Public vs. Private

This is a forum for discussing philosophical theories of government and social structure. It is not a venue for partisan rants or plugging favored candidates.

Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Serpent on February 6th, 2017, 10:45 am 

Forest_Dump » February 5th, 2017, 11:17 pm wrote:
Serpent wrote:I said nothing about taking away tribal or national rights.


You most certainly did:

Serpent wrote:Open the borders.
Abolish standing armies.
Institute universal female control of reproduction.
Shut down religious institutions.
Enforce anti-trust laws.
Outlaw usury and profiteering.
Ban private ownership of natural resources, especially water.

Yet again: That was a satirical extreme example of the answer to the hypothetical question you posed:
How do we get from where we are to where everyone is richer?

Without defined and defended borders, how do you define what is tribal or native lands and what is not?

The same way we do now, when they're all inside of the national borders of a country that has internationally recognized sovereignty, and whatever its legally constituted government does to the native population is considered and 'internal' matter - as in Iraq and its Kurdish population. Except I removed the a standing army which is ready and able to quell any native uprising.
If these borders are open, how do you prevent French or English settlers (colonists could also include Muslims, Mormans, or any other kind of corporate group) from encroaching and building their own Trump towers?

By denying them the accumulation of power and wealth. Letting nobody start out with a free $million and a license to steal.
If rights to membership is not inherited, how do you define who is a member of a tribal or national group and who is not and thus, how do you keep their rights intact without granting the same rights to all and thereby erasing any distinction?

Maybe people should be free to choose? But I never said "membership". I believe the inheritance referred to big money, not some old guy's clapped-out snowmobile and trap lines. I didn't drag the poor old Ainu and Yanomama into this; you did. I just suggested we keep Horizon from stealing their water.
Also, btw, taking away the Vatican's control over great swathes of real estate and people's intimate relations wouldn't necessarily stop anyone taking comfort in their local rituals and shrines.

None of it was intended literally, but if you take it literally, at least do so with greater accuracy.
The whole point was to contrast those impossibilities with the more realistic suggestion:
"Free enterprise by confiscation to the public purse of large cash gifts and legacies by wealthy people to their offspring - so that every generation starts on a level playing field."
It referred to the concentration of inherited wealth and power, which skews all economic and political relations and prevents anything like freedom of choice or equality of opportunity.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3107
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 6th, 2017, 11:40 am 

Serpent wrote:Yet again: That was a satirical extreme example of the answer to the hypothetical question you posed:
How do we get from where we are to where everyone is richer?


Pardon me but I assumed you were at least trying to be serious. Thus, if taken literally, the present course is making almost everyone richer, if only in cellphone access. The real problem, though, is of course the differential access to wealth and power. I can't see how you will ever get absolute equality as Paul Anthony has pointed out. It never has existed under any size or configuration of social or political organization and I can't see how it would ever come to be or ever should. People are not all equal and never will be, people do not all have the same values or capabilities, some will always be willing to work harder and longer and should be allowed to if they choose and reap differential rewards. The question is how much difference in rewards is fair and how to impose some limits.

Serpent wrote:The same way we do now, when they're all inside of the national borders of a country that has internationally recognized sovereignty, and whatever its legally constituted government does to the native population is considered and 'internal' matter - as in Iraq and its Kurdish population. Except I removed the a standing army which is ready and able to quell any native uprising.


So obviously you have now abandoned the idea of open borders but we would clearly have to consider the question of whether the current borders are fair, etc. Since you mention Iraq and the Kurds, as it happens if granted the power, I would give the Kurds their own seperate nation that would include parts of Iraq, Turkey and Syria. Why not? Lots of these people definitely don't want to remain inside someone else's borders. Much closer to home I would partition parts of Canada to allow more independance, perhaps as seperate nations, for some First Nations groups such as Cree and Nishnawbe, as they decide to negotiate it. Of course all of these nations would require some form of standing army to protect themselves.

Serpent wrote:Maybe people should be free to choose? But I never said "membership".


