Wage determination 19th cent USA

Margaret Coleman 75014.2024 at compuserve.com
Tue Oct 4 08:23:40 MDT 1994

I am currently working on my dissertation at the New School in Economics and
have come across a question for which I find almost no marxist material (and
almost no neo-classical material either).  The conundrum is this: between about
1800 and 1850 in the USA there was clearly a labor shortage, yet, wages for a
large section of the working class, and for all women wage workers, were not
enough to support a household.  The result was that large segments of the
working class relied on public and private charity while many women turned to
part time prostitution.
     The question is, why, with a labor shortage, did wages remain so low?  I
have already surmised that part of the reason is so much of the labor force was
indentured, either from over seas or here for debt, but feel the answer is
probably more complex.  Any and all feed back is welcome.
Maggie Coleman 75014.2024 at compuserve.com
snailmail: 536 Isham St., 55B, NYC  10034


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