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Employment Obligation?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Commodore, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    Stop letting TF drive omg. You need:

    1) Sufficient protection from wrongful dismissal (as warpus said)
    2) A sufficient social safety net (e.g. unemployment benefits, child support for low income families, universal healthcare, etc) that
    2a) alleviates the suffering caused by unemployment/being fired
    2b) increases worker bargaining power as they no longer fear unemployment as much
    3) Retraining programs, help relocating, etc that reduce frictional unemployment
    4) A bunch of other stuff that most European countries have already but I'm sure I've forgotten.

    The goal of all of this is to create a labour market that is flexible, but reduce suffering for those who cannot find suitable employment. Flexible labour markets are important not only for employers (the benefits for whom are too often touted), but also for employees. If you look at Youth Unemployment, you'll find that rigid labour markets produce far more unemployed young people than flexible ones. The reason for this is simply an in vs out problem -- the same problem that plagued closed shops. People who are protected by rigid laws against "at will" dismissal (i.e. those who otherwise would be fired due to performance or simply cost saving measures by the company, but would not be protected under "unfair dismissal" laws as they are not being discriminated against) keep their jobs at the expense of young people or people who are capable of performing the same job for lower wages. Simultaneously, those protected workers can't get new jobs elsewhere (perhaps jobs they are better suited for, or higher paid, higher productivity jobs that will maintain their lifestyles in a net value-adding way), because other companies are in the same boat: in order to hire one worker they have to fire another, but can't because they are protected. Rigid, inflexible employment laws let you have this one job -- but prevent you from having ten other, better jobs instead. It only benefits the people who are already as high as they can go, and disadvantages those right at the bottom, who are prevented from rising to their fullest potential.

    Flexible labour markets alleviate this problem and allow workers to move to jobs that are best suited to them. Combine this with a strong social safety net that helps workers by reducing the disincentive to quit and increasing their bargaining power and you have an ideal liberal labour market. This conversation is too often couched as employer vs worker, flexibility vs worker protection. But that's the wrong conversation to have. The way to protect workers is to build a strong social safety net, not to lock people into unproductive employment or even more unproductive unemployment. The fact is, we need flexible labour markets, and we need a strong social safety net. We need both.
     
  2. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton One. And many.

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    All good points, but what I like about less flexible labor markets - that is labor markets with sophisticated dismissal protection - is that it puts the employed less at the mercy of the employee. And that is a major theme for me because the social relations of your work-life have an immense impact on your life quality. And empowerment of the employed tends to improve the quality of those relations.
    However, I still also agree that to kinda force people to stick together is bad in many ways. It is a very unideal solution.
    And I think your answer_ strong social security - is a very good answer. But to be strong enough to really empower employees that they don't feel at the mercy of a fire-at-will-policy it would IMO have to be really strong. The security we have is - so at least my impression - mostly not designed to empower employees but to help make them a transition if they have to. An example is that benefits may depend on weather you were fired or quit. Or that benefits are only available after a longer period of having worked without unemployment.
    A real empowerment is I think only provided by a system of unconditional income. If we had that, I would be absolutely fine with all the flexibility in the world.

    As things are though, it seems to me that dismissal protection and social security go up or down in tandem.
     
  3. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    I agree, I don't think people are willing to risk losing their jobs, and a big part of that is the inadequacy of social welfare in this country. To the best of my knowledge, Nordic countries like Sweden and Denmark do it much better. Their labour market policies and social welfare policies are aligned very well, from what I've read.
     
  4. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    I mean, for what it's worth, I do agree with Mise that a flexible labour market is good for workers. It would go some way to solving our problem of employer's setting unreasonable demands for output, because people are in a much better position to tell him to stick the job up his arse. I just don't see any of this coming about in the absence of a serious trade union movement. Liberal governments have no particular record of implementing policies like these simply because they're a Good Idea, but only when not implementing them looks to be more painful.

    The sad thing is, at this point, "a serious trade union movement" is probably as fantastical as a rationally benevolent liberal government. Which is basically why I'm an anarchist.
     
  5. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Nope, I took economics in college. I just didn't get mentally stuck on Austrian economics 101.

    You know why there's no permanent increase in unemployment? People die. Some people become impoverished and eventually they leave this world, reducing the unemployment figures.

    That suffering and poverty is their lot while they're alive is not a problem to you money-counting Scrooges, though. But you kinda claimed that there's little or no problem at all. That's not true. A whole lot of people have problems.
     
  6. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    "If they are going to die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population!"

    -Luiz, probably.
     
