Explains the rudiments of economics by specifying required attributes (desirability, scarcity, exchangeability) then delving into how people, from the earliest age, become cognizant of economic concepts, but ending with criticism of econmic ignorance
"... the person who owns himself as a free man may offer to serve another; he may offer his time and effort in exchange for a wage. Or, instead of offering his services for hire, a person may work for himself and offer for sale whatever he has produced. So in making yourself available for trade in the form of little pieces of your time, your effort and your life, the third and final requirement ... has been fulfilled. You are not only desired and scarce, but you are capable of being traded as well."
Thank You ... for a Free Market, by Jacob G. Hornberger, 30 Jun 2006
Explains why so often both parties to a commercial transaction express gratitude toward the other
"When an employer and an employee enter into an employment agreement, there is no winner and loser, but instead two winners. The employer is giving up something he values less (the money he's paying the employee) for something he values more (the employee's labor). By the same token, the employee is giving up something he values less (his time and energy) for something he values more (the money)."
Related Topic: Free Market
The Chavez Tragedy, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Mar 2001
Comments on the disclosure that Linda Chavez, nominee for U.S. Secretary of Labor, had harbored an illegal immigrant
"The New York Times editorialized that Chavez's conduct 'cast doubt on [her] ability to oversee the core function of the Labor Department, which is to define what work is and how it should be compensated.' Does the Times realize what it is saying? Every socialist, communist, and fascist regime has tried to do just that. The results for working people were something less than satisfactory."
Related Topic: Freedom of Association
The French Employment Fiasco, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Mises Daily, 11 Apr 2006
"These kinds of practices — brought about by regulation — have acculturated French workers into misunderstanding the nature of the labor contract. In a free market it is a mutually beneficial exchange like any other that takes place between a buyer and a seller. Both come to the bargaining table with equal power and they only make the exchange if both sides expect to benefit."
Related Topics: Unemployment, France
The Life, Death, and Resurrection of an Economy, by Michael C. Monson, The Freeman, May 1993
Lengthy economic history of Argentina, from the time of the conquistadors to the early 1990's, highlighting the outstanding growth in the 19th and early 20th century and the economic nationalism and government interventions in the 20th century
"Precursors of this decline began to appear during the Irigoyen administration which took office in 1916. ... Legislation was passed controlling hours of work, setting minimum wages, and otherwise 'protecting' workers. Now that the government was taking care of them, a law was also passed penalizing strikes. ... As Secretary of Labor, he began in 1944 to pour forth a torrent of enactments mandating improvements in workers' pay, vacations, pensions, and housing. ... In 1946 this man, Juan Perón, became President."
Wages, by Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, 1949
Chapter 21 "Work and Wages", section 3; discusses labor, wages, how are wages determined and erroneus attacks on that explanation
"Man deals with other people's labor in the same way that he deals with all scarce material factors of production. ... Labor is very different in quality, and each kind of labor renders specific services. each is appraised as a complementary factor for turning out definite consumers' goods and services. ... But indirectly each sector of the labor market is connected with all other sectors."
Related Topics: Wages, Entrepreneurship
Wants, Efforts, Satisfactions, by Claude Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Harmonies, 1850
Examines the concepts of sensation, pain, wants, satisfactions and connects them by the concepts of activity or human effort to postulate that the exchange of services in a social framework are what constitute the science of economics
"... it is not in wants or in satisfactions ... but in the nature of the middle term, human effort, that we must seek the social principle, the origin of political economy. It is, in fact, precisely this faculty of working for one another, which is given to mankind and only to mankind, this transfer of efforts, this exchange of services, with all the infinitely complicated combinations of which it is susceptible in time and space, that constitutes the science of economics, demonstrates its origins, and determines its limits. "
Related Topics: Economics, Children, Metaphysics


Forbidden Grounds: The Case Against Employment Discrimination Laws
    by Richard A. Epstein, 1992
Free Choice for Workers: A History of the Right to Work Movement
    by George C. Leef, Sep 2005