Almost universally, when you get down to it, membership in an ethnic community is inherited every bit as much as membership (i.e., citizenship) in a nation. Many, many people in the world would point out that you already have differential access to wealth and opportunity simply because you were either born in Canada or, if you are an immigrant, because you were born in a place where this became an option. What you subsequently did with that opportunity is more of your own making. But I have certainly pointed out before, I have not heard of anything in your proposals to indicate that you are willing to give up that kind of privalege but instead are only demanding that others give up stuff so that you can get even more without giving any thought to fairness or different value, etc. I just don't see you doing anything but blaming others for the problems of the world and putting minimal thought into the question of whether your proposals will even work and the extent to which they might be simply self-serving.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8784
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region
Paul Anthony liked this post


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Serpent on February 6th, 2017, 12:07 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 6th, 2017, 10:40 am wrote:Pardon me but I assumed you were at least trying to be serious.

I was trying to make a serious point by introducing a frivolous one.
Thus, if taken literally, the present course is making almost everyone richer, if only in cellphone access.

Do you truly believe this? How does cellphone access give somebody control of their natural resources? If anything, the proliferation of cellphones and other disposable technical devices is accelerating environmental degradation and household as well as national debt, the world over, by supranational corporate industry.

The real problem, though, is of course the differential access to wealth and power. I can't see how you will ever get absolute equality as Paul Anthony has pointed out.

Absolute equality was never on the table. I suggested making it a little harder for a few undeserving people to start at the finish line, while the majority starts in a deep hole.

People are not all equal and never will be, people do not all have the same values or capabilities, some will always be willing to work harder and longer and should be allowed to if they choose and reap differential rewards.

That's what I've been saying. The average miner works considerably longer and harder for his $15/hr and chancy health insurance than the mine owner does for his $150,000/hr and gold-plated Ferrari.

The question is how much difference in rewards is fair and how to impose some limits.

Yes. That's the question. I obviously don't have an answer.

I didn't abandon any ideas. I posed the impossible ones in contrast to the possible one - which, it turns out, is also impossible.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3107
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Braininvat on February 6th, 2017, 12:23 pm 

You all have traveled far from Canadian liquour stores.

A good criterion for deciding if something should be public or private is how does it respond to user/customer requests. A shop that sells meat pies can do fine as a private enterprise - customers show up and say, "What, no squirrel pie? Hmph." You want to be profitable, you listen to customers. A bus system OTOH might do better as public. Answerable to the public, has a mandate to help the elderly, handicapped, and the car-less no matter how business is doing overall (thus providing reliable transport to the segment that most needs it) and doesn't let the profit motive allow decisions to strand people.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6776
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 6th, 2017, 12:29 pm 

Serpent wrote:That's what I've been saying. The average miner works considerably longer and harder for his $15/hr and chancy health insurance than the mine owner does for his $150,000/hr and gold-plated Ferrari.


To cut to the chase, no argument from me and I am I favour of a return to a more progressive taxation on income, some luxury goods and inheritance but it needs to be a gradual return and needs to take into account all kinds of questions about fairness without abrupt radical shifts in either direction. But one point worth noting:

Serpent wrote:Do you truly believe this? How does cellphone access give somebody control of their natural resources? If anything, the proliferation of cellphones and other disposable technical devices is accelerating environmental degradation and household as well as national debt, the world over, by supranational corporate industry.


Clearly you are stuck on your own individual value system here. Personally I now have only a cellphone (no "landline") and mine is almost strictly a cellphone - the only other thing it does is text messages. No FaceBook or any other apps on it (well except a calander, clock, date, etc.) But that is my choice. Obviously many other people prefer their addictions to it. Isn't that their choice to make? As to environmental impact, again, I prefer living more in the bush with all its pros and cons. But not everyone wants that which is lucky because if even 10,000 more wanted to move to around here, they would radically change the environment. To at least some degree by now we might have to face the reality that the vast majority of people in the world are willing to accept environmental degradation rather than give up their central air conditioners, access to transportation, computers, fresh fruits and vegetables, etc. Not my values but if we want freedom then sometimes we have to accept that things aren't going to go the way we want them to go. If you want to play the games of life, sometimes you lose.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8784
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Forest_Dump on February 6th, 2017, 12:34 pm 

Braininvat wrote:A shop that sells meat pies can do fine as a private enterprise - customers show up and say, "What, no squirrel pie? Hmph." You want to be profitable, you listen to customers.


