Sheldon Richman on Whether There Is a Libertarian Case for Organized Labor


Who do you imagine said this? "[Trade-unions] seem natural to the passing phase of social evolution, and may have beneficial functions under existing conditions."

If you guessed some wily labor leader or social democrat, you are wrong. British laissez-faire advocate Herbert Spencer wrote those words in his Principles of Sociology (1896). Because Spencer was the most prominent and respected individualist philosopher of his time, his statement may surprise some readers. But it shouldn't, writes Sheldon Richman. Our libertarian forebears put the plight of workers at the top of their concerns.