  7. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Also, there's unemployment and there's unemployment masking itself as underemployment. Sure, some people who are rendered obsolete take on new jobs. But frequently, that also means accepting a dramatic decline in living standards and chronic poverty. And that can happen while people like luiz report full employment!
     
  8. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    It's sometimes worth remembering that Keynes, no utopian, predicted that automation would have us all working sixteen hour [edit:]days weeks [Jesus, was that ever getting it wrong] by now. Whatever happened to that?

    You can say that people's demand has increased alongside productivity, I suppose, but that's not entirely self-evident. Not enough so that we shouldn't wonder why the average working week continues to exceed 40 hours in the US and the UK, and 35 even in layabout, socialist France. Is this the techno-capitalist utopia that we've been promised?
     
  9. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    I don't follow Austrian economics either, so you're attacking a strawman. I wonder what sort of economics you studied to end up with your extremist and discredited views that are not taken seriously in any economics department.

    And no, if it was a matter of people dying we would see huge and persistent increases in unemployment in periods of rapid automation, and fact is we don't. Your hypothesis is not backed by data, plain and simple. Periods of fast increase in productivity are periods of fast increase in prosperity for everyone - in fact in the long productivity boom in the decades that followed WW2 the poor made more gains than the rich. Where was this huge unemployment you hypothesize in the 1950's and 60's, when literally millions of menial jobs were rendered obsolete as machine replaced men in the fields and several industries?

    So try sticking to analyzing actual data, and give up the Marxist tradition of simply making stuff up.
     
  10. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton One. And many.

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    Arhghtdhfdfdjhsdj.... !!!!!

    What?

    I mean I get the benefits of a flexible labor market. After all I just agreed with Mise on this.
    But those benefits are no actual solution in themselves for almost anything. Take a look at the United States if you care to witness what it means. Which is - yes - a more dynamic economic. It also means a deterioration of the social relations I talked about (sadly not captured by traditional economic indicators) as well as a hurry-up of the split of "success" and "failure" of rich and poor.

    Okay, I admit, it is hard to actually pin those indicators down to a historically unique actual economy. But I think it gives enough food for thought to be more concerned than "Yeah that works"
     
  11. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton One. And many.

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    Since we are citing classic economist. Let me refer to Ricardo who predicted that similar to house-maids of rich dudes increasingly more people will be directed towards fundamental superfluous work basically to keep them busy.

    Sorry for double post
     
  12. Pegasus_77

    Pegasus_77 Prince of the Wealth

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    If it is a private company, the owner has every right to do anything he/she wants. Nobody has the right to stop his/her business actions
     
  13. Pegasus_77

    Pegasus_77 Prince of the Wealth

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    If the authority of that town intervenes to stop me, I will just move my factory away. In this age where technology matters, any counter-productive moves are irrational and short-sighted.
    And, the industries of a place shall be diverse so as to prevent the collapse of the sole supporting industry. If the government fails to have a vision like that, it is mediocre and shall be replaced.
     
  14. Willem

    Willem Deity

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    He/she doesn't have the right to discriminate or be abusive, etc.
     
  15. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    I agree - so long as the owner has not incorporated or otherwise formed an entity that grants state-sanctioned limited liability.
     
  16. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Retired Moderator

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    On a pedantic note, the state isn't necessary for limited liability - if it withdrew it, the company could simply make contracts limiting its liability with those who do business with it. The state has no bargaining power here.
     
  17. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Business owners should be allowed to produce and sell child pornography?

    A daring position.
     
  18. Old Hippy

    Old Hippy Deity

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    thats rather a moot point.
    at present shareholders get a 'get out of jail free card', because the state has allowed them complete freedom to take profits from a company for years, but have no responsibility to repay debts if at a future time the company goes broke...

    if there was no Government set up only idiots would do bussiness on a contract that said " and if I don't meet this contract, you will not mind at all" " and shall only be liable for 10 cents in the dollar" what bank would lend money on those terms...
     
  19. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Retired Moderator

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    There wouldn't be a choice, because no business would do business on any other terms. Everyone would set up a limited liability contract anyway. I'm not sure whether it would even be illegal for them to agree to do so. Even under limited liability, the company still has a strong incentive to fulfil its contracts - what corporation would fail to do all in its power to meet the contract and be paid rather than going bust, paying ten cents on the dollar and losing all of its future business?
     
  20. Old Hippy

    Old Hippy Deity

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    and the first company like old loyds to offer unlimited liablity would then become a market leader and and make companies choose between doing bussiness with someone who does not want to honour debts if they go broke and someone that will 'try to honour debts, with all their assets' if they go broke...
     

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