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ALBION W. SMALL’S NEGLECTED PROGRESSIVE VIEWS: REDUCING INEQUALITIES FOR A REASONABLE CAPITALISM

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 March 2019

Virgile Chassagnon
Affiliation:
University of Grenoble Alpes (UGA), CREG Research Center; IREPE
Guillaume Vallet
Affiliation:
University of Grenoble Alpes (UGA), CREG Research Center; IREPE

Abstract

This paper sheds light on Albion Small’s views on the inequalities resulting from capital concentration. As a leading intellectual of the Progressive Era, Small sought ways to reduce social injustice, which in his view was key to avoiding class conflict and preserving democracy. He emphasized the need to devise social policies with a view to ensuring the equality of opportunities for all to realize what Small termed their “interests”—through the combination of their labor with “tool-capital.” Small entrusted the State with the central role of fighting capital inequalities through social policies, the treatment of inequalities dealing with morals. He embraced the then-fashionable idea of reasonable capitalism, as expounded by fellow progressive scholars, the likes of Richard T. Ely, John Dewey, or John R. Commons, who all sensed that such an economic system would survive only if it improves the social well-being as well as the self-development of all individuals.

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Copyright © The History of Economics Society 2019 

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ALBION W. SMALL’S NEGLECTED PROGRESSIVE VIEWS: REDUCING INEQUALITIES FOR A REASONABLE CAPITALISM
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