10. Suppression of LaborPosted: September 13, 2008 | |
Suppression of labor is an important part of preserving corporate power. Before the Reagan administration, unions placed employees on an equal footing with employers. Wages were agreed on through bargaining, which made employment an equal marketplace. Unions were in charge of retirement funds and benefits instead of employers. This gave employees greater freedom, security, and space to object to unsafe conditions. Outsourcing would never have happened if the unions were still there to protect the American employee.
I am amazed that the conspiracy-minded Libertarians have not made the connection with their Goldwater go-America rhetoric and the fact that we are all losing our standard of living. I suppose that seeing through the free market propaganda would mean that they would have to see past their illusions. Fascism cannot exist unless the victims identify with their oppressors. I suppose that conspiracies are part of the denial mechanism, and help Libertarians to ignore the class divisions in America.
The basis of Libertarian propaganda is the Protestant Work Ethic, where the rich are blessed by God and the the poor damned to hell. Everybody wants to be blessed by God, and nobody wants to go to hell. The original Puritans rallied around the church to prove their worth and superiority. The indentured servants, mostly Irish Catholics, converted to the Congregational Church to prove that they were saved and therefor superior to their neighbors. The Protestant Work Ethic has left us with the attitude that wealth equals superiority.
Another aspect of religion in Libertarian thought is the idea that Marketplace will somehow make everything alright. Once Marketplace is unchained by restrictive government regulations, he will smite the evil corporations with economic readjustments, and Libertarians will rise to the top through their own God given superiority. Unfettered by government regulations, corporations would soon grow into megamonopolies. This would leave our nation, our economy, and our lives subject to corporate whim. Personally, prefer to fight a future where Wall Street CEOs rule like royalty.
This is all reinforced by grade school nationalism. Free Market Capitalism is supposed to work because it was believed in by the Founders. The fact that Andrew Jackson had to support laws against monopolies is simply irrelevant to the Libertarians. This certainly works to the employer’s advantage. It is much easier and more cost effective to manage self-deluded employees than employees who will stand up and set limits. Bill Gates would have very different business practices if his employees had a union behind them to demand reasonable work environments. Perhaps Google and Yahoo! would not be helping China oppress its citizens if their workers had a union supporting human rights.
“Who are the unions to tell the corporations how rich they can get?” is a question often asked of me by Libertarians. My response is, “who are the corporations to tell me how poor I can be?” That’s what it comes down to. There are always limits to how you can make money. I assume that the average mugger feels that assault and robbery laws are very unfair. I imagine that the Nigerian scammers would like to outlaw websites exposing their crimes. Employees have forgotten that many of these so-called restrictive labor laws exist to protect them. Their parents and grandparents fought like crazy to have them established. Libertarians are only shooting themselves in the feet when they try to repeal them.
Today many of the people who originally supported Reagan and his deregulations are now either homeless or facing homelessness. The same can happen to the Libertarians. I really doubt that the Libertarians would be Libertarians if it were not for the failures in the public schools. We will look at that in the next post.