catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Ignorant armies

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Michael Warby has a nice piece on clashing paradigms in IR which contributes to the realistic appraisal of the changes that are in progress.

Old paradigm is
Employees can’t know what’s good for them
Workers are in an unequal bargaining position
Employer and employee’s interests are inherently opposed
Employers will always pay less than the market rate if they can.

New paradigm is:
Workers actually know what is good for them
Workers actually bargain by leaving
Workers only ever get the market rates for their labour
Employer and employees’ interests are actually interdependent.


If the sociology schools of the nation were only worth a pinch of the proverbial there will be material for some fascinating research over the next couple of years as the rival parties on IR wage their war of words. Can we transcend the situation as it was described by Matthew Arnold almost 200 years ago.

And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Actually I think one of the armies is less ignorant than the other, but I wonder about the one that actually drafted the new legislation.

It might have been better to introduce a two page bill to change the unfair dismissal provisions so there would be some runs on the board while more complex and difficult issues are addressed.

Getting back to the kind of sociological studies that are required, they could fit under the heading ‘Sociology of Religion’ because what is really coming under challenge is a whole suite of assumptions about the industrial revolution, capitalism and free markets, the role and function of unions, etc etc most of which have about as much credibility, in the cold light of research and reason, as the virgin birth and cognate mythology.

It is the religous component of the equation (along with the challenge to vested interests) that accounts for most of the passion in the protesters. This was apparent in the torrent of hate speech that greeted the first wave of reformers a couple of decades ago and I am sorry to say that we are probably in for a great deal more of the same.

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Written by Admin

November 25, 2005 at 8:27 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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