Mickey Kaus has some good stuff on unions and “distributive justice”, i.e., using unions to ensure income equality and redistribute wealth. Unfortunately, Kausfiles doesn’t have links to individual sections, so you just have to keep scrolling down for more.
All this discussion of unions has been spurred by the UAW drag on US automaker competitiveness.
The discussion makes me think of a truism I realized a few years back in discussing business with my brother-in-law: great gain only comes about through great cost/risk, and heavy responsibility.
You have to pay the cost of researching the market, getting the education, earning (or persuading others to provide) the capital before you can start a business, and then you assume the risk and responsibility of running that company. You don’t have the luxury of calling in sick when you don’t feel like working, or your business (and income) will suffer. You don’t have the luxury of working just 40 hours/week and forgetting everything as soon as your work-day ends. You don’t have the luxury of wasting time to get to the lunch hour or quitting time…not if you want to have a successful business.
You have to be driven, not lazy; you have to spend your time and effort, not just give the minimu; you have to take responsibility, not let others take responsibility for your employment, health care, disability, unemployment insurance, etc; you have to strive to be the best, not just “good enough”. If you do these things, wealth will flow to you.
If you do not, if you just do your 40 hours and come home, wealth will not naturally flow to you. You will be paid low wages. Those low wages might not even be enough to live on. Time does not have a set value/worth. If you do not give quality hours to the creation of value, then you do not deserve to be the recipient of wealth.
One of the reasons I will not and cannot vote Democrat is because the party’s platform is based on the idea that they can artificially channel wealth away from those who work to earn it to those who merely exist. Democrats place an extremely high minimum value on all human lifestyles, and attempt to create a social system to support that belief. It sounds all good and shiny, of course…but I don’t assign values to anyone. I let people assign values to themselves by the amount of effort they put in to their lives. And being smart about how you apply that effort is a force multiplier (that’s USAF speak for: you increase your effectiveness by applying force at the correct point).
If someone works really hard at, say, creating/finding art in the defecation of hooved animals, I’d say they were wasting their time and not deserving of any wealth being shunted to them that they didn’t earn for themselves in the art marketplace.
“Art” isn’t intrinsically valuable. Subsidies for Art are ridiculous, in that Art is when Soul cries out to Soul, and receives a reply. Many people may want to be Artists, but it is only when they connect that they truly manifest Artistry; struggle is part of the Art, so by subsidizing Art, we are actually preventing Art from being produced.
Likewise, most jobs are paid very close to what their value is. There is some artificiality, of course, but not much. I remember seeing a woman complain that garbagemen and plumbers are paid so much when she had to have so much more education to get her Junior College teaching job (or some such thing). Well, formal education is an artificial job requirement, and not really that hard, difficult, or odious. The obvious suggestion for this lady is: if you want to earn more money, go be a garbage collector. She apparently is not willing, like many, many other people; the combined effect of this is that if they do not pay garbage collectors enough, no one will be willing to do it, and her garbage will rot, stink, attract vermin, and endanger health right outside her door. Her disrespect for those who do necessary jobs simply because they don’t have the education she does is unfair, and only because she values education more than she values having her garbage taken away.
The thing is, if all you want out of life is to not have a difficult or hard job, you probably won’t earn much money. If it’s easy, everyone wants to do it and the glut of supply drives down supply.
Somewhere else, some other woman* was complaining about having to work long hours as a supermarket cashier with no health insurance for her carpal tunnel syndrome. The thing is, 40 hours a week isn’t really that long. Because I take ownership of my job, I often work 55-60 hours a week. To tell the truth, when I was right out of college, I worked 60 hours each week as an assistant manager at a restaurant and felt horribly overworked; now it is routine, and I get zero overtime. I get the same whether I work 40 hours or 60 hours. I can tell the difference in my leisure time between the two, but like I said: I take ownership of my job, and of my life.
If your focus is on your leisure time, you are not really taking ownership of your life.
One final thought in this semi-incoherent, clearly disorganized rant: you know who has the most comfortable life of all? No responsibility at all, just eating and relaxing? Aside from Congress, I mean?
Animals who are being raised for slaughter.
You want to be a sheep? Fine. Don’t expect my efforts to pay for it. More thoughts on this later.
*I’m not trying to emphasize that women are complainers. However, they were women who complained. You can take that anecdotally or scientifically as you will. In my opinion, I do think that US/Western society does not do very well in teaching people about natural consequences of choices, but is particularly bad about teaching girls that.