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I guessed and checked with google. Adam Smith, of course. (Paragraph 12.) He explains the assymetry very clearly.

We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters; though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and every where in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is every where a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things which nobody ever hears of. Masters too sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy, till the moment of execution, and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do, without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people.

So the assymetry is supposed to be normal?

Perhaps the human civilisation is not grown up yet. Ancient wisdoms say: don't cause pain to the others; control your own desires and powers. Yet the prevailing economic ideologies explicitly say to follow only your own interests, disregard the others; and they glorify unlimited greed and firmly oppose any critique of it. Was this really what Adam Smith meant?

by das monde on Wed Nov 30th, 2005 at 04:34:22 AM EST
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