Economic Laws and Economic History (Raffaele Mattioli by Charles P. Kindleberger

By Charles P. Kindleberger

This ebook is basically an workout in method, addressed to economists and financial historians alike. Too many economists find a courting or a uniformity in fiscal habit, improve a version, and use it to provide an explanation for greater than it really is able to, together with now and again all financial habit. In monetary legislation and monetary background Charles Kindleberger makes a robust case opposed to the concept that anybody version or legislation may be used to release the elemental secrets and techniques of monetary background.

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In Switzerland, as I understand it, and as the Italian motion picture "Bread and Chocolate" so eloquently states, the immigrants belong to a non-competing group, assigned the dirty, menial, underpaid, and unattractive jobs of the economy. The proportion of these jobs in the economy will doubtless vary with the wage structure, culture, comparative advantage, level of income and a number of other variables. In a tourist country like Switzerland, waiters, bellboys and chambermaids comprise a significant proportion of the labour force with jobs that can be filled only with foreign workers.

But the economists' a priori judgment that growth can be achieved either by capital widening or by capital deepening, or some intermediate combination of the two, seems to be belied by experience. Running out of labour interrupts the growth process, and causes the positive feedback process of virtuous circles to give place to setbacks as profits fall while wages rise. In a Schumpeterian world where falling profits stimulate innovation and investment, it might be easy to recover from running out of labour by a smooth transition to substituting capital for labour.

This migration reduced underemployment and unemployment in Greek cities, raised the marginal return on labour to the wage rate, encouraged new investment in Greece, and stimulated growth. In due course, the outflow of labour slowed down, a return flow was set in motion, and today it is said that Greece has shifted sides in the process and is importing labour on balance from poorer countries to undertake the dirty jobs in the country. The iron law of wages, and its extension to the Lewis model of growth with unlimited supplies of labour, presupposes a single competitive market for labour.

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