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Employers and Exceptionalism: A Cross-Border Comparison of Washington State and British Columbia, 1890–1935

ANDREW YARMIE
Pacific Historical Review
Vol. 72, No. 4 (November 2003), pp. 561-615
DOI: 10.1525/phr.2003.72.4.561
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/phr.2003.72.4.561
Page Count: 56
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Employers and Exceptionalism: A Cross-Border Comparison of Washington State and British Columbia, 1890–1935
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Abstract

Based on Sanford M. Jacoby's “American Exceptionalism Revisited: The Importance of Management,” this article tests his hypotheses about differences between American and Canadian employers. First, is “exceptionalism” useful for examining cross-national differences in capital/state/labor relations? Second, do Jacoby's independent and dependent variables make American employers different? Third, were American employers more individualistic, wealthy, aggressive, and hence effective in countering trade unions and socialism than employers elsewhere? This case study of Washington state and British Columbia employers and their organizations examines whether the two national groups differed in economic and social background, ideology, values, objectives, and tactics. This regional study reveals more similarities than differences “in kind.” It finds that socially and politically constructed factors, especially the extent of state interventions, created divergent cross-border industrial relations systems, rather than exceptionalism.

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