ERIC Number: ED096408
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1974
Reference Count: N/A
On the Economics of Worker Alienation. Working Paper No. 1974-02.
Mattila, J. Peter
The paper seeks to emphasize certain important dimensions of the economics of worker alienation which have been underemphasized, if not overlooked. Most satisfying jobs are not available without cost to someone. Workers often face a choice between job satisfaction and pecuniary rewards. With this context in mind., the author discusses several possible interpretations of "alienation" which fall within the boundaries of conventional economics. Basic economic principles help to clarify the concept of alienation and the policy questions surrounding it. It is also stressed that costs are involved in job rotation and job redesign. In many cases, workers face a trade-off between real income and job satisfaction. This trade-off has largely been ignored in much of the recent literature. In such studies as Lordstown, a radical departure from previous patterns is not represented but simply a renewal of the long-term trend toward improved working conditions. "Alienation" is interpreted as a form of disequilibrium between production constraints and worker aspirations. A final recommendation suggests that future studies concentrate not simply on worker opinions but also on the cost trade-offs. (BP)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Iowa State Univ. of Science and Technology, Ames. Industrial Relations Center.