Download Bound by Our Constitution: Women, Workers, and the Minimum by Vivien Hart PDF

By Vivien Hart

What distinction does a written structure make to public coverage? How have ladies employees fared in a state certain via constitutional rules, in comparison with these now not coated by way of formal, written promises of reasonable process or equitable final result? to enquire those questions, Vivien Hart lines the evolution of minimal salary guidelines within the usa and Britain from their universal origins in women's politics round 1900 to their divergent results in our day. She argues, opposite to universal knowledge, that the virtue has been with the yankee constitutional procedure instead of the British. Basing her research on basic examine, Hart reconstructs felony recommendations and coverage judgements that revolved round the reputation of ladies as employees and the general public definition of gender roles. Contrasting seismic shifts and enlargement in American minimal salary coverage with indifference and eventual abolition in Britain, she demanding situations preconceptions concerning the constraints of yank constitutionalism as opposed to British flexibility. notwithstanding constitutional requisites did block and frustrate women's makes an attempt to realize reasonable wages, additionally they, as Hart demonstrates, created a terrain within the usa for principled debate approximately girls, paintings, and the state--and a momentum for public policy--unparalleled in Britain. Hart's publication might be of curiosity to coverage, exertions, women's, and criminal historians, to political scientists, and to scholars of gender concerns, legislation, and social coverage.

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46 The Webbs’ was a chilly argument about National Efficiency. ”47 Where a public or national interest in wages existed, so did a reason to regulate. In 1908, the Commons Select Committee on Home Work gave official blessing to the principle of wage legislation: It is quite as legitimate to establish by legislation a minimum standard of remuneration as it is to establish such a standard of sanitation, cleanliness, ventilation, air space, and hours of work. . It is doubtful whether there is any more important condition of individual and general well-being than the possibility of obtaining an income sufficient to enable those who earn it to secure, at any rate, the necessaries of life.

In which any Government has proposed machinery, first for deciding, and secondly for enforcing, a legal rate of wages. ”40 The prospect that the minimum wage opened the door for state intervention in all wage bargaining, though denied by the government, pleased supporters of the arbitration of wage disputes and advocates of Beatrice and Sidney Webb’s plan for a National Minimum (a guaranteed comprehensive set of standards). ”41 But the policy alarmed their normal allies, the trade unions, and their predictable opponents, the adherents of an unrestrained free market.

Individual orders and whole boards could be rescinded or abolished if their circumstances changed. ”3 Indeed the fight for a statutory wage opened up fundamental issues with wide ramifications. The responsibility of the state for the regulation of the economy, the right of public intervention in private business, the blurring of gender roles and family values as women left their homes to work in industry and as industry farmed out manufacturing tasks to family members in their homes, the causes of poverty, the domestic economy of poor families, and the reciprocal rights and responsibilities of state and citizens—all these factors impinged on this policy debate.

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