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The economic content of G.D.H. Cole’s guild socialism: behavioral assumptions, institutional structure, and analytical arguments

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Despite a utopian tendency, G.D.H. Cole’s Guild Socialist writings exhibit considerable economic content. After sketching the historical context of Cole’s Guild Socialism and its broad ideology, we address its economic content by: 1. Cataloging Cole’s assumptions concerning worker motivation and utilitarian norms; 2. Clarifying the economic problems Cole sets out to address; 3. Describing the institutional structures of Cole’s Guild Socialism; 4. Exploring Cole’s theoretical contributions and their relation to modern constructs such as the economics of the employment relationship; and 5. Evaluating the extent to which the resulting body of theory is coherent, non-trivial, and normatively attractive.
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Keywords: B14; G.D.H. Cole; Guild Socialism; J54; employment relationship

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 4, 2019

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