- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Labor Unions

Posted by: David ( USA ) on February 01, 19100 at 10:50:02:

In Reply to: Capitalist management, monopoly and imperial ownership. posted by Lark on January 31, 19100 at 16:58:41:

: : Very true. That is why I am not opposed to labor unions. In some cases they are needed.

: In all cases they are always needed. Who are the first people you take down if you want to set up a dictatorship?

: - The police, gun owners, politicos and trade unionists.

: Trade unions are really, really crucial to democracy.

Trade unions in theory...but man, you should see the unions here, very corrupt they are.

: :Hopefully a time will come about when they will be obsolete, when companies have to fight to keep their workers in their company.

: Saying that, although I appreciate your honesty and cynicism about conventional unions, about unions is like saying hopefully one day the constitution or freedom of speech will be obsolete.

Touche. I agree with you completely.

: : This is the biggest criticism of automation, however it has never come about. In fact, with increased automation many high skill jobs are created that require a greater degree of education and are not as mind numbing as the jobs that the automation replaced.

: Possibly but who can afford that education with the growing trend towards the 'third way' of meger assistance to the poor and big brides for business investment to the likes of McDonalds?

Actually, what is becoming more popular in the technology sector is that because of quotas on how many foreigners a company can hire, companies are now hiring promising students and instead of puting them to work immediately, they send them to go and train for a year so they can develop the necessary skills. There is a serious shortage of skilled workers in the U.S. right now, our education system has failed horribly and companies are forced to hire foreigners which Trade unions do not like (In Ireland you probably did not learn about the Labor movement in the U.S. during the latter half of the 1850s. They were instrumental in getting laws passed that limited immigrants, since they worked so cheaply. The Knights of Labor were pretty much responsible for the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act) companies hiring non-Americans (in my opinion, that is tantamount to a twisted sense of nationalistic racism).

: Do you really see the high technology sector employing as many people as heavy industry or the type of people who work in heavy industry? I dont really think so.

: : The thing is though, is that without a strong work ethic that money often runs out very quickly.

: I have a very real work ethic and I find that capitalism is a real, real insult to it because I exhaust myself and just get asked to work harder, what is the point, the work is in no way rewarding.

: :Just take a look at all those musicians who at their heyday were worth many millions of dollars, now many of them are bankrupted. People like Steve Forbes who were sons of tycoons have very good work ethics usually instilled in them by their parents.

: Now that's all not true, that's just good business sense, do business personnel really work that hard? Or are they just willing to be more conniving and devious than anyone else?

: : You find 'affluenza' as you call it more prevalent among the aristrocracy where they recieve an allowance by the monarch or have a shitload of family inheritances and ties to government--like the house of Lords in England (has Blair disbanded it yet?).

: Blair is never ever going to disband the house of lords he is to much of a conservative and he really, really fears that a popularly elected second chamber would oppose his right wing mass privatisations, commodification of health and education and police state criminal justice policies.

: Affluenza is essentially a capital induced phenomena because wealth equals power, this is a fact often missed by Americans they think the state or power equals power and business is incorruptable and benevolent, I tell you not for one second is that the case. Look at the McDonalds libel case that lead to the establishment of this site, the corporations and businesses exercise more power than the government!!!

Certainly business is corruptable. As long as men run business it will be corruptable. That is why I am a libertarian, make it harder for business to be corrupt by buying off favors from politicians.

: : I think that that is an unfair generalization, just like it would be unfair of me to say that socialism creates a bunch of dependent zoned-out hippies.

: The unmolested market, which leads to a molesting oligarchy of capitalists, is central to US conservatism is it not?

Actually, it is more like the unmolested market leads to a society based on merit and work ethics.

:The state is viewed as a monopoly business for the purposes of policing and, often violent, punishment is it not?

Retaliatory use of necessary force.

: : People also need to feel that they are contributing positively in some way, a job provides this.

: Well that's not always the case, there are underclass elements everywhere that are commited to nothing more than being a menace and couldnt contribute to anything other than selfishness. They would be very easy to spot if there was full employment but in the present situation of mighty international business and very devalued labour it's hard to tell the unlucky in the rat race from the lazy.

The thing is though, is that in Michigan there is about a 2.5% unemployment day, and each day my dad comes home and complains about how he cannot find decent workers. Many of them come in for a week earning $25/hour and then they start showing up late for work and missing days altogether. He is forced to fire them because of company policy and because they are not good workers. From what I've heard, this is the case all throughout Michigan. I personally have no sympathy for people who complain about being out of work and then when they get a decent paying job they become truant and tardy.