Sadly I don't think it is quite that easy. How do you know I didn't sneak some scabrous, leprous rat meat into the pie? If it made you sick shortly thereafter I would of course simply say you caught the 24 hour flu or it was something else. 10 years later? No way you could proe it was me (you wouldn't even remember). My point is that even with something like that, self-regulation has lots of holes in it and you need a truly independent quality control and that is inevitably government.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8784
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Braininvat on February 6th, 2017, 4:47 pm 

Well, yes, I wasn't arguing against quality control regulations. Just saying that private business is better for some things than others.

Trash is another example like transit. I've lived where it's private and it was absolutely ridiculous. Our neighborhood was in the service area of 3 different companies, so we would have 3 days a week with trucks roaring through, lids banging, dumpters slamming, all in the very early hours of the morning. Believe me, once a week is enough. Here, it's the city, and it's once a week, and because they easily coordinate with the city landfill and the city recycling operation, everyone has a recyclable bin as well as a regular trash bin, and so many recycle that it nearly pays for itself.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6776
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby wolfhnd on February 6th, 2017, 5:07 pm 

I don't want to start a new thread so maybe we could roll the Dodd Frank debate into this discussion?
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4687
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Braininvat on February 6th, 2017, 5:20 pm 

We've rolled everything else into it, so why not. :-)
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6776
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby wolfhnd on February 6th, 2017, 6:25 pm 

While the left is focused on ludicrous issues like immigration the real news is Trump rolling back Dodd Frank.

Dodd Frank is a regulatory nightmare. So was Glass Steagall. That does not mean that there was no problem that needed addressed. The issues and these two pieces of law are sufficiently complicated that it would be impossible to go into every detail so gross generalizations will have to suffice. What the repeal of Glass Steagall essentially did was finalize the transition from economy based on measurable wealth to a financial instruments economy. The most transparent expression of this economic model can be seen in the London financial brokers. In a way it is empire by financial manipulation but is not a nationalistic empire but of financial institutions. The repeal of the Glass Steagall act can be seen as a transfer of sovereignty from the people to the banking establishment.

As we saw in the prime lending crisis the banksters have been given free rein to engage in ponzi schemes as they see fit. In part this is do to the deregulation but it is just as much a result of the creation of financial instruments that are not tied to central banks. It is hard to see how every potential financial instrument could be regulated. The world is awash in derivatives.

Next there is the issue of deficit spending which is essential the government's ponzi scheme. I fail to see how we hope to benefit from shifting economic control from private criminals to public criminals. That to me is the issue.

The problem as I mentioned in an earlier post is we have created a financial system where no one is personally responsible. Having government officials that cannot be held personally responsible is no better than having banksters in control. What we need is a system where people cannot hide behind government or corporate immunity.

This relates to the issue of private and public ownership because a false dichotomy is being drawn. As I stated in an earlier post private ownership is only possible by public consent. When owners act in ways not consistent with the social contract concerning responsibility they forfeit the right to participate in the moral agents club. This is true if they act with intent or incompetently. The only distinction the law can make is in the appropriateness of the punishment.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4687
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby d30 on February 6th, 2017, 8:10 pm 



Thanks, Paul. I chose a different site, though, both seemingly very reliable (Univ. of Calif. Santa Barbara), but also for those who don't want to have to time-consumingly watch a video for about 10 minutes before getting to the passage in question. To get to that passage quickly you can (1) go to the URL at bottom, then (2) either scroll down about 7 pages, or use your browser's text search with the search term "disturbed".

Paul, you'll see by what I say next here, that, like many progressives, my allegiance is to fact, truth, science, not liberal or conservative bias, spin and narrative/ideology:

There's no question the much more corporate "Democratic" Party of today, 20 years since Clinton's speech is a lot more dependent on, and doesn't want to risk losing, a big Latino vote, therefore says little if anything about the indeed important long-out-of-control-immigration issue. A still real, pure Democrat should treat the issue as seriously as anyone, as Clinton, then not yet nearly as corporatized in 1995, did.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=51634
d30
Member
 
Posts: 246
Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Location: San Diego area
Paul Anthony liked this post


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Lomax on February 8th, 2017, 4:13 am 

I'm a stickler for political language, and clear language leads to clear thought, so I just want to clarify some terms.

The Soviet Union was not "public"; the masses had no control over its decisions whatsoever. The entirety of Russia, as well as most of Eastern Europe, were the private property of a very small group of people. It is this hyper-privatisation which made it, beside its other faults, unmanageable.

(By the way, Athena also claims that the USSR had the moral advantage of not withholding medicine. Khrushchev withheld medicine from Stalin on his deathbed, and we are so much the better for it. Stalin, after all, had deliberately withheld enough food to starve several million Ukrainians. "To each according to his need", indeed.)

Paul Anthony notes that many, even educated, "people believe capitalism (free enterprise) is bad". This is true, but commits a sleight of hand - many people believe capitalism is not free enterprise, and is bad for that reason. Capital is power. And this is not even to mention the textured history of "state-capitalism".

One last distincton: public ownership doesn't necessarily mean monopoly, nor vice versa. The BBC, for instance, is just one news outlet among many. It doesn't compete in the straightforward way, but if it becomes unpopular enough there is nothing to stop a political candidate running on a promise to dissolve it. (Note that this type of public accountability could not have occurred in the Soviet Union). On the other hand the Pinochet economy was strangulated, and prices and unemployment forced up, because the extremely laissez-faire market was increasingly owned by a very small number of private companies, who could therefore control prices at the expense of everybody else. All laissez-faire, unchecked economies tend gradually in this direction, and would do so even if the playing field started off level.

Ronjanec was observant enough to call the USSR "Communist" - it was indeed Communist, even though it was not communist. So:

public ≢ state-owned
socialist ≢ state-owned
monopolistic ≢ state-owned
opposition to capitalism ≢ opposition to free enterprise

These distinctions matter because they expel strawmen and quash canards. That's all from Lomax's Pedantry Hour.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3663
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby wolfhnd on February 8th, 2017, 6:20 am 

public ≢ state-owned
socialist ≢ state-owned
monopolistic ≢ state-owned
opposition to capitalism ≢ opposition to free enterprise

Public = of or concerning the people as a whole.

Socialist = A person who advocates socialism A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Capitalism = An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state:

I hope we can agree to accept the Oxford English Dictionary definitions.

There is only one way community as whole can own or regulate all means of production and that is if they control them. You can substitute public for community as a whole. The public however cannot make every decision as to how control is exercised so control is delegated to the state.

It doesn't in practical terms matter if you have a socialist or capitalist system ownership is enforced by the state. In a socialist system the state must assure that those government officials that are put in charge do not abuse there power in ways that are not in the interest of the public. In a capitalist system the government must enforce private ownership and defend it from arbitrary seizure. In both cases the state derives it's power from the consent of the public either voluntarily or after coercion.

These terms describe idealized conditions that never actually exist in the real world. The public is never an homogeneous community and the state never acts with unanimous consent. What makes a society functional is when people voluntarily agree to the rule of law. Again the law cannot equally express the consent of the entire public and their individual preferences. Just as the terms used to describe systems are approximations of idealized conditions so is the law. It is understood that when we discuss political systems we are talking about how they are manifested in the real world not the idealized conceptualization.

If we discuss socialism we know we must deal with the tragedy of the commons and if we discuss capitalism we must deal with greed and dispossession. The question is if the greed and irresponsibility of the public is any less destructive than the greed of capitalists. Neither poverty nor wealth makes you virtuous. Being virtuous is a matter of individual character unrelated to your social economic status.

For those who think individual character is maximized in a system of private ownership they will prefer more capitalism. For those who think individual character is best developed in a collective environment they will prefer socialism. The problem is that neither system will function if individual character is not already present.

The fall of Rome can be seen as resulting from moral decay. If you have the capitalist mindset you may blame the bread an circus mob and their demands for welfare. If you are of the socialist mindset you may blame the voracious and capricious nature of the rulers. Both points of view would be right. The underlying forces however are complex some people would even argue that Christianity undermined Roman virtues. Whatever the causes there is clear evidence of moral decay closely correlated with the decline.

