Institutionalist Pluralism and Public Policy
Chapter 2 outlines the attempts to define the legitimate use and limits of power in industry that were made in the context of the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations (the Donovan Commission). It contrasts two different approaches to industrial relations institutionalism arising from different conceptions of the public interest, arguing that these conceptions were never properly distinguished in the debate. The chapter shows how the apparent consensus that voluntarist industrial relations based on free collective bargaining was the best policy for industrial relations was built on pragmatism rather than theory or principle. Notably, the chapter argues that the labour movement’s inability to resolve important ambiguities in its position was due to the need to accommodate internal disagreements about the nature of the capitalist economy.
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