Like us on Facebook


Follow us on Twitter





Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 16 to 23 of 23
  1. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    4,010
    vCash
    1500
    Quote Originally Posted by gcoll View Post
    There isn't a lack of a meaningful choice.

    I will never be able to understand the view you are expressing here. Simply washing your hands of an ugly situation, doesn't make the ugly situation any better. If you remove those sweat shops, you don't make those kids lives any better. In fact, you make them worse. You keep that illegal immigrant out of this country, you aren't doing him any favors.

    So. Basically I would ask. In your world you would prevent a company from opening "sweat shops". What good have you done? Who is better off because of what you have done?
    There most certainly is a lack of a meaningful choice.

    Now I know that's conclusory, and just a recitation of my point, but perhaps my response to the rest will help ...


    This isn't "washing my hands of an ugly situation;" it's precisely the opposite. I don't want to remove illegal immigrants. I don't want to close down shops.

    I want to give illegal immigrants [at least some] rights and a path to citizenship. I want "sweat shops" to become "UDHR-compliant shops" (sadly, not the same ring to it). That's the "lifting the floor" I referred to.

    Your question is virtually impossible to answer (for instance, who am I?) ... Would I force a company operating a "sweat shop" to raise its standards? Hell yes. We've done that in America. Would I prevent "sweat shops" from opening? Hell yes. Would I prevent a company from opening a shop that pays its workers incredibly meager sums? Not necessarily.

    I understand your implicit point about the jobs flowing to the country of the next least resistance, the next biggest human rights offender. That's a practical issue and a huge one. But that doesn't mean we just throw up our hands, does it?

    As for "who is better off?" ... First, workers would have rights, both in name and in reality. And benefits flow beyond just those directly affected. An increased legal status and better legal protection for my neighbor validates my legal status and my legal protection. Otherwise, ****, what do I have? If a MNE can disenfranchise Cambodians, why can't it disenfranchise me?

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    21,592
    vCash
    1500
    Quote Originally Posted by philab
    Would I force a company operating a "sweat shop" to raise its standards? Hell yes.
    And what does raising the standards do?

    Imposes more labor costs on the business, right? And what does that lead to? Why is the company there in the first place? Even if it doesn't force the company to close its doors and move elsewhere, they hire less. So you "raise the floor" so to speak, but a ton of people fall through the cracks.

    What happens to the people who fell through the cracks? The girls end up in child prostitution. The boys end up on the street, or in a job even more unpleasant than factory work.

    Quote Originally Posted by philab
    As for "who is better off?" ... First, workers would have rights, both in name and in reality.
    But you ignore who you have made worse off.

    As far as the "path to citizenship" goes. We have one. It's called legally entering the country. This "path to citizenship" is insane to me. If you have suggestions for how to fix the current laws, be my guest. But stacking more **** on top of an already too tall pile of **** seems crazy to me.

    People look at the immigration system and say, "You know what this needs? More bureaucracy!"


    -eta: But the thing I find odd. We're starting this story in the middle. Why does the United States have so much, and other countries so little? Why is the standard of living in the United States higher than the places where sweat shops are found?
    Last edited by gcoll; 09-28-2010 at 11:12 PM.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    4,010
    vCash
    1500
    Can we change the name of this thread or something? Its origins in such stupidity bother me.

    Quote Originally Posted by gcoll View Post
    And what does raising the standards do?

    Imposes more labor costs on the business, right? And what does that lead to? Why is the company there in the first place? Even if it doesn't force the company to close its doors and move elsewhere, they hire less. So you "raise the floor" so to speak, but a ton of people fall through the cracks.

    What happens to the people who fell through the cracks? The girls end up in child prostitution. The boys end up on the street, or in a job even more unpleasant than factory work.
    Yeah, that's the stock argument against minimum wages. Not really much new there ...

    You misunderstand me also. This isn't necessarily a wages issue. This is a working conditions issue. It's a legal avenues issue. It's a "What if I get my hand chopped off because my boss refused to spend $10 dollars repairing the saw?" issue. That's why I answered, "Would I prevent a company from opening a shop that pays its workers incredibly meager sums?" with, "Not necessarily."