: :The feeling of accomplishment is the best motivator.

: That is a motivator indeed but while a communal or collective dimension to motiviation is subordinated to selfishness or infused with competition that accomplishment will always manifest itself in terms of theft and violence rather than socially useful and dispossed individualism.

I was reading Claudius the God by Robert Graves the other day, and there was a curious passage that really struck me. Claudius was describing several types of people (he was talking about Herod Agrippa at the time) and he mentions that some people are good people with good hearts, some are good people with bad hearts, some are bad people with bad hearts, and some people are scoundrels with golden hearts. That is where I fall in, scoundrels with golden hearts. Basically, people who only look out for themselves but help others while claiming it is only for themselves. This is where the whole concept of rational selfishness comes into play.

: : Things might be different where you are, but in the U.S. workplaces are becoming far less authoritarian. Especially in production industries managers have found that the old ways of ruling with an iron fist is not productive and they are empowering the employees and allowing them to take more responsibility.

: I've actually studied this trend and it is being implemented in an interesting fashion, EG all who are interested can avail of it the wasters dont really have to take part, but realistically speaking while the lords of the workplace can still hire and fire with ease you are at the behest of their temperament and all 'empowerment' is just measures of tokenism.

It is not as easy as you think, people can complain citing discrimination if there is no good reason for them being terminated.

: : I've read many of my fathers management books that range from organizing a company to keeping labor unions out and they are very similar. They advocate allowing workers to manage themselves and give them more choice in their duties and most of all, educate them. In fact, the labor union book can be summed up in one line: If you don't want your employees forming a union, don't use force. Just don't give them a reason to want to join one. In other words, pay them well, give them benefits, and most of all, communicate with them.

: Oh I know all this, I'm qualified to be a manager or human resources consultant, I did that before the degree I'm on now as a kind of know your enamy initiative.

: It's very machavellian to try and smash unions when they havent done anything or are commited to peoples best interests, I mean good management should have no reason to be afraid of union organisation.

The problem is though, is that Unions rarely have the interest of the workers at heart. What they have an interest in is the dues that they get paid. So very often, they will promise the workers unrealistic wage increases and benefits in order to get instated. Once a union is in a company, it is very hard to get them out, even by the workers.

: : : Interesting, against the Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes, no doubt? What about the invisible leviathan of the capitalist economy? I mean it may not really, really effect you since the owners of the 'new fuedal properties' which are being created through huge scale amalgamations are situated in your country and will be more paternalistic towards their indigenous people but it's civil and social rights death for me and my workplace colleagues.

: : I am curious to know how things are their (Ireland?), in the U.S. things are actually not as bad as people paint them to be. There are some troubled industries that still cling to the old practices of top down management, but they are dying away.

: Would I be right in saying that you are a libertarian? The 'absolute rules' (limited government and democracy) you outlined and your optimism about the workplace would seem to suggest that. I find a lot of trendy libertarian capitalist ideologues are happier to believe ideology than fact or at least are far less suspiscious of capitalist enterprise than they should be, I mean the suspiscion of government is fine, when it's not paranoia, but government isnt the only source of costly bureaucracy, illegitimate authority, censorship and bullying.

Yes, I guess you could pigeon hole me as a libertarian. But, keep in mind that libertarians have a lot more to work from in the way of real life examples than the socialists do. So, before you accuse us of having faith in theory and ignoring practice, I'll rattle off a list of "socialist" states and then ask you for some successful ones.

: In my experience it is the market that's the problem more than the government because governments are more and more meek and mild happy to preach about modernity and 'our hands are tied by globalism' nonsense.

The problem though is that government can be bought off by businesses. Something I am firmly entrenched against.

: It's all hierarchical, unaccountable and mean and support ideas, such as yours, which pretend that there is no conflicts of interest and no short-termism and no market failure would only re-enforce the present scenario. It's not even a case of live and let live, your market/state culutre is different lets get on with because your government throught the likes of NAFTA wants to force the world into compliance with it's economic vision of America owns, and therefore, America commands everything.

Then again though, what country isn't concerned about being dominant. I mean, every world power that has been around longer than a hundred years at one point or another tried their hand at global dominance. Albeit they did it in a more militaristic way. The U.S. is securing its dominance in the world right now. I cannot say I condone it, however, I would rather have the U.S. dominant than say, Russia, or China, or Canada.

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