Forcing Some to Make Othersí Jobs Secure
Tibor R. Machan
by Tibor R. Machan
you wish to come up with examples of support for vile policies by
government, all you need to do is keep your eyes on the letters
and Op Ed pages of The New York Times. The latest of these
beauties appeared in The Magazine section, March 7, 2004,
where the writer proceeds as follows:
But not all
jobs are created equal. Working in a unionized factory with good
pay, affordable health care and a pension is not the same as giving
facials for $7 an hour without benefits or job security. Sure,
manicurists and others should be counted in national job figures.
But we should also be clear that the jobs created in these areas
generally donít pay enough or provide the kind of benefits needed
to raise a family. The debate about manufacturing jobs lost isnít
just about numbers; itís about quality too.
so what follows from this? Only that it would be nice if people
had better jobs than not so good ones. This didnít really need airing
in The Times anyone over 5 years of age knows it.
Unless, of course, the writer, who was taking issue with an explanation
of what outsourcing jobs to other countries does, had in mind to
give support to protectionism or reversing free trade policies
I mean the genuine ones that make it possible for people across
the globe to compete with one another for the patronage of various
consumers. That conclusion, of course, doesnít follow from the letter
is that America is no longer isolated from competition, just as
no region in America has for long been isolated from some other.
Previous outsourcing went from one state to another, one city to
the other and so forth, usually based, in part, on where one could
find more competitive labor and location prices. This is still going
on, just in case someone is eager to make a case for domestic protectionist
what is actually involved in protectionism? It forces costumers
to buy at a higher price than they could without it. Thus governments
create temporary job security for some people who are unwilling
to work for less or move somewhere else or retrain by forcing
costumers, ultimately, to forego shopping, by barring trade. This
is literally making involuntary servants of the customers, partial
slaves to people who want to keep their jobs regardless of what
the customer wants.
is hard to imagine a more vicious idea afoot today. People worry
about child labor, as if that violated basic human rights, which
it doesnít unless forced upon families and children by the state.
What is far more insidious is to secure peopleís jobs not because
they have something better and less expensive to offer to buyers
of goods and services but because they have managed to enlist the
military and police powers of government to bar competitors from
being able to compete. Talk about humanitarianism!
the past a few countries had been something of a job heaven because
others were tyrannies and didnít permit business to flourish in
their midst. Now this is slowly coming to an end and the entire
world community is entering the same marketplace. But that means
there will be new competitors, ones who can bid lower than others
in the previously privileged countries, those who managed
or got their unions to secure for them good wages and benefits.
Once the job market is widened, there will be newcomers who will
outbid the existing group of workers. That is what competition means
and any effort to keep the newcomers out is vile, comparable to
how the Mafia does "business," not how free men and women
are supposed to.
course, there are various factors aside from labor market expansion
that figures in all this, some of them pretty nasty to the existing
labor force such as extortionist taxation and regulation
that makes it impossible for businesses to keep wages high while
still managing to remain competitive. But that is clearly not the
concern of the letter writers in The Times (and there were
several of those with the same idea), nor of most other champions
and then, of course, one finds support for the free competition
idea in this land, although not usually in mainstream forums. Just
to illustrate, here is an e-mail post I recently received that gives
one a bit of hope.
as to the "why" of losing certain types of jobs is one
of the BEST that I have encountered. It seems to me that the example
you used in regard to trash handlers is not only down to earth
and if anyone doesnít have an better understanding of the issue
after reading your piece he/she just doesnít want to understand
the dynamics involved. Thanks for your contribution. I plan to
save a copy to share with those who didnít have the opportunity
to read your article. Thanks.
him mail] holds
the Freedom Communications Professorship of Free Enterprise and
Business Ethics at the Argyros School of Business & Economics, Chapman
University, CA. A Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford
University, he is author of 20+ books, most recently, Putting
Humans First: Why We Are Natureís Favorite.
© 2004 Tibor Machan