People like to blame business for various ways they “mistreat” their employees. But if we step back and think about it for a second, we would realize that the alternative is that the business doesn’t exist at all. So really when someone argues that a business isn’t doing enough for their employees, they are arguing that the employees would be better off unemployed than, say, employed with “sub par health coverage”.
Saying “business should supply the best health coverage to all their employees” is like saying, business should not be allowed to exist within the borders of America unless they are willing and able to provide their employees with certain things that third parties decided are necessary for the workers. Why is it so easy for people to accept that kind of force in the marketplace? And are people really willing to accept the alternative?
The alternative would be that the company is not started, employs no one, and therefore cannot offer “inferior employment benefits”. Or would the rich also be criticised for not starting companies? Because here’s what happens: a company is started for the purpose of delivering a product or service for a profit. The company offers jobs which people are free to apply for, or not. No one applies? The salary and benefits increase. Everyone wants the job? The company doesn’t have to offer as much. And no one has to take that job.
Yes, contrary to popular belief, American businesses don’t actually raid poor villages and towns in order to enslave and exploit employees. Employment in the U.S. is still a choice; the employee gets to decide what skills to learn, which companies to apply to, where to live etc. He can say “no thanks” to a job offer, and he can quit and seek other opportunities.
So people get angry that a company has a better bargaining chip than a job seeker? People actually get mad that there are so many benefits of employment that job seekers have to “take it or leave it” when it comes to a job offer? People actually look past the fact that a business is providing a product, jobs, tax revenue, and argue that the business is not doing enough? And people are so bothered by these facts they want to use the force of government so that if you are a business in America, you must offer a certain trade to your employees for their skills and labor, without getting anything extra in return.
So my question is: is it more moral for a company to shut its doors than to forgo employee health coverage? Would we rather a company stop its production, fire all employees, and dismantle the business, rather than see a company offer “sub-par” or no health insurance to their employees? Or should we also use the force of government to keep businesses open against their will? (Hint: Sometimes that’s referred to as fascism).
Maybe everyone with a certain amount of savings should be forced to start a company or invest in one, since after all, people need jobs. So why not just force companies to open, and then force them to offer all sorts of benefits to their employees, while forcing them to keep their production up and forcing them to keep their prices down?
Or maybe we could just accept the fact that free transactions with mutual benefit absent of force will result in all different types of employment and all different types of compensation for that employment. Can we accept that someone might want a job with no extra benefits instead of no job at all? Or as third parties, do we know better than the employer, and know better than the employee, so we have a duty to step in and “help” the employee and punish that greedy company?
You know, the greedy company whose founder risked his or her money, time, and effort to build a business, with the possibility of failure, bankruptcy, and disappointment around every corner. The greedy business that only grew because investors believed in the founders’ ability and skill, took a risk with their money, and now need to be paid back in order to invest in and create future companies. The greedy business who provides livelihood for hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people who trade their labor voluntarily for what is offered by the company, yet doesn’t have to be offered at all. That greedy company who pays taxes to pave the roads, to pay the welfare benefits, and to fund state propaganda that “educates” the people about the evils of free market transactions and agreements absent of force.
Or we could continue on the same path that 99.5% of human history has followed of allowing government to force individuals and groups of individuals (as in, companies) to provide certain things for other individuals, without any benefit to the former. This same old, familiar, cliché, widespread, establishment idea that somehow the government can solve all our problems and protect us from scary things–the idea supported by “counter-culture rebels” who are so anti-establishment that they support the most historically established entity on earth: coercive centralized government.
Well maybe my mind’s not open enough to accept the same old subjugation that has been going on for thousands of years. I guess I’m just stuck in the past for considering the possibility of market based societal organization absent government force–which has never fully been tried before. I guess I’m just too afraid of change which makes me want to keep the same stale system we have always lived by in one form or another.
Newsflash: promoting coercive government to “solve problems” is not a new idea, and it’s not anti-establishment; it’s a cause without a rebel.