"The Conception of Labor in Gabriel Tarde's Psychologie Economique"


last update: 20151225

The Conception of Labor in Gabriel Tarde's Psychologie Economique

This article examines Gabriel Tarde's conception of labor. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Tarde aimed to overcome the conflict between classical economics and socialist economics. To overcome this conflict, Tarde introduced subjective factors, such as belief, desire, knowledge and will, as fundamental components in his economic thought, "psychologie economique." In his work of the same name, Psychologie Economique (1902), Tarde reconstructed the conception of value, production, capital and labor on subjective factors and their interaction. Also, Tarde was a precursor in the emphasis on the importance of invention in economic phenomenon. In his thought, labor is not production but reproduction of what is made by previous invention. Genuine production, in contrast, is the invention of "what is new." Invention is pleasurable, but labor is painful. The pain of labor is made of two factors, fatigue and boredom. In modernity, labor became less and less fatiguing, but more and more boring. Tarde emphasized the importance of boredom, because the boredom increased fatigue and made labor intolerable. Thus, in conclusion, Gabriel Tarde's conception of labor was based on subjective factors.

Keywords: Gabriel Tarde, Economic Psychology, labor, invention, boredom
REV: 20151225
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