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25

Unions, Strikes, and the Haymarket Affair

Lecture no. 25 from the course: An Economic History of the World since 1400

Unions, Strikes, and the Haymarket Affair

Taught by Professor Donald J. Harreld | 29 min | Categories: The Great Courses Plus Online Economics & Finance Courses

The Haymarket Affair in Chicago perfectly illustrates the social tensions industrialization generated—and which have yet to be solved. First, learn what we mean by “class” and “class consciousness.” Then, explore the unique goals of trade unions. Lastly, examine the growing politicization of labor, including the use of labor strikes and the philosophies of Marx and Engels.

48 Lectures

1
Image of Self-Interest, Human Survival, and History
Self-Interest, Human Survival, and History
0 of 31 min
2
Image of Marco Polo, China, and Silk Road Trade
Marco Polo, China, and Silk Road Trade
0 of 29 min
3
Image of Manorial Society in Medieval Europe
Manorial Society in Medieval Europe
0 of 30 min
4
Image of How Black Death Reshaped Town and Field
How Black Death Reshaped Town and Field
0 of 30 min
5
Image of Late-14th-Century Guilds and Monopolies
Late-14th-Century Guilds and Monopolies
0 of 29 min
6
Image of European Discovery Routes: East and West
European Discovery Routes: East and West
0 of 30 min
7
Image of 1571: Spain, Portugal Encircle the Globe
1571: Spain, Portugal Encircle the Globe
0 of 29 min
8
Image of Old World Bourses and Market Information
Old World Bourses and Market Information
0 of 30 min
9
Image of The Europeans’ Plantation Labor Problem
The Europeans’ Plantation Labor Problem
0 of 31 min
10
Image of Adam Smith, Mercantilism, State Building
Adam Smith, Mercantilism, State Building
0 of 29 min
11
Image of British and Dutch Joint-Stock Companies
British and Dutch Joint-Stock Companies
0 of 29 min
12
Image of Europe, the Printing Press, and Science
Europe, the Printing Press, and Science
0 of 30 min
13
Image of The Industrious Revolution: Demand Grows
The Industrious Revolution: Demand Grows
0 of 30 min
14
Image of Why Didn’t China Industrialize Earlier?
Why Didn’t China Industrialize Earlier?
0 of 31 min
15
Image of 18th-Century Agriculture and Production
18th-Century Agriculture and Production
0 of 31 min
16
Image of Industrial Revolution: The Textile Trade
Industrial Revolution: The Textile Trade
0 of 29 min
17
Image of British Coal, Coke, and a New Age of Iron
British Coal, Coke, and a New Age of Iron
0 of 29 min
18
Image of Power: From Peat Bogs to Steam Engines
Power: From Peat Bogs to Steam Engines
0 of 28 min
19
Image of A Second Industrial Revolution after 1850
A Second Industrial Revolution after 1850
0 of 32 min
20
Image of Family Labor Evolves into Factory Work
Family Labor Evolves into Factory Work
0 of 30 min
21
Image of Cornelius Vanderbilt and the Modern Firm
Cornelius Vanderbilt and the Modern Firm
0 of 31 min
22
Image of 19th-Century Farm Technology, Land Reform
19th-Century Farm Technology, Land Reform
0 of 31 min
23
Image of Speeding Up: Canals, Steamships, Railroads
Speeding Up: Canals, Steamships, Railroads
0 of 30 min
24
Image of European Urbanization and Emigration
European Urbanization and Emigration
0 of 30 min
25
Image of Unions, Strikes, and the Haymarket Affair
Unions, Strikes, and the Haymarket Affair
0 of 29 min
26
Image of Banks, Central Banks, and Modern States
Banks, Central Banks, and Modern States
0 of 31 min
27
Image of Understanding Uneven Economic Development
Understanding Uneven Economic Development
0 of 31 min
28
Image of Adam Smith’s Argument for Free Trade
Adam Smith’s Argument for Free Trade
0 of 31 min
29
Image of Middle-Class Catalogs and Mass Consumption
Middle-Class Catalogs and Mass Consumption
0 of 30 min
30
Image of Imperialism: Land Grabs and Morality Plays
Imperialism: Land Grabs and Morality Plays
0 of 31 min
31
Image of World War I: Industrial Powers Collide
World War I: Industrial Powers Collide
0 of 30 min
32
Image of Russia’s Marxist-Leninist Experiment
Russia’s Marxist-Leninist Experiment
0 of 30 min
33
Image of The Trouble with the Gold Standard
The Trouble with the Gold Standard
0 of 32 min
34
Image of Tariffs, Cartels, and John Maynard Keynes
Tariffs, Cartels, and John Maynard Keynes
0 of 30 min
35
Image of Japanese Expansionism: Manchurian Incident
Japanese Expansionism: Manchurian Incident
0 of 29 min
36
Image of U.S. Aid and a Postwar Economic Miracle
U.S. Aid and a Postwar Economic Miracle
0 of 29 min
37
Image of Colonialism and the Independence Movement
Colonialism and the Independence Movement
0 of 29 min
38
Image of Japan, the Transistor, and Asia’s Tigers
Japan, the Transistor, and Asia’s Tigers
0 of 31 min
39
Image of The Welfare State: From Bismarck to Obama
The Welfare State: From Bismarck to Obama
0 of 31 min
40
Image of The End of American Exceptionalism?
The End of American Exceptionalism?
0 of 32 min
41
Image of Middle East: From Pawn to Power Broker
Middle East: From Pawn to Power Broker
0 of 29 min
42
Image of Germany, the European Union, and the Euro
Germany, the European Union, and the Euro
0 of 29 min
43
Image of Free Trade: Global versus Regional Blocs
Free Trade: Global versus Regional Blocs
0 of 30 min
44
Image of Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and the Soviet Decline
Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and the Soviet Decline
0 of 30 min
45
Image of Half the World Left behind in Poverty
Half the World Left behind in Poverty
0 of 31 min
46
Image of China, India: Two Paths to Wealth Extremes
China, India: Two Paths to Wealth Extremes
0 of 32 min
47
Image of The Information Economy: Telegraph to Tech
The Information Economy: Telegraph to Tech
0 of 29 min
48
Image of Leverage with Globalization in Its Grip
Leverage with Globalization in Its Grip
0 of 34 min

