About the book, from the publisher:
It has become commonplace to think that globalization has produced a race to the bottom in terms of labor standards and quality of life: the cheaper the labor and the lower the benefits afforded workers, the more competitively a country can participate on the global stage. But in this book the distinguished economic historian Michael Huberman demonstrates that globalization has in fact been very good for workers’ quality of life, and that improved labor conditions have promoted globalization.Among the early praise for Odd Couple: International Trade and Labor Standards in History:
"Michael Huberman's splendid book is bound to become a classic reference in the field, and is a superb example of how a skilled economic historian can use the past to illuminate both the present and future."
—Kevin O'Rourke, Professor of Economics, Trinity College, Dublin
"How have countries reconciled the need to protect workers against poverty with the pressures of international competition? Michael Huberman’s tour de force goes well beyond just showing that there was no “race to the bottom” in labor supports before World War I. He unravels the whole causal nexus linking globalization and trade balances to social entitlements, labor standards, hours legislation, labor protection laws, and the process of democratic compromise. For all the depth of underlying empirical support to be found in the back pages, the narrative itself is refreshingly easy to read."
—Peter Lindert, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics, University of California, Davis