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Who decides? The state or the individual?

 
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2006 01:49 pm
Re: Who decides? The state or the individual?
joefromchicago wrote:
You said: "On the other hand, I doubt employer and worker have a work contract in this case, as there is no consideration on Boss's part." My example of the indentured servant is a contract where there is consideration even if no wage is paid.

I interpreted your term "pay worker something" broadly -- broadly enough to cover non-pecuniary forms of compensation. Let me re-phrase my sentence: "If there is no consideration on Boss's part, there is no contract for the state to enforce against Worker."

joefromchicago wrote:
As a Lockean, though, I don't see how you can justify any program of wealth redistribution.

I think you can justify it as a side effect of a modest welfare state, one that constrains itself to assuring the survival of poor people. I think you could also argue that while any social-democratic welfare state would be unjustified in a Lockean view, the EITC is less bad than the minimum wage. The EITC infringes on the property rights of the (usually rich) people who pay them. The minimum wage infringes on the property rights of the employers who pay them, and on the liberty of both employers and workers. That makes the EITC an improvement over the minimum wage even from a Hobbesian perspective. But I admit that's not literally Hobbes, it's my personal extrapolation from Hobbes.

joefromchicago wrote:
Unless, of course, the guy with the time machine held a gun to my head. A literal gun, that is.

Fair enough. And in this case, what would your choice be, and how do you reach your decision?
0 Replies
 
Renatus5
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Oct, 2006 05:23 pm
It is fruitless to argue about Minimum Wage Laws referencing the philosophy of a long dead commentator such as Locke. It would be useful, I think, to review the ideas of authorities who are expert on Locke to see if his comments would give some insight into his thinking on the subject but I am sure that if Locke were living in the present day, when the poorest of the poor in the USA lives better than the nobility in his day, Locke would be flabbergasted.

It is far more instructive, although perhaps not more appealing, to consult the world's economists to get their input on the topic. It would appear that liberal economists might lead toward raising the minimum wage while conservative economists would tend to be against a raise in the wage. There is a great deal of material written on this subject both in the USA and the rest of the world which I will reference in another post.

I am sure that it is clear that the Minimum Wage will not be raised as long as Preident Bush is in the White House. That makes the topic strictly academic until then. If we get a Jesse Jackson clone like Barack Obama as President, we may well join the parade of Socialist nations such as France. It is devoutly hope that Senator Obama will return to his self-admitted adolescent attraction to Cocaine. Perhaps then he would be able to join Ted Kennedy on the back bench nodding off!
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 08:10 am
Re: Who decides? The state or the individual?
Thomas wrote:
joefromchicago wrote:
As a Lockean, though, I don't see how you can justify any program of wealth redistribution.

I think you can justify it as a side effect of a modest welfare state, one that constrains itself to assuring the survival of poor people. I think you could also argue that while any social-democratic welfare state would be unjustified in a Lockean view, the EITC is less bad than the minimum wage. The EITC infringes on the property rights of the (usually rich) people who pay them. The minimum wage infringes on the property rights of the employers who pay them, and on the liberty of both employers and workers. That makes the EITC an improvement over the minimum wage even from a Hobbesian perspective. But I admit that's not literally Hobbes, it's my personal extrapolation from Hobbes.

You're cherry-picking theories again. A Lockean cannot be a Hobbesian any more than he can be a utilitarian. If the EITC would be permissible in a Hobbesian state (and I am rather dubious of that), then a minimum wage law would be permissible as well. And if the EITC would be a better reallocation of wealth than a minimum wage law, that would be applying a utilitarian calculus to a non-utilitarian system. In other words, it wouldn't matter to a Hobbesian (or a Lockean) that one permissible system is somewhat better than another, as long as both are permissible.

Thomas wrote:
Fair enough. And in this case, what would your choice be, and how do you reach your decision?

Given the likelihood that I would be a lower-class individual in either Victorian Britain or Wilhelmine Germany, I would want to be the best lower-class individual possible. Since both countries had, essentially, laissez-faire economies (or, at least, laissez-faire by our standards), and Germany had some social welfare legislation, and since it really wouldn't matter to me whether I got to participate in a parliamentary democracy anyway (in any event, Germany had a wider franchise than Great Britain), and since being a lower-class individual in either country would really suck, I guess I'd choose to go back in time to Germany.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 01:22 pm
Re: Who decides? The state or the individual?
joefromchicago wrote:
You're cherry-picking theories again.

No, I typed the name of the wrong philosopher. I meant to say extrapolation from Locke.

joefromchicago wrote:
In other words, it wouldn't matter to a Hobbesian (or a Lockean) that one permissible system is somewhat better than another, as long as both are permissible.

1) That's why I called it my personal extrapolation; 2) I think it's a reasonable extrapolation: Governments are rarely absolutely acceptable or absolutely unacceptable. I'm sure there is much that Locke would have disliked about the big government of modern-day Sweden. Nevertheless, he would have had no trouble noticing the difference between it and Stalinist Russia -- and recognizing this difference as important.

Thomas wrote:
I guess I'd choose to go back in time to Germany.

Viel Gl├╝ck!
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 02:29 pm
snood wrote:
Aw jeez. Now the idjit's writing back and forth to himself.


Sure hope this f*cker hasn't bred.


Possum is like the ostracized kid on the playground who no one will play with. I almost feel sorry for him/her/it . . . almost.
0 Replies
 
Renatus5
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Oct, 2006 10:43 pm
When are you inarticulate posters going to get down to the business that should be completed on A2K? Debra L A W is obviously an Economic Moron who deals in slogans but knows almost nothing about Economics.

Dyslexic is dyslexic. He has described himself perfectly. No more need be said. He has told us why he cannot write more than two lines. He can't read, write or spell. Why? He is dyslexic--self described.

And Snod, yes, Snod. He is a special case. If he was half as brilliant as Dr,Thomas Sowell, he would post some facts and links and wouild destroy my arguments. But, he chooses to use his special ghetto name calling- Jackoff is one of his erudite adjectives. But, there is still hope for Snod. If he will read one of the wonderful essays written by Dr.Bill COsby, a brilliant African-American, he will discover why his culture of hoops, hip-hop and hos will forever consign him to the wastebasket in which he was born- The Ghetto!
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Oct, 2006 01:21 pm
Re: Who decides? The state or the individual?
joefromchicago wrote:
Suppose Worker and Boss decide that the limitations on information that they both have frequently cause them to enter into bad bargains, and so they have both freely ceded a portion of their liberty right to a third party mediator, whose job is to decide upon the terms of Worker's employment, based upon all relevant factors, including those unknown to both Worker and Boss.

I'd like to amend my earlier response to this. I already made the two points that 1) I have no problem if Worker and Boss agree to mandatory arbitration by the government, and write this into a clause of their contract. 2) I don't believe that the "social contract", which Worker and Boss agreed to by entering political society, requires this kind of mandatory arbitration. It isn't a work contract in the sense of point #1.

The point I'd like to amend is that plain vanilla contract law already remedies the more extreme cases of the problems people suggested in this thread. For example, courts can void contracts for error, concealment, fraud, and incompetence. I can imagine many scenarios where that would be the case -- for example, when a Mexican farm worker works for an English-speaking farmer, has no idea what their agreement is, and in practice is at the mercy of the farmer. I have no problem voiding this. And if the information problems you suggest in the beginning of your post occur frequently and gravely, courts would often void work contracts that way.

Also, plain vanilla contract law can deal with egregious abuses of Boss's bargaining power: if Worker proves to a court that he's done this, the court can void the work contract for being signed under duress, or undue influence, or something similar. I have no problem with any of these limitations on what Worker and Boss can agree to.

But you go further. You seem to believe that 1) the traditional restrictions of contract law do not exhaust the reasons why the government may legitimately infringe on freedom of contract. You also seem to believe that 2) the legislature may prejudge that employers so frequently abuse their bargaining powers to put workers under duress, that they so frequently conceal facts abut the job, and that workers are so frequently so uninformed as to be practically incometent, that low-wage work contracts are void a priori. These are the two points where I get off the boat. I do believe that all legitimate restrictions are contained inthe usual constraints of contract law, and that you can't apply these constraints without looking at the facts of the individual case. To enforce them legitimately, I feel someone first ought to prove to a court that they actually apply.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 6 Nov, 2006 09:24 pm
Re: Who decides? The state or the individual?
joefromchicago wrote:
This is a continuation of another discussion, but I'd like to start by addressing the basic philosophical point first. To do so, let's examine this situation:

Worker is looking for a job and Boss is looking to hire someone. We can assume that Worker, all things considered, would prefer to work for the highest wage and the fewest hours, whereas Boss, all things considered, would prefer to hire someone for the lowest wage and the most hours. Now, suppose also that the state is considering a law that both sets the minimum wage at which an employee may be paid as well as the maximum hours that an employee may work. Without the law in place, however, we can assume that Boss and Worker might negotiate a deal which would fall short of the law's minimum wage limit or exceed the law's maximum hour limit.

In this situation, who should make the decision regarding Worker's wages and hours:
Worker and Boss, negotiating between themselves
,
or the state, through its minimum wage/maximum hour legislation?

I hold the personal FREEDOM of boss, employee
and the free market,
in the highest admiration, esteem and affection.
America did not get rich,
nor free, by being socialist.

Patrick Henry put it well when he said:
" I know not what course others may take;
but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! "
HE knew what it means to be an American
David
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Nov, 2006 04:59 pm
Re: Who decides? The state or the individual?
Thomas wrote:
I'd like to amend my earlier response to this. I already made the two points that 1) I have no problem if Worker and Boss agree to mandatory arbitration by the government, and write this into a clause of their contract. 2) I don't believe that the "social contract", which Worker and Boss agreed to by entering political society, requires this kind of mandatory arbitration. It isn't a work contract in the sense of point #1.

To be clear, I never said that Worker and Boss were required to submit to an outside mediator. Rather, I said that they both chose to submit to state mediation voluntarily because they viewed it in their best interests to do so.

Thomas wrote:
The point I'd like to amend is that plain vanilla contract law already remedies the more extreme cases of the problems people suggested in this thread. For example, courts can void contracts for error, concealment, fraud, and incompetence. I can imagine many scenarios where that would be the case -- for example, when a Mexican farm worker works for an English-speaking farmer, has no idea what their agreement is, and in practice is at the mercy of the farmer. I have no problem voiding this. And if the information problems you suggest in the beginning of your post occur frequently and gravely, courts would often void work contracts that way.

No doubt that's the case today. The question, though, is whether the state should be able to void such contracts.

Thomas wrote:
Also, plain vanilla contract law can deal with egregious abuses of Boss's bargaining power: if Worker proves to a court that he's done this, the court can void the work contract for being signed under duress, or undue influence, or something similar. I have no problem with any of these limitations on what Worker and Boss can agree to.

Is it undue influence if Boss is the only employer in town, or the only employer in an industry? One person's "duress" may be another's bargaining leverage.

Thomas wrote:
But you go further. You seem to believe that 1) the traditional restrictions of contract law do not exhaust the reasons why the government may legitimately infringe on freedom of contract. You also seem to believe that 2) the legislature may prejudge that employers so frequently abuse their bargaining powers to put workers under duress, that they so frequently conceal facts abut the job, and that workers are so frequently so uninformed as to be practically incometent, that low-wage work contracts are void a priori. These are the two points where I get off the boat. I do believe that all legitimate restrictions are contained inthe usual constraints of contract law, and that you can't apply these constraints without looking at the facts of the individual case. To enforce them legitimately, I feel someone first ought to prove to a court that they actually apply.

(1) Governments infringe on the freedom of contract all the time. Whether they should infringe on that freedom is an open question.

(2) Of course the legislature pre-judges the bargaining situation between Worker and Boss. All laws are, in some fashion or another, simply pre-judgments of situations. When the law says that a driver is not supposed to run a red light, it has already pre-judged that situation as being particularly dangerous in general, even though, in many specific cases, running a red light would not lead to any unfavorable consequences. It is no defense, then, for the driver to say that the intersection was deserted and that, by running the red light, he benefitted himself while no one else suffered any detriment. Likewise, the traditional constraints on contractual rights that you seem to favor, such as limits on the rights of minors to enter into contracts, are no different in this respect from the limits on the rights of Worker and Boss. The legislature's ability to pre-judge situations is inseparable from the legislature's ability to make laws. If it cannot do the former, then it cannot do the latter.
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Nov, 2006 08:28 pm
The way I see it all....IMNSHO...

No system is fundamentally right. All are wrong, as democracy itself is wrong (just not as wrong as the others, to misquote Churchill)

However, democracy and free market principles are the most likely to work because they are the most compatible with nature. Human nature, and nature as a whole. This is why socialist ideals are sound in principle and much fairer, yet fail....while free market economies survive and prosper to the greater good of all. Survival of the fittest is trumps. Not fair, just true. Not the way it should be, just the way it is.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Nov, 2006 09:38 am
Re: Who decides? The state or the individual?
joefromchicago wrote:
Thomas wrote:
I'd like to amend my earlier response to this. I already made the two points that 1) I have no problem if Worker and Boss agree to mandatory arbitration by the government, and write this into a clause of their contract. 2) I don't believe that the "social contract", which Worker and Boss agreed to by entering political society, requires this kind of mandatory arbitration. It isn't a work contract in the sense of point #1.

To be clear, I never said that Worker and Boss were required to submit to an outside mediator. Rather, I said that they both chose to submit to state mediation voluntarily because they viewed it in their best interests to do so.

I'm going to amend my own response here.

If Worker and Boss choose a third party to mediate their contract negotiations, then it really doesn't matter whether that third party is a disinterested bystander or the state. As long as the parties have freely chosen the third party, basic contractual principles apply.

On the other hand, suppose that Worker and Boss, rather than having contractually chosen the state to act as a third-party mediator, have instead contractually chosen a third party to enter into a class of binding regulations, including regulations that affect their contract negotiations, called "laws." That third party (called "the legislature") has therefore been empowered, by means of the fundamental social contract, to regulate the basic framework for the negotiations between Worker and Boss.

According to Locke, Worker and Boss are bound to follow those regulations, because Worker and Boss are contractually bound to follow them. As I pointed out in an earlier post, Locke viewed the consent to be governed by the legislature's enactments as equivalent to the people's consent to be governed by their representatives. Thus, if Worker and Boss have already agreed to let their representatives make certain decisions for them, and the legislature has decided to act in the area of employment contracts, then Worker and Boss have already bound themselves to follow whatever the legislature enacts, as long as those laws do not infringe on their basic rights.
0 Replies
 
minipb
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Dec, 2006 07:31 pm
Re: Who decides? The state or the individual?
The state!

I would follow what the state had for us if the state had a system of telling us what we should do.

It's a good idea when you think about it

Then there would be peace on earth at last!
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Dec, 2006 12:38 am
Re: Who decides? The state or the individual?
minipb wrote:
The state!

Quote:
I would follow what the state had for us
if the state had a system of telling us what we should do.

It's a good idea when you think about it


So the state having a SYSTEM,
is the determining characteristic,
as to whether its a good idea.
I 'm thinking of Hitler 's national socialists and Stalin 's international socialists.
Thay had systems,
so I guess thay had good ideas.


Quote:
Then there would be peace on earth at last!

Yeah, because states never go to war with one another, right ?
David
0 Replies
 
 

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