September 1980
Journal of Labor Research;Fall80, Vol. 1 Issue 2, p314
Academic Journal
This article comments on an article about the free rider argument for compulsory union dues. There are fundamentally three issues or groups of issues involved in the free rider argument for compulsory unionism. There are, first, what might be called the basic issues of economic theory and of the existence of empirical data in support thereof. The term, free rider, is frequently used in a conclusionary if not pejorative sense more technically, it appears to be a component of the public or collective goods concept. Second, there are the legal and jurisprudential issues. Third, is the moral issue. In the great debate over free riders and the right-to-work, these issues all tend to be inexorably intertwined, which certainly does not contribute to a clarification of the issues. In sum, the deregulation argument, taken as a whole, is a philosophically appealing one, preferring as it does freedom over coercion. At the same time, its economic utility is also becoming increasingly apparent--not only with respect to labor markets but with respect to other areas of resource allocation as well. The most important aspect of the article may be, thus, that it points readers in that direction, for further study and investigation.


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