Thursday, June 12, 2008

A quick semi-shorter

about unions.

Egotistical bias:

It is true that many people, especially labor unions, adopt the language of unfairness. But at least in my experience, they are more likely to complain about low wages than lack of union representation or local pollution. If the foreign workers got unions, OSHA, and stricter environmental standards, but wages fell to keep their work product competitive, how many people complaining about globalization would stop? Indeed, in the Rust Belt one does hear a fair amount of muttering about unfair competition from Alabama.
.... DC isn't part of the rust belt, Megan. Neither are tropical beaches.
More importantly, Megan really doesn't know a fucking thing about unions, does she? It's true, everyone begins with self-interest and the goal of every union chapter is the direct betterment of its members, past, present, and future. (Megan only acknowledges the present members when discussing unions, but she's fucking stupid.) However, unions also tend to have a social conscience. Perhaps not an incredibly strong one in every case, but certainly moreso than management. Megan has apparently never heard of a sympathy strike, and doesn't understand that if industrial jobs are kept in the US, where there's far more significant safety regulation and wage and hour laws (if you're not an illegal working in food processing, that is) and pollution controls, then someone in China or Vietnam or wherehaveyou isn't going to be forced off the farm by the government (yes, Megan, try a little research instead of being a tourist next time) and into a factory job that is little more than slavery. Self-interest can be enlightened, Megan, like when you pretend your dietary choices benefit the rest of the world, only real. Working for your own gain isn't always selfish, at least for people who aren't Megan McArdle.

Warning, a long rant about Megan's extended discussion of evil is on deck. I'm not positive how coherent it is, so I'm going to let timestamp weirdness put it below this post when I finish it. It'd probably be better for all if I just leave it be, but I can't call myself a Nietzschean and not chime in.


M. Bouffant said...

What would the "language of unfairness" be, exactly? Pointing out that something is unfair?

Talk about attacking the messenger.

David Nieporent said...

Of course, those people in Vietnam and China and wherehaveyou are better off in the factories, but why do you care? If hating the economically successful has a few billion casualties, well, that's the price those Chinese people will just have to be willing to pay for your economic illiteracy/misplaced sense of moral superiority.