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Capitalists against MarketsThe Making of Labor Markets and Welfare States in the United States and Sweden$
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Peter A. Swenson

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195142976

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195142977.001.0001

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Egalitarian Employers

Egalitarian Employers

Behind Swedish Wage Equality

(p.121) 6 Egalitarian Employers
Capitalists against Markets

Peter A. Swenson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter wraps up the analysis of solidarism's development through the 1950s with historical evidence showing how employers strongly favored continued wage compression, a fact that thoroughly undermines the mythology that employers reluctantly traded centralized negotiation of an egalitarian structure of wages across firms and industries in exchange for the labor confederation's suppression of wage militancy. Wage solidarism and restraint, consensually pursued in multiindustry collective bargaining, generated endemic labor scarcity, which in turn gave rise to a profusion of welfare capitalist benefits offered by firms to attract and retain labor. The employers’ confederation proved unsuccessful in unilaterally suppressing this resurgent segmentalism, and these difficulties help explain employer support for welfare state politics during the 1940s and 1950s.

Keywords:   collective bargaining, company benefits, employers, labor militancy, labor unions, segmentalism, solidarism, Sweden, wage compression, welfare capitalism

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