Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sauce for the Gander

The real problem with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's approach to dealing with labour unions is that it doesn't go far enough.

Walker is trying to strip the state's employees of their right to bargain collectively with their employer, on the theory that the labour unions have been too successful in their work, and have gotten the state to make promises it won't be able to keep. Although this problem really should be laid at the feet of the state's less competent representatives in bargaining -- i.e., politicians and their appointees, and those who, at Walker's urging, recently voted to bankrupt the state through corporate welfare bonuses -- it is a potentially powerful way to turn the clock back to the era of the robber barons, when it was viewed as the right of each labourer to make his or her own individual employment contract.

John D. Rockefeller;
one reason we need
labour unions
But if Walker is successful, we will be beset with the same problems that gave rise to labour unions in the first place: the widespread abuse of the labouring class by the capital class.

What then is to be done?

Well, for starters, let's take Walker's idea a step further, and say that, just as labourers cannot come together to select representatives to bargain on their behalf, neither can capitalists. No more corporations or partnerships, no more joint ventures or trusts. Everyone with a dollar to invest in the capital system must make his or her own individual investment contracts. No more of this system of shareholders choosing knowledgeable people to sit on a board and choose other knowledgeable people to operate a business. Everyone has to do it on their own.

Each state agency will have to negotiate its pen and paper purchases independently with individual producers of supplies. Each state executive will have to hire and fire his or her own secretary, each crew chief will have to staff his or her own crew ... and will, of course, have to devote some time to learning personnel laws, and defending the lawsuits that result.

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