“I want the reader to consider whether the survival of the democratic system may not be dependent upon a general recognition of the illegitimacy of privately motivated coercion in all forms.”
From Hutt’s book The Strike Threat System, the mythology of Labor’s “bitter struggle”.
•“The strike-threat system is an intolerable abuse of economic freedom. The strike is a type of warfare under which privileged groups can gain at the expense of the unprivileged.”
•“I shall argue that while taxation can have limited effects in bringing about property and income transfers from rich to poor, the strike threat cannot. Forcing up the price of labor in different firms, occupations or industries does not effect an income redistribution from investors in general to workers in general.”
•“I must make it clear that I do not dismiss the more positive side of union functions. The union framework has become an indispensable part of the institutional apparatus of this age. But the private use of coercive power in determining the price of labor is not a necessary concomitant of unionism, although it is its overriding purpose at present.”
•“The strike-threat system must accept main responsibility for the political expediency of inflation in modern societies.”
In this chapter I shall challenge some of the hardier myths that shroud the history of the strike threat. The gradual increase in average real earnings that has been almost continuously enjoyed by the laboring, artisan, and white-collar classes over the last two centuries has never been the result of growing merit on their part. Nor can improvement in the average material condition of the people be attributed to any special changes in governmental power and policy over time (although governments naturally like to claim the credit)…
The improving real income of the wage-earning and salaried classes has been the consequence of (a) what I shall be calling the “economizing displacement” process, namely, managerial, technological and scientific ingenuities which have progressively displaced labor and assets from their existing employments, thereby releasing effort and resources for providing additional—usually different—outputs, and (b) thrift – the net accumulation of output-yielding assets — resources which magnify the real yield to human effort.