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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 52 of University of Connecticut economist Richard Langlois’s monumental forthcoming (2023) study, The Corporation and the Twentieth Century (emphasis original; footnote deleted):

In addition to limits on immigration, the Progressives thus supported a variety of nonmarket controls, notably minimum-wage laws and hour restrictions, not because they believed these would help the poorest members of society, but precisely because believed, as laissez-faire economists taught, that such policies would exclude the least productive from the labor market. They also believed (correctly) that these restrictions would exclude women as well, encouraging them back into their proper role in society.

DBx: Langlois here writes of the Progressives of early 20th-century America, but Progressives of early 21st-century America support many of the same policies that were supported by these earlier Progressives. The chief difference between Progressives of a century ago and Progressives of today is that Progressives of a century ago, while their values were vile, had a better understanding of economics than do Progressives of today. Progressives today, for example, actually believe that forcing employers to pay more for low-skilled labor will result in employers paying more for low-skilled labor without any negative impacts on this labor. Progressives of a century ago were not as prone to swallow such flat-earth-like nonsense.

Also worthy of note is that one of the goals of Progressives of a century ago was to keep women out of the workforce and at home. This skepticism of women working outside of the home is now found increasingly today among America’s “national conservatives” (who, intoxicated by nostalgia, mistakenly believe that the American economy of the mid-20th century was superior to the American economy of today).


Pictured here is the American Progressive Edward Alsworth Ross, a man whose ethical values – certainly by the standards of today, and even by the standards of his own day – were vile. But, hey, when you believe yourself to be working to improve humanity with Science, ethical values must not obstruct your Scientific tinkering with society. After all, it’s Science!

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