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Monday, September 7, 2009

Only Libertarians Are Truly Pro Labor

On this Labor Day, let us ask who is truly Pro Labor. Is it the U.S. Democrat Party? Is it the political party in every other country that pursues an agenda of democratic socialism? I contend that only the libertarian is a friend to labor, that among all the political programs and their advocates, there is indeed no truer friend to the laborer than the libertarian.

The libertarian steadfastly and unequivocally opposes minimum wage laws- and this makes him a friend- not an enemy- of labor. Such laws act to fix the price of a commodity (labor) at an above market level, causing a decrease in the demand for that commodity. In other words, minimum wage laws create higher wages for some workers at the expense of fewer hours or job cuts for less fortunate workers.

To put things in perspective imagine if government passed such a law against another commodity. Imagine a farmer sells wheat and another sells potatoes. The government decides to help the wheat farmer make more money by setting a "minimum price" for wheat, because "he deserves a "fair price" for his wheat. The wheat farmer is now legally forbidden to sell his wheat for less than x amount.

Can you imagine what this would do to his sales? They would naturally plummet, and the potato farmer would sell more potatoes at the expense of the wheat farmer. The wheat farmer himself would have his freedom of trade restricted. Even if he wanted to sell for less so that he could compete with potatoes, he'd no longer be allowed to. Can we call such a policy Pro Wheat Farmer? Absolutely not!

Yet this is exactly what has happened with another good- labor. Our government regularly increases the "minimum price" for labor, which as you can see from the illustration is a blatantly anti-labor policy, destructive to the interests of the laborer, and then it is actually passed off as "Pro Labor!" Libertarians know better.

And can anyone call the bipartisan TARP bailout of last fall Pro Labor? Or the AIG bailout? Can anyone actually agree that it is Pro Labor to reward corrupt, over paid, corporate executives for running their companies into the ground, destroying laborers' jobs, and ruining laborers' savings by wrecking the stock values of the companies in which they invest their hard-earned money?

And to pay for it with money taxed from laborers' paychecks and printed by the Federal Reserve at the expense of devaluing the money that laborers work for and skyrocketing the prices of the goods that laborers need to buy in order to live!? And it was a Democrat-controlled Congress that passed this stinking piece of anti-labor legislation!

Can we say that the American laborer has any friend left, but among libertarians? As I have endeavored to show here, the answer is that we can not. The American laborer is friendless and beset on all sides by enemies. His one and only friend is the American libertarian.

Happy Labor Day.


  1. great post (my 2-cent rant starts below)...I've been enjoying some of the past entries recently too after discovering this gem of a blog...

    I don't think it can be pointed out too many times that part of the problem with holidays like "Labor Day" (not that there aren't things to celebrate about laborers) are the assumptions that Marxists and social "progressives" have about collective rights.

    Too often the historical framework created by the Marxists and the progressives is swallowed whole with the "American Dream" narrative. We imagine not just an individual, but a class of people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, overcoming adversity, and claiming their rights in society. Such a picture implies destiny and a hard-earned struggle to make it to the top. However, the history of labor in America is far from one-sided. Sometimes labor unions fought for good, but many other times they organized for clearly corrupt purposes or their zeal was funnelled into destruction and mayhem. Currently labor (organized labor specifically) is one of the most anti-immigration and anti-trade forces in America. They (and their political allies) assume that because Labor has achieved a position of prominence it must fully deserve that position. They see Labor Rights as a collective right and they often fail to see the individual rights of non-organized laborers, foreigners, consumers, and business owners.

    The problem with Labor Day is not that it celebrates labor, hard work, or earned success. The problem with Labor Day is that it grew out of a movement that views rights as something derived from collective action, rather than something inherent to every individual in society.

  2. Ken- thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying it!

    Excellent analysis too. I just deplore how deeply rooted in our culture and thinking the assumptions of Marxism have become.

  3. Very interesting blog site !!!

    Can't defend TARP or any of the problems you commented on. However, I wouldn't hold your breath to much on labor running to the Tea Party or Libertarianism.

    It was the free market libertarianism that let owners cut wages while keeping rents constant in thier company towns. (pullman riots)

    Before the FED came into existance, the Gov't borrowed money from JP Morgan. Do you think that may have influenced Government policy?

    You could read "How the Other Half Lives" about tenemant buildings in the late 1800's.

    Maybe Organized Labor came about because as someone once said
    "Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tactic, but constant and uniform combination NOT to raise the wages of labour above thier actual rate...We seldom hear of this combination because it is the usual, and some would say, natural state of things...They(the workmen) are desperate... who must either starve, or frighten thier masters into an immediate compliance to their demands...

    Where I see the Libertarians getting it right in economics is the production and savings matter. Trade deficits matter. The rest, not so much...

  4. Libertarian policy and free(ish) markets have unequivocally been the kindest friend laborers have ever had. Look at the average rate of return on the lending of money, then look at the average rate of return on selling one's labor, and it will quickly become plain how beneficial capitalism has been for laborers. Markets and capital investment cause wages to go up, up, up!