Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Fruit Salad All the Way Down: Response to Kaufman on Industrial Relations

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Abstract

Bruce Kaufman’s response to my piece “The Left Orientation of Industrial Relations” is kindly and colorful, but it riffs quite wide of my purpose. Contrary to the impression Kaufman gives, I was not trying to explain the causes of defective thinking in the field of industrial relations; I was not positing a “Truth Gap,” as he calls it, much less trying to explain its sources. I candidly expressed my view that politically left thinking is defective, and then documented its great preponderance in the field. Contrary to Kaufman, I see that social science always includes judgments about what is important and about formulations and understandings; such judgments naturally mix with ideology but they cannot be separated from science, especially the social sciences.

This article is a response to Langbert on Left-Leaning Industrial Relations: Bringing Balance to a Right-Leaning Account by Bruce E. Kaufman (EJW, May 2016).