Reviews

j********m
February 26, 2019

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h********m
July 20, 2018

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p********m
September 28, 2017
We should first ask: "What is work?" Physics gives a precise answer, but 'socialists' don't even agree amongst themselves what they are talking about before they complain about it. This lecture focuses mostly on low-skilled factory workers as a new social class emerging from the industrial revolution. Employer/employee is a more clear and helpful role definition than 'worker' and 'industrialist'. The professor distinguishes 'guilds' as skilled professions controlling who can be an employer, versus 'trade unions' as unskilled labourers who are employed by others. The goal of guilds was to continuously improve products & processes through systematic education & innovation. Whereas unions resisted technological change due to the threat of human redundancy or retraining requirements. Guilds fought for political exclusion of incompetence (low quality) to ensure higher quality and higher market prices for their products. Unions fought for political inclusion regardless of quality (or even protecting incompetent workers who put others at risk), and for increased wages and improved working conditions without regard for (and usually in total ignorance of) the market value of their products. Marxists fail to recognise that revolution causes HARDER work, LONGER hours away from home and personal recreation (due to union meetings and 'activism' time demands), WORSE living/working conditions (including inciting and practicing war!), and undermines or outright sabotages the market value of the company which employs them. Employees need to understand that 'wages' are merely 'dividends' paid from company profits. In an infamous Australian example, the employer offered to sell the company to the union for $1 because ignorant union strikes had already destroyed the company. A worse example is when teacher unions mutiny against school administrators - at the expense of their students. Wise companies will proactively grant shares to employees to ensure direct accountability for any actions taken to 'improve' the company, and all companies should provide an active, systemic, internal feedback process for employees to suggest improvements without threat of retaliation. Employers need to recognise the true cost of labour by always remembering to: "Do to others as you would have done to yourself." Poor working conditions is always the most legitimate complaint from employees (going right back to human trafficking 'slavery' era), yet this has historically been the least frequent motive @ 5% (?!) according to this professor. A modern complication to employment hours is travel time. The majority of urban employees travel >1 hour to AND from employment (total > 2hr/day) which deprives them of additional personal time, and the travel costs are usually paid from their personal wages. If employers were required to pay for all employee travel costs, then employers would also be more motivated to recruit local employees. Customers need to realise that they are employers. Many social and environmental problems are driven by consumer demand. Bad consumers are bad employers because they ask companies (and therefore employees) to work harder, longer and for less. A classic example is how customer-demand in supermarkets motivates trucking companies to drive excessively long hours without adequate rest. By contrast, there were sometimes black slaves in USA who genuinely appreciated their 'masters' because their 'slave' life was of better quality than the life they had in Africa! Some slave masters even paid for their slave's education; which is more than most companies or countries do today! e.g. Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa & Swiss Air are currently (2017) the only three world airlines which actually pay for their pilot's training.

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