Chapter 2 The progressive view of Old Institutionalism: business ethics, industrial democracy and reasonable capitalism
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The question of inequality has been gaining importance in economics since the publication of Piketty’s (2014) book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. However, few studies have focused on the historical analysis of inequality from the point of view of an unorthodox history of economic thought. This is particularly the case in view of the major developments that American authors such as Ely, Veblen, Commons and Dewey had been able to propose during the Progressive Era. When one looks at the work of Old Institutionalism, one realizes that it contains many theoretical intuitions, concepts and heuristics allowing better treatment of the crucial question of social and economic inequalities in modern capitalism and firms. This chapter shows how the principal authors of Old Institutionalism proposed a vision of the firm and industrial democracy allowing one to think of inequality and the conditions of human development in a more just capitalism.

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