It is extremely simplistic to point to one element of society and say they are the root of all evil. There are no innocent parties in the moral decay that is currently destroying Western civilization. This is just as true as there is no perfect political system. Perfection in a political system, to the extent that it exists, is a reflection of the individual characters that make up the body politic.
User avatar
wolfhnd
Resident Member
 
Posts: 4687
Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Blog: View Blog (3)
d30Paul Anthony liked this post


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Lomax on February 8th, 2017, 12:15 pm 

Most of what you say is fine. I might say the OED definition of "capitalism" is over-simplified, because in state-capitalist societies the state controls business for profit, but otherwise it's fine. I would say your universal assertion that "ownership is enforced by the state" is only true in as much as the state does or doesn't pass laws against certain acts of ownership. Trade unions were not originally formed or upheld by the state - for a long time they existed in spite of the state's efforts, and since Thatcher many of their activities have been criminalised again over here - and co-operative ownership does not require state efforts to come about. We also have a few historical examples of stateless socialism. Finally:

wolfhnd » February 8th, 2017, 11:20 am wrote:In both cases the state derives it's power from the consent of the public either voluntarily or after coercion.

consent-by-coercion seems like an oxymoron to me. It is in the coercive instance that we have no right to call the state "public".
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3663
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 8th, 2017, 12:42 pm 

Lomax » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:15 am wrote:
wolfhnd » February 8th, 2017, 11:20 am wrote:In both cases the state derives it's power from the consent of the public either voluntarily or after coercion.

consent-by-coercion seems like an oxymoron to me. It is in the coercive instance that we have no right to call the state "public".


All government is power by coercion. In a representative form of government, some agree willingly while others are coerced since there will never be an issue on which all agree. The alternative to coercion is persuasion, and while every effort might be made to persuade, ultimately the law is enforced on those who are not persuaded.

Because all laws are passed allegedly for the public good, the force of government is rightly called "public".
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Lomax on February 8th, 2017, 12:48 pm 

Well I think we should, following Rousseau, distinguish between the whole of society and the sum of its parts. Nothing will ever satisfy all of the parts, but parties must still compete to derive their mandate from the community on the whole. I take your point about some coercion always being necessary - but I think this electoral mandate gives us enough cause to say the democratic state is "public", whereas a wholly unaccountable state like the USSR has no such argument in its favour. It derived its mandate from its military success alone.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3663
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 8th, 2017, 1:04 pm 

Lomax » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:48 am wrote:Well I think we should, following Rousseau, distinguish between the whole of society and the sum of its parts. Nothing will ever satisfy all of the parts, but parties must still compete to derive their mandate from the community on the whole. I take your point about some coercion always being necessary - but I think this electoral mandate gives us enough cause to say the democratic state is "public", whereas a wholly unaccountable state like the USSR has no such argument in its favour. It derived its mandate from its military success alone.


Quite right.

Another area that might be worthy of comment is unions. You mentioned them in a previous post. In the US, labor unions enjoyed the support of government, ensuring that any union which persuaded some employees to join had the right to declare all employees of that company members of the union. Employees that were not persuaded were still required to pay union dues or surrender their employment.

There has been an increase in "Right to Work" states in the past decade. In those states that have passed right to work laws, unions are not prohibited from forming, but are prohibited from requiring membership as a requirement for employment. Where this change has occurred, unions have suffered large reductions in membership. The unions claim this to be an effort to break up the unions, while the supporters say it is an effort to give employees the freedom to choose.

Regardless of which side of the argument you find yourself, you can see what happens when coercion is prohibited. Government does not have that option. If laws were unenforceable on those who chose not to obey them, there would be no point in having laws.
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Lomax liked this post


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Lomax on February 8th, 2017, 1:17 pm 

The "closed shop" - we had it here until the early days of Tony Blair, I think. I do find the closed shop coercive. But when I say the government criminalised union activity, I mean something more like Thatcher making striking (even for members of open-shop unions) a cause for arrest. That seems like an example to me of where the liberty vs. coercion distinction doesn't exactly align with the private vs. public, or capitalist vs. socialist, distinctions.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3663
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 8th, 2017, 1:41 pm 

I'm not familiar with the details of Thatcher's actions regarding union strikes, but I can think of some instances where I would agree.

