Sheldon Richman on Whether There Is a Libertarian Case for Organized Labor

Who do you imagine said this? “[Trade-unions]
seem natural to the passing phase of social evolution, and may have
beneficial functions under existing conditions.”

If you guessed some wily labor leader or social
democrat, you are wrong. British laissez-faire advocate
Herbert Spencer wrote those words in his Principles of
 (1896). Because Spencer was the most
prominent and respected individualist philosopher of his time, his
statement may surprise some readers. But it shouldn’t, writes
Sheldon Richman. Our libertarian forebears put the plight of
workers at the top of their concerns.