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Old Dec 18, 2012, 11:20 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by classicaliberal View Post
The truth, is that it's the very same competitive mechanism I discussed earlier that's actually making work conditions better in this country.
For 'merica? Maybe, but it probably has to do with labour laws and regulations that unions have fought for... cause I think there are a lot of workers in India, China and Malaysia that would disagree with your assessment of the altruism of corporations.

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Prosperity, wealth, growth, improves working conditions for everyone.
Who's prosperity comes first though and how the prosperity is shared changes the pace dramatically.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 01:15 PM   #127
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For 'merica? Maybe, but it probably has to do with labour laws and regulations that unions have fought for... cause I think there are a lot of workers in India, China and Malaysia that would disagