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Edited by Jonathan Michie
Chapter 17: The Low Road to Competitive Failure: Immigrant Labour and Emigrant Jobs in the US
17 The low road to competitive failure: immigrant labour and emigrant jobs in the US Charles Craypo and Frank Wilkinson Introduction The dominant system of ideas structuring the US productive system has been described as corporate liberalism. Corporate liberalism is a reworking of the core beliefs of liberal economics to accommodate large corporations, and is given effect by legislation and judicial ruling (Berk, 1994). Liberal economics is rooted in a utopian vision of self-regulating markets that transform the inherent selshness of individuals into general good. The market is seen as providing the opportunity and incentives for individuals to exploit to the full their property (labour in the case of workers) but prevents them from exploiting any advantage they might have by throwing them into competition with others. For liberal economists, market forces deliver distributional justice and optimal economic welfare and this gives them supremacy over man-made laws and institutions. Unless these conform to the laws of the market they risk being in restraint of trade and economically damaging. The charge of restraint of trade is particularly targeted at worker organisation and protective labour laws because they are interpreted as hindering market forces. By contrast, market dominance by large rms is tolerated on the grounds that, as the products of successful competition from efcient and innovating entrepreneurs, they are the consequences of the effective working of market forces. In a similar way, the stock exchange has come to be theorised as efcient markets for corporate control, the means by which shareholders...
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