If the employees of company A have a grievance with management they should have the right to strike, assuming that efforts to mediate the grievance have failed. But, if the union represents all the employees of companies A, B and C - as is often the case - the employees of companies B and C are not justified in striking.
The idea that they must strike in support of their brethren at company A is ludicrous if the employers at companies B and C have done nothing wrong.

Again, government coercion is what made it possible for one union to represent labor at multiple companies. If the companies united in similar fashion they would be in violation of antitrust laws.
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Lomax on February 8th, 2017, 1:47 pm 

Paul Anthony » February 8th, 2017, 6:41 pm wrote:If the employees of company A have a grievance with management they should have the right to strike, assuming that efforts to mediate the grievance have failed. But, if the union represents all the employees of companies A, B and C - as is often the case - the employees of companies B and C are not justified in striking.
The idea that they must strike in support of their brethren at company A is ludicrous if the employers at companies B and C have done nothing wrong.

Again, government coercion is what made it possible for one union to represent labor at multiple companies. If the companies united in similar fashion they would be in violation of antitrust laws.

To your first paragraph, I confess to not having given it enough thought (and I will). Allied and general strikes were common here during the Great Depression. Your point seems entirely reasonable.

To your second paragraph it seems to me like you have it back-to-front: the antitrust laws are the example of coercion, surely?
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3663
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Lomax on February 8th, 2017, 1:52 pm 

By the way, Google tells me that blacklisting - which is what I took you to be talking about - isn't illegal at the federal level, nor in most states.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3663
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 8th, 2017, 2:16 pm 

Lomax » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:47 am wrote:
Paul Anthony » February 8th, 2017, 6:41 pm wrote:If the employees of company A have a grievance with management they should have the right to strike, assuming that efforts to mediate the grievance have failed. But, if the union represents all the employees of companies A, B and C - as is often the case - the employees of companies B and C are not justified in striking.
The idea that they must strike in support of their brethren at company A is ludicrous if the employers at companies B and C have done nothing wrong.

Again, government coercion is what made it possible for one union to represent labor at multiple companies. If the companies united in similar fashion they would be in violation of antitrust laws.

To your first paragraph, I confess to not having given it enough thought (and I will). Allied and general strikes were common here during the Great Depression. Your point seems entirely reasonable.

To your second paragraph it seems to me like you have it back-to-front: the antitrust laws are the example of coercion, surely?


Absolutely, but it is the sort of coercion that is generally accepted as "for the general good". That's the sort of coercion government is supposed to employ. Protecting unions against the wishes of the union's own members is not. Giving unions much greater power and reach than it allows businesses is not.

I am not opposed to the concept of unions - workers uniting to match the negotiating power of the employer. I am opposed to the excessive power granted to unions that have become much larger than any single private employer.

BTW, I was not referring to blacklisting but that is also an unwarranted act of coercion.
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Lomax on February 8th, 2017, 2:32 pm 

Fair enough. I don't follow what you meant about companies "uniting in a similar fashion" though - what would be an example of this?
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3663
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 8th, 2017, 6:06 pm 

Lomax » Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:32 am wrote:Fair enough. I don't follow what you meant about companies "uniting in a similar fashion" though - what would be an example of this?


If GM, Ford and Chrysler decided to join forces and create one HR department and one set of rules, benefits and wages for all of their combined employees they would be prevented from doing so by some government agency. But the same union represents all of the employees at all three companies.
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Braininvat on February 8th, 2017, 6:22 pm 

I'm not sure how that really gives the union more power than an employer, given the natural advantage of power that management of a company has over its workers. If United Widget workers go on strike, and the Widget Union only represents UW and none of the other 4 major widget companies, then how much easier would it be for UW to just bring in scabs and break the strike? It's the fact that the Widget Union represents everyone who makes widgets that gives them strength and bargaining power and depth of experience. Given all the ways that companies can bust strikes, the union needs to be industry-wide. Kind of the whole point of unions, IMO.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6776
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 8th, 2017, 6:47 pm 

Braininvat » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:22 pm wrote:I'm not sure how that really gives the union more power than an employer, given the natural advantage of power that management of a company has over its workers. If United Widget workers go on strike, and the Widget Union only represents UW and none of the other 4 major widget companies, then how much easier would it be for UW to just bring in scabs and break the strike? It's the fact that the Widget Union represents everyone who makes widgets that gives them strength and bargaining power and depth of experience. Given all the ways that companies can bust strikes, the union needs to be industry-wide. Kind of the whole point of unions, IMO.


