Untangling the Lump

By Al Schumann on Friday February 10, 2012 08:09 AM


If you've been frustrated by references to the Lump of Labor canard and the Lump of Labor fallacy, Sandwichman has posted a brief history.

Of further interest,

[T]he Sandwichman just finished a first draft of "The 'Lump of Labor' Hoax: Evidence, Inference and the Blur of Bamboozlement," which probes far beyond the platitudes of The Economist into the plagiarism, forgery, incomprehension and evasion that has characterized the fallacy claim since its inception.


Comments (18)


once more into the lump !

what often goes astray
under all this gullyflummary
is nothing less then the sandy ones point of departure and final return

a society wide limitation on per participant
"job hours"

at the daily weekly monthly yearly and job life scales
this has all been well understood
and agitated over
since oliver twist stoll that yorkshire pie

a angelic hosts' worth of
fractilic job attendence reduction plans
exist... have existed ..and will yet continue to multiply
with zesty fibin-archy lie fecundity

but the point is to implement one or fucking two
of them

we need little s state level action
to limit job hours

get cracking you brave few
not of the st quietus "folded hands " order of social piety


"he which hath no rough spirit enough
to this fight,
Let him depart; "

his passport shall be made,
And clowns for convoy put into his caboose "

We would not roust in that man's company
That loathes to organize with us.

This day is call'd the feast of Crispy kreme

"He that outlives this day,
and comes safe back to the man den
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd, "

" And rouse him at the name of Crispy kreme "

" He that shall struggle forth this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is crispy creme day "

" Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These inks i first wore
on that first day."

" Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did in his own way
Then shall their names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
curlie moe slip sach and larry

Be in their flowing mugs freshly rememb'red. "

" This story shall the good man teach his son;
And any Crispy creme hot light moment shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But they in it shall be remembered- "

" that few, that happy few, that band of brothers; "

" For he to-day that sheds his remote with them
Shall be their brother;
be he ne'er so glassical
This day shall he prole up his condition; "

" And couch tomatos in new England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not there,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought agin corporate capital
upon that day."


the unions draft of a class caper exposed :

"Their earnings are greatly encroached upon by the contributions they are compelled to make for the support of those who are unemployed,"

" and they imagine that if the hours of work are to be limited to ten, new mills must be built to supply the diminished quantity of yarn,"

" and that the unemployed hands which they now have to support will then be employed in these new-erected mills."



"This expectation is obviously fallacious,as the cost of yarn and cloth produced would be so much increased by the same expence of fixed capital falling on a smaller quantity that the demand cannot be expected to continue"

the rigid price fallacy call it

" especially as we have to meet the competition of foreigners who are working longer hours, and at much lower charges."

like that last bit ??
the fixed exchange rate fallacy

throw in some part whoe fallacies

and some lump of hourly output fallacies

and maybe a zero marginal output fallacy or two
and and

ole colonel lump
has a host of crafty truismicals
to troop along behind him

Al Schumann:

Colonel Lump is an Austrian, armed with axioms and scholasticism.


the lumpen laborites

have a clutch of cousins
named the precariats

now the tie in

the reserve army of the leisured poor

that has a necessary if more or less cyclical lump size too

here's the point

the lump of reservists is just that
a systemicall necessary
side lump
that makes the lump of labor thesis
in a system of free labor
wage based production


another set of considerations

path dependent preference

and group effects determinations in preference

irrational foresight in preference

constrained choice corner solutions in preference

in what choice space ?

the choice between more or less job time
versus more or less sleep time eat time
rearing and raising youngins time
and household chore time

and oh ya ....free time ! god's gift

Al Schumann:

You're adding convolution! But yes, the Lump is real in that sense, and an essential component of harvestable wage-based production. No lump, no capitalism.


the battle of the fallacies
or the two lumps

the job market isn't big enough for both of em

oh that's a third lump

the lump of jobs

lump of labor lump of hourly output lump of jobs

there is no lump of lumps
that is a contradiction

there aren't even levels of lumps

all lumps are created equally lumpy and mutuually repulsive


i doubt it


sturmnivik Al
has a very keen word use


its such a nice sublation of
that brute of a word exploitation

i see only an outcome
and its gathering in
by woody allen serfs
under the direction of
why flowingly bearded sandy himself
as prince propotnik


the great amaerican ranch house

grower of lawns and ...job hours


oh yes

and ranch dressing and ranch banking

where is jimmy joyce these days

i need him to sock me in the earish

Thanks, Al, for the plug and paine for the many lumps of elaboration.

The job of the economist is to talk down the high price of help. Period. And, seeing things from the employer's perspective, help is always too highly priced.

The good news about the lump-of-labor follies is it shows that the economists can't think of any GOOD reasons for lowering wages. Since it is their job to present reasons for lowering wages, any old bad reason will do.

The bad news is that after having belled the cat, a lot of folks keep running around with their fingers stuck deep in their ears yelling at me that they can't hear any bell and, "for crissake, Sandwichman, you've got to make the bell 'clearer' and self explanatory." They don't want a bell, they want a ringtone that announces, "this here cat is going to eat you mice if you don't put it out of its misery (or at least supply it with some alternative repast)."

I would also like to say a word about the difference between "schools" of economists. Salt water vs. fresh water, Chicago School free marketeers vs. Keynesian welfare statists.



speed indeed

sandy sort

the comparative dynamics is all that separates
the two gigs

they dance the same steps

travel the floor in the same circled square

etc etc

they just have different prefered tempos


now i happen to know the tempo gig is worth taking sides on obviously

but to get out of the circular square dance

we need to bust thru the taboo line
the NAIRU line

punch a hole thru it into hyper employment zones like 2% unemployment
and the entire set up will start
to shake rattle and fold

its that plus ..

a 24 hour
job week
44 week
job years
or the equivalent
job career time

"24-30-44 or fuck it!"

I like it!

Al Schumann:
"24-30-44 or fuck it!"

I like it too.

Just for laughs (see especially 40 and 41!):

Matthew 24:30-44

New International Version (NIV)

30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[a] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.


Mashed prole-taters: best served without lumps.


prince K

"Working time
“How many hours a day will man have to work to produce nourishing food, a comfortable home, and necessary clothing for his family? The question has often preoccupied Socialists, and they generally came to the conclusion that four or five hours a day would suffice, on condition, be it well understood, that all men work. At the end of last century, Benjamin Franklin fixed the limit at five hours; and if the need of comfort is greater now, the power of production has augmented too, and far more rapidly.”

“It is evident that these calculations are only approximative, but they can also be proved in another way. When we take into account how many, in the so-called civilized nations, produce nothing, how many work at harmful trade, doomed to disappear, and lastly, how many are only useless middlemen, we see that in each nation the number of real producers could be doubled. And if, instead of every ten men, twenty were occupied in producing useful commodities, and if society took the trouble to economize human energy, those twenty people would only have to work five hours a day without production decreasing.”

“In fact, work could be reduced to four or even three hour a day, to produce all the goods that are produced now.”

(The Conquest of Bread)

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