Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

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


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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).