You are entitled to your opinion, but perhaps you could defend it a little better.

If the workers at one widget manufacturer have a beef with their employer, they may go on strike. Why should the workers at the other three companies strike, if they don't have a problem with their own employer? How is the allegedly bad behavior of management in company A the responsibility of management of companies B, C, and D? Since they are prohibited from working together even if they wanted to, they have no control over the actions of their competitors.

But if they all went on strike, companies B, C, and D would be justified in hiring scabs! Why should their business suffer due to the actions of a competitor over which they have no control? That makes no sense to me, but if you see it as reasonable you have a long way to go to convince me.

Let's try applying the same reasoning to personal relations. Employee/employer relations are governed by a contract and so are marriages. As long as all parties adhere to the obligations spelled out in their respective contracts, no one should complain.

So we have couple A and couple B. Husband A cheats on wife A. Wife A files for divorce. Is wife B justified in divorcing husband B?
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Braininvat on February 8th, 2017, 7:57 pm 

I was advocating industry-wide unions, not industry-wide strikes. Didn't say anything about the latter, and I would see no sense in striking the "good" companies.
User avatar
Braininvat
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 6776
Joined: 21 Jan 2014
Location: Black Hills


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 8th, 2017, 8:40 pm 

Braininvat » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:57 pm wrote:I was advocating industry-wide unions, not industry-wide strikes. Didn't say anything about the latter, and I would see no sense in striking the "good" companies.


But that's what happens as a direct result of allowing one union to represent all workers in an industry, instead of limiting a union to negotiating with one employer only, for the benefit of the workers of that company.

They're usually called "sympathy strikes". I suppose the argument could be made that since it is so easy for husbands to cheat on their wives, wives should organize to regain the balance of power. If you did make that argument I'm sure more than a few feminists would agree, but would it be fair to husbands that don't cheat?

It's also not fair to employers who treat their employees fairly.

You say you're not talking about industry-wide strikes, but how are industry-wide unions more powerful without the ability to shut down entire industries?
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Lomax on February 8th, 2017, 8:44 pm 

Paul Anthony » February 9th, 2017, 1:40 am wrote:
Braininvat » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:57 pm wrote:I was advocating industry-wide unions, not industry-wide strikes. Didn't say anything about the latter, and I would see no sense in striking the "good" companies.


But that's what happens as a direct result of allowing one union to represent all workers in an industry, instead of limiting a union to negotiating with one employer only, for the benefit of the workers of that company.

They're usually called "sympathy strikes". I suppose the argument could be made that since it is so easy for husbands to cheat on their wives, wives should organize to regain the balance of power. If you did make that argument I'm sure more than a few feminists would agree, but would it be fair to husbands that don't cheat?

It's also not fair to employers who treat their employees fairly.

You say you're not talking about industry-wide strikes, but how are industry-wide unions more powerful without the ability to shut down entire industries?

Easy fix. Sympathy strikes have been illegal in the UK since 1927, but cross-employer unions have not. As for how they're more powerful, they can prevent or forbid their members from crossing companies to act as scab labour.
User avatar
Lomax
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3663
Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Location: Nuneaton, UK


Re: Public vs. Private

Postby Paul Anthony on February 8th, 2017, 9:50 pm 

Lomax » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:44 pm wrote:

Easy fix. Sympathy strikes have been illegal in the UK since 1927, but cross-employer unions have not. As for how they're more powerful, they can prevent or forbid their members from crossing companies to act as scab labour.


I'm confused. Could that actually be a problem? If someone is gainfully employed, why would he want to leave his steady job to accept temporary work as a scab? I find it doubtful that such a thing has happened, so why is it necessary to prevent it?
User avatar
Paul Anthony
Resident Member
 
Posts: 5718
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Location: Gilbert, AZ


PreviousNext

Return to Political Theory

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests