A Conservative Speaks Up For Unions

Discussion in 'Economy' started by PoliticalChic, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,677
    Thanks Received:
    15,586
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +24,815
    1. Many posts from the Right attack unions, as though they are the enemy of business and the free market

    2. By conservative, I mean those who favor individualism, free markets, and limited constitutional government, and that the people are the best judges of what is right, and opportune.

    3. The enemy of the above is the belief that big government infused with beneficent, all knowing experts and technocrats will lead all to ‘the promised land,’ to dole out ‘social justice.’

    4. In the current shorthand, let's call this capitalism versus Marxism.

    a. Marxism rested on the assumption that the condition of the working classes would grow ever worse under capitalism, that there would be but two classes: one small and rich, the other vast and increasingly impoverished, and revolution would be the anodyne that would result in the “common good.” But by the early 20th century, it was clear that this assumption was completely wrong! Under capitalism, the standard of living of all was improving: prices falling, incomes rising, health and sanitation improving, lengthening of life spans, diets becoming more varied, the new jobs created in industry paid more than most could make in agriculture, housing improved, and middle class industrialists and business owners displaced nobility and gentry as heroes.
    https://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=2007&month=05






    5. But, the reality is that capitalist theory fell short as the size and complexity of the society increased. While capitalism is provably the best way to raise every level of society…it still left many behind for a multitude or reasons not related to the theory itself. Orthodox capitalist theory recognized only one kind of social control: competiton….modern society imposed social control rather than the automatic regulation of the ‘invisible hand.’ Thus the shift from self-regulation through economics to self-regulation through politics.

    6. The adjustment of orthodox capitalist theory that blunted the threat of Marxist revolution is what Theodore Lowi, in “The End of Liberalism,” describes this way:

    ‘Today, the public policy is based on an amalgam of capitalism, statism, and interest-group liberalism. Both capitalist and Marxist analysis ignore the fact that there are a number of institution other than the state in an industrial civilization, because there are so very many interests, and organizations which represent those interests, and are willing to use power to attain same. Thus, any explanation of modern society requires a pluralist theory which posits many sources of power and control other than the state. Marxism is based on the idea of a unitary society, of a few homogenized classes. This is not possible in the contemporary culture.

    a. By its nature, government in a democracy cannot act in a unitary manner: there are too many special interests that must be accommodated. In "Demosclerosis:: The Silent Killer of American Government," Jonathan Rauch points out that 7 out of 10 Americans belong to an interest group, and one out of four belong to at least four!




    7. Unions represent one of the interest group assemblies. They serve a valuable function, as do all interest groups, a safety valve for dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Without this safety valve, other, less desirable avenues of redress outside of the political might be availed: the revolution that Marx predicted.


    8. I know that demands of unions are seen by many on the Right as deleterious, and disruptive. But, in business, the organization has the ability to judge the cost of not giving in to demands, and deciding in its own best interest.

    a. Why is this not true for society? It is our elected representatives who rush to say “Aye” to union demands. So…who is at fault?

    b. Laws should be designed to hold officials responsible for the results of their actions. They should not be immune from liability….beyond the time in office. In fact, they should be required to carry indemnity insurance that remains in effect long after terms in office, as costs don’t always show up in a timely manner.

    c. Or....the political party of the office-holder may be held responsible.



    9. Unions, and even excessive ‘demands’ are covered by the words of the 1st amendment: “no laws… interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

    If unions are the problem.....aren't political parties even more so?
     
  2. Mad Scientist
    Offline

    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    23,936
    Thanks Received:
    5,211
    Trophy Points:
    270
    Ratings:
    +7,676
    Unions have a purpose, but when they start running the business, problems arise.

    It's like the Military. It serves a purpose when it defends America and the Constitution but when it gets so large and powerful that it thinks it doesn't have to listen to Congress or the American people, well that's a problem.

    But some people think the Military, like the Unions, can do no wrong.
     
  3. Freemason9
    Offline

    Freemason9 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    Messages:
    2,477
    Thanks Received:
    279
    Trophy Points:
    130
    Ratings:
    +458
    Nice topic, PC, and well presented. I have always supported unions--although I am in management, and I would not belong to one. Unions are (1) a balance to the lawlessness of capitalism, and (2) represent the embodiment of a democratic society. As Smith noted, capitalism can only succeed if it is well-regulated; and, in this era of diminishing federal presence as a protector of labor, we rely on unions because government has become the enemy of labor.

    When unions are gone, we will see the rise of outright fascism.
     
  4. OohPooPahDoo
    Offline

    OohPooPahDoo Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    15,342
    Thanks Received:
    976
    Trophy Points:
    175
    Location:
    N'Awlins Mid-City
    Ratings:
    +1,320
    Unions do not run businesses.
     
  5. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,677
    Thanks Received:
    15,586
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +24,815

    Any truth to the rumor that you actually got something right once?



    "It's been a long time since American devotees of Marx (Karl, not Groucho) have had much to cheer about. But with the bankruptcy filings of General Motors and Chrysler, and the transfer of stock ownership from the firms' long-suffering shareholders to the government and unions, communists of the world can rejoice. The workers are now, finally, significant owners of the means of production. The United Auto Workers control about 65 percent of Chrysler and 17.5 percent of General Motors."
    How the UAW's new ownership stake in GM and Chrysler will defang the union. - Slate Magazine



    Obama owns 26%
     
  6. eflatminor
    Offline

    eflatminor Classical Liberal

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Messages:
    9,234
    Thanks Received:
    1,399
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +2,044
    I have no problem with voluntary unions forming at private businesses.

    I have a huge problem with public sector unions...as did FDR.
     
  7. PoliticalChic
    Offline

    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    55,677
    Thanks Received:
    15,586
    Trophy Points:
    2,190
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Ratings:
    +24,815
    Why?

    A strong President with vision knew how to handle a union.....President Reagan.
     
  8. eflatminor
    Offline

    eflatminor Classical Liberal

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Messages:
    9,234
    Thanks Received:
    1,399
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +2,044
    Because I have no problem with any consensual and VOLUNTARY activity between adults. If you want to form a group, a gang, or a union, that's fine as along as you don't unnecessarily hurt others or take what doesn't belong to you.

    Public sector unions are not only not voluntary, they "negotiate" on the same side of the table. They bargain with the very politicians their contributions put in office! That's not fair to taxpayer that foots the bill for both of them.

    Reagan was dealing with a public sector union. He was right to fire them.
     
  9. Freemason9
    Offline

    Freemason9 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2012
    Messages:
    2,477
    Thanks Received:
    279
    Trophy Points:
    130
    Ratings:
    +458
    Ronald Reagan was an actor, not a president.

    Public sector unions do not function well. They contribute money and resources to political candidates; those candidates are elected; once elected, the politicians repay the public sector unions through favorable labor contracts; the unions use their new funds to buy more politicians--and the new politicians sign off on even better union contracts.

    Hence, you have monstrous and unfunded pension plans for police and firefighters.
     
  10. oldfart
    Offline

    oldfart Older than dirt

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    Messages:
    2,354
    Thanks Received:
    462
    Trophy Points:
    140
    Location:
    Redneck Riviera
    Ratings:
    +527
    First, I don't think there's much support for "capitalism is provably the best way to raise every level of society" unless you have a shifting definition of capitalism.

    "Orthodox capitalist theory" has three gigantic fatal flaws, all of which can be overcome, but only with decidedly non-capitalistic solutions.

    1. It assumes "perfectly competitive markets" and breaks down substantially, both in theory and in practice, when there is significant monopolist or monopsonistic power, including the most common industry structure, oligopoly. Economies of scale make many industries "natural monopolies".

    2. Markets do a poor job of handling externalities either positive or negative. Therefore they overproduce harmful effects and underproduce beneficial ones.

    3. Markets are good for efficiency regardless of the object of the system. Thus capitalism is a great system for a war economy or a fascist dictatorship. It has a lot more trouble (as does a command economy) in producing a decent humane society.

    Now as I said, all of these problems can be overcome, sometimes using market methods like cap and trade, but each of these solutions requires societal or governmental intervention in the market system.

    No modern society comes close to unfettered capitalism as was seen in Britain during the Industrial Revolution. That's a good thing. Few people want to return to that type of society or those conditions. Eighteenth century Europe is not exactly a good role model for an industrial society, no matter how good Enlightenment thinkers sound.
     

Share This Page