Commons, John R. (1862–1945)

John R. Commons was a prominent historian and interpreter of the American labor movement, as well as an activist in several social reform movements. He was a major architect of regulatory agencies, a historian and theoretician of the evolution of the economic system, and a leading theorist of the role of institutions in the economy, especially its legal foundations. Commons's view of economics was broad and evolutionary. His view of institutions focused on social control and social change, on the institutions that formed and operated through markets, and on the legaleconomic nexus in which the details were worked out. He became a founder of institutional economics, especially its Wisconsin branch.

Commons's analysis of the legal foundations of capitalism reflected his view of them as complex and ...

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