Background of the Employment Act I: A Living Wage

  • Donald R. Stabile


The first three decades of the twentieth century saw the USA transformed into a mature economy. Manufacturing became the dominant industry of the nation and a large number of low-skilled workers were being employed in factories often run by giant corporations. This combination of low-skilled workers employed in factories that were not easy to monitor created what was known as “the labor problem.” This chapter will investigate the solutions to this “labor problem” that were formulated by the political economy of a living wage. Proponents of a living wage for workers focused on the improvement of wages as going a long way to solve the labor problem by treating workers fairly. Higher wages and steady work would make workers healthier and happier in their jobs, especially if they were to improve their lot in life by joining unions to engage the giant corporations in collective bargaining. Proponents of the political economy of a living wage hoped their program would be adopted voluntarily but were willing to seek the help of government if they failed to secure volunteers among business leaders.


Living wage Collective bargaining Social insurance Minimum wage Fiscal policy 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald R. Stabile
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsSt. Mary’s College of MarylandSt. Mary’s CityUSA

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