    For some reason you pretend that sweat shops bring us to a fully employed populace. What about the guy who gets his hand chopped off from my example earlier? What about the guy whose back gives out at 45 after 30 years in the factory? You think you've provided the people on the fringe with jobs where there would otherwise be none, but in reality all you've done is completely liquified the entire workforce. Now the entire workforce is at peril and not just those who were cut due to "increased standards." No one is safe when an employer can fire you with no consequences. To exacerbate the problem, virtually all developing countries have true population pyramids (more children, less teens, even less adults, even less elderly ...). In other words, there's always 100 10- or 15-year-olds who are in better shape than your sorry *** after 10 years in a sweat shop. That the nature of things to a degree, I understand, but it's also patently absurd to deny these people rights just because it comports more with "free market" economics.

    Listen, I understand and appreciate your arguments fully. I just think you've slipped into a black-and-white view of things here. The principles underscoring your arguments have loads of merit, but they also hit a point of worthlessness somewhere along the line. Money and power have a natural tendency to coalesce. At some point that coalescence needs to be slowed or else there's no more "free market" and no more democratic government. That's why monopolies are undesirable, it's why we have the Sherman Act, it's why our government has three branches and over 500 Congressmen ... And it's why you can't let MNEs stomp around without any consequences. There needs to be some floor, some minimum standard of conduct (and possibly pay), for the workers or else they're entirely left to the whims of the MNE.

    As far as the "path to citizenship" goes. We have one. It's called legally entering the country. This "path to citizenship" is insane to me. If you have suggestions for how to fix the current laws, be my guest. But stacking more **** on top of an already too tall pile of **** seems crazy to me.

    People look at the immigration system and say, "You know what this needs? More bureaucracy!"
    Even you admit that that path is ****ed.

    We have people working in our country that are here illegally. They aren't going anywhere. Even those that do go "somewhere" will be replaced by more. At some point, the pride or the obstinacy or the whatever needs to subside and there needs to be a realization that these people are deserving of some sort of legal protection.

    Again, this isn't necessarily a wages issue.

    -eta: But the thing I find odd. We're starting this story in the middle. Why does the United States have so much, and other countries so little? Why is the standard of living in the United States higher than the places where sweat shops are found?
    Well, that's a loaded question because the SOL in the US was never as low in relative terms as the countries you refer to ... but it's due in some part to slavery and to 19th-century versions of "sweat shops." I know you don't want to return to those days.

    Yes, the US was among the first to go through this "experience." And eventually we learned the folly of our ways. Just because other countries haven't gone through the experience yet doesn't mean that the experience is suddenly flawless or desirable again, does it?

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    21,592
    vCash
    1500
    Quote Originally Posted by philab
    Yeah, that's the stock argument against minimum wages. Not really much new there
    It's a really good argument though.

    The reason those people work in ****** conditions isn't because they lack minimum wage laws. Poverty doesn't exist due to a lack of government regulation.

    The quickest way, and really the only way, to defeat poverty is the free market system.

    Quote Originally Posted by philab
    For some reason you pretend that sweat shops bring us to a fully employed populace
    No. That's absurd.

    I think that free trade is a good policy to have. I think that capitalism leads nations out of poverty and into the modern world. So I think those sweat shops one day lead to a society that can enact child labor laws, and provide safer work environments. I think your view slows this entire process down in the long run, and makes people worse off in the short run as well.

    I don't lack empathy for people in poverty stricken parts of the world. I don't blame the MNE's for their situation though. I usually blame governments.

    Quote Originally Posted by philab
    Even you admit that that path is ****ed.
    That's an argument to fix the current path, not add a new path which further incentivizes illegally entering the country, and will no doubt also be ****ed.

    But the immigration issue is interesting to me. I think that the restrictiveness of a country's immigration laws relates back to capitalism once again. That's really the issue. People are trying to protect their government benefits. If I had my druthers, I'd slash those benefits and have a very open immigration policy.

    Of course, I'd also ramp up border security. But that's a separate issue than immigration. Related though.

    Quote Originally Posted by philab
    Yes, the US was among the first to go through this "experience." And eventually we learned the folly of our ways. Just because other countries haven't gone through the experience yet doesn't mean that the experience is suddenly flawless or desirable again, does it?
    It's not flawless or desirable. There's just no better alternative.
    Last edited by gcoll; 09-29-2010 at 07:15 PM.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    4,180
    vCash
    1500
    Sounds as if Aunt Zeituni has learned the lesson well, play the victim card....

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    4,010
    vCash
    1500
    You omitted some of my more cogent arguments. It's not necessary to respond to everything, of course, but the meat of my argument is gone here ...

    Quote Originally Posted by gcoll View Post
    It's a really good argument though.
    It's a fine argument, yes. But it's not the end of the discussion; it's not the trump card. There are other considerations.

    That's what I keep trying to explain. The analysis doesn't end at "What best comports with free market principles?" But that's what you seem to be doing.

    I mean, what do you think about the Sherman Act, about intellectual property laws, about regulations on industrial dumping and pollution? All those things create barriers to free trade also ...

    No. That's absurd.
    But that's the entirety of your argument against minimum wages (which, again, is not exactly what I'm advocating). According to classical economic theory, a minimum wage will reduce employment and that's bad. Is that the argument or am I wrong?

    Minimum wages also tend to increase productivity. They also increase the standard of living for a vast number of people. You're worried about kids selling drugs and girls going into prostitution ... imagine if minimum wage laws are lifted and the market equilibrium for menial jobs drops fourfold. You don't think that sends kids into the drug game and girls into prostitution?

    There's a limit to everything, of course. And I'm never the one who's arguing for a higher minimum wage. My point is that there are other considerations; it's not all "free market, end of story."

    I think that free trade is a good policy to have. I think that capitalism leads nations out of poverty and into the modern world. So I think those sweat shops one day lead to a society that can enact child labor laws, and provide safer work environments. I think your view slows this entire process down in the long run, and makes people worse off in the short run as well.

    I don't lack empathy for people in poverty stricken parts of the world. I don't blame the MNE's for their situation though. I usually blame governments.
    I'm lost. We're not seriously arguing the merits of capitalism here, are we? I'm not advocating an end to capitalism here, far from it.

    Pure capitalism doesn't exist in the world because it's impractical. We're arguing over shades of gray here, and trust me, my shade is within the definition of practical capitalism.

    As for the bold: Sweat shops are an indication of a lack of human rights and legal protection. When people don't have rights or legal protection, their only recourse is to use their numbers and revolt. That's not a good foundation for climbing out of the third world cellar.

    But even assuming that completely free trade is the way out of the third world, it comes at an enormous cost. It's reaching the top by climbing a pyramid of the trampled. That's Social Darwinism, is it not?


    And not all government action is the same. There's a difference between welfare programs, bureaucracy, etc. and laws on working conditions and human rights.

    That's an argument to fix the current path, not add a new path which further incentivizes illegally entering the country, and will no doubt also be ****ed.
    By your own admission, those immigrants came here because there wasn't much else choice. People don't want to leave their homes and move to a foreign country with a different language and a mostly unwelcoming population only to run from the law and make virtually nothing. They do it because they have virtually no other choice. The least we can do is give them some sort of rights.

    But the immigration issue is interesting to me. I think that the restrictiveness of a country's immigration laws relates back to capitalism once again. That's really the issue. People are trying to protect their government benefits. If I had my druthers, I'd slash those benefits and have a very open immigration policy.
    We're not very different. I've been trying to explain that. I think the difference -- at please forgive how this may sound -- is that you've become too locked into one mindset. Everything is either black or white, free market or evil.

    If you'll pardon the aside, that's why I find modern libertarianism so damn ridiculous. I have a natural aversion to government too, but there are situations where only governmental action suffices. There are situations where people need rights. There are situations where free market principles undermine the free market altogether.


    Take a look at the Prisoner's Dilemma if you never have. The rational decision for the two prisoners is to act against the best interests of the other. But what happens? Both end up worse off. Only with communication, with some degree of regulation, can the prisoners minimize their years in prison.

    It's not flawless or desirable. There's just no better alternative.
    I'm talking about affording rights to people without any. Maybe you and I just differ, but that's a good in itself about as much as anything in the world.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    21,592
    vCash
    1500
    I can't respond to everything. I gotta try and keep my post of somewhat manageable size. It's not because I want to avoid the crux of your argument. I skip the monopoly stuff because that's tricky for me

    Quote Originally Posted by philab
    Minimum wages also tend to increase productivity. They also increase the standard of living for a vast number of people. You're worried about kids selling drugs and girls going into prostitution ... imagine if minimum wage laws are lifted and the market equilibrium for menial jobs drops fourfold. You don't think that sends kids into the drug game and girls into prostitution?
    Enact minimum wage laws in Haiti. What happens? I can tell you what happens, because they do have minimum wage laws in Haiti, and it's still ****ing Haiti.

    Drop minimum wage laws in the US and you'd have a higher rate of employment among young people in inner cities. Many would obviously still get into crime (not drugs though, they're legal in my world), but at a lower rate than the current system.

    As for the bold: Sweat shops are an indication of a lack of human rights and legal protection. When people don't have rights or legal protection, their only recourse is to use their numbers and revolt. That's not a good foundation for climbing out of the third world cellar
    Yeah. Sweat shops are an indication of a ****ed up society.

    I don't put the blame for that on the MNE who is offering the people in the ****ed up society a better alternative than they otherwise would have.

    You view it as a human rights violation because the alternative doesn't meet a minimum standard. You think a minimum standard would raise the society up. I don't buy that at all.

    You seem to be arguing that there is a role for government. I tend to agree with that. But just not so much on this issue. And even when there is a role for government, you have to recognize the costs. Can the government come in and enforce some minimum standard? Sure. But I doubt it will have much positive impact.
    Last edited by gcoll; 09-29-2010 at 09:45 PM.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    4,010
    vCash
    1500
    Quote Originally Posted by gcoll View Post
    I can't respond to everything. I gotta try and keep my post of somewhat manageable size. It's not because I want to avoid the crux of your argument. I skip the monopoly stuff because that's tricky for me
    Sorry for the delay, been out of town.

    I understand you not being able to respond to everything. The point about monopolies, the Sherman Act, IP laws, etc. is to provide some near-universally recognized examples of the inherent dangers in allowing money and/or power to coalesce unfettered. They are exceptions to the laissez-faire rule (if we can call it that). I was looking for your opinion is all -- trying to see how steadfastly you hold to free trade principles.

    Enact minimum wage laws in Haiti. What happens? I can tell you what happens, because they do have minimum wage laws in Haiti, and it's still ****ing Haiti.

    Drop minimum wage laws in the US and you'd have a higher rate of employment among young people in inner cities. Many would obviously still get into crime (not drugs though, they're legal in my world), but at a lower rate than the current system.
    Well, Haiti has much, much bigger problems than a minimum wage law. I'm not necessarily advocating minimum wage laws, remember, and I'm certainly not pretending minimum wage laws are the cure-all for third-world ills.

    As for the US example: you're only looking at one side of things. No minimum wage laws mean increased access to jobs, sure (at least according to classical economic theory). That pulls kids out of crime is your argument. But remember, you've just taken the wages of X-number of working kids and reduced them (since the minimum wage, by definition, artificially inflated wages). You don't think that will send kids into crime? I mean, my god, how many middle-class pretenders do we have now? Imagine if that number increased.

    Yeah. Sweat shops are an indication of a ****ed up society.

    I don't put the blame for that on the MNE who is offering the people in the ****ed up society a better alternative than they otherwise would have.
    You don't put blame on a MNE that uses and discards human beings like parts? You don't put blame on a MNE that cares nothing for the well-being of its workers?

    Let me note that I don't find MNEs or corporations "evil." And I don't blame corporate directors and managers for the ills that often are incident to their decisions. The point is that MNEs can be dangerous if left unchecked. They are big, faceless, cold entities with a single goal -- profit for shareholders -- and foster an almost complete lack of accountability. That's just the way corporations work, for better or worse. That's not to say, however, that a corporation's activities are beyond the reach of government. If you believe that a government has a responsibility to protect the people it represents, then it must, at times, impede the natural course of corporations.

    You view it as a human rights violation because the alternative doesn't meet a minimum standard. You think a minimum standard would raise the society up. I don't buy that at all.
    I don't necessarily think a minimum standard would raise the society up. I think that people deserve some degree of rights and some degree of legal recourse and legal protection. That, to me, is immutable. First world, third world, developed, developing, declining, or decaying, I don't care. If a government is not going to provide its people with these things, then I see no use for government in any form. This is not a radical view.

    But there's also a concern for the ability of the individual to move freely among social classes. I mean, that's one of the greatest things about the US; it's why immigrants have landed on our shores in droves for the past 200 years. When the lesser among us are denied rights, they are condemned to their social statuses. It's a caste system. I don't buy that trampling the weak is the only, or the best, way to the "First World."

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •