From LRC, Dec. 8, 2008:
Leftlibertarian.org replies to my post (rather, the post of one “Stephen Kinsella”) here. Gotta love his rant about “the crimes of capitalism” and “workers heroically staging a work-in against the unfair policies of the American system of capitalism“–they are “merely trying to get their fair share.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere (2), the left-libertarians keep playing a type of bait and switch with their terminology. Someone cheers on the return of “militant” unions: when this is objected to, on the grounds that we libertarians oppose union violence, then they crawfish and dance around and say that if one reads thru 17 email chains he’ll see they didn’t mean “violent,” for heaven’s sake. When I object to accusations that companies “expropriate” the “value” of the “efforts” of “stakeholders”–they say by “expropriate” they don’t really mean “expropriate”; and by “stakeholder” they don’t mean what leftists usually mean by it; and by “bargaining power” they don’t mean what leftists usually mean by it.
If someone can give me a dictionary to translate it might be helpful.Here’s a summary of the discussion so far:
Long/Carson: “Corporations are imperfect, and thus proprietorships and cooperatives are what would emerge on the free market.”
Klein: “Proprietorships and cooperatives are also imperfect [various arguments and examples given], so they might not dominate on the free market.”
Long/Carson: “Yes, but corporations are imperfect!”
Update: The “Freedom Democrats” (allies of the left-libertarian?) falsely accuse me of advocating that these workers be shot. What a lie. I never even implied, this, nor do I believe it (my views on punishment and proportionality are spelled out here). They also accuse me of being a rightwing “paleo” libertarian, which is another bizarre charge (see, e.g., my views on gay marriage and affirmative action, not to mention IP, my shall we say modern views on religion, evolution, and the like, and so on.)
Update 2: Brad Spangler has a criticism of my post here. My reply follows:
“Workers owed unpaid wages and benefits from Republic Windows and Doors have seized its physical plant as a forfeitable asset of the deadbeat company.”
I see no evidence that this is true. The headline says the workers are protesting layoffs. A layoff does not violate your rights.
The story says, “Robles, a husband and father of three children, says Republic’s abrupt closing means no more health insurance for his family. He and other members of the unionized, largely Hispanic workforce have been told that they should not expect any severance or vacation pay they say they’ve already earned.”
Well, you are not entitled to a job, nor to the health insurance benefits that are a perq of employment. The workers *say* they have “earned” severance and vacation pay–not “wages” as you state above. If they were being stiffed wages for hours worked, I’d agree they have a claim (but even here, that does not give them the right to act like a loan shark or mob and just seize the property; hell, even if they are owed money, it could be that secured creditors or lienholders have a prior claim to the property). But in most companies there is no contractual right to vacation pay or severance–that can be terminated at the discretion of the company.
The article also reports: “Employees say they got the news only four days ago. Illinois law requires a 75-day notification if a company the size of Republic intends to close its doors. ‘And what that does is, it allows workers to go into the collective bargaining agreement, to renegotiate terms of the contract to make sure they get everything that’s entitled to them,’ DePaul Univ. Labor Educator Cynthia Martinez.”
As for the 75 day period allegedly required by law–well, that’s not libertarian, is it. So giving 4 days termination notice instead of 75 is not a violation of libertarian rights (any more than the workers’ quitting with no notice is a violation of the employer’s rights–to prohibit or penalize this would be rightly criticized as a type of slavery–it’s no different the other way). As for their right to use pro-union laws to force a renegotiation of the terms of a contract, well, these laws are not libertarian either.
So I see nothing in the story to show that these people have any kind of legitimate contractual claim against the employer, or an ownership claim on its property. Do you know something I don’t?
11:00 am on December 9, 2008