But though in disputes with their workmen, masters must generally have the advantage, there is however a certain rate below which it seems impossible to reduce, for any considerable time, the ordinary wages even of the lowest species of labour.
A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at least be sufficient to maintain him. They must even upon most occasion be somewhat more; otherwise it would be impossible for him to bring up a family, and the race of such workmen could not last beyond the first generation....
We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters; though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject.
Masters are always and every where in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate.
To violate this combination is every where a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things which nobody ever hears of. Masters too sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy, till the moment of execution, and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do, without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people.
Adam Smith - The Wealth of Nations
02 março, 2007
O Pai Adão
Porque é que os defensores da "Mão Invisível" dos mercados não parecem ter lido tudo o que escreveu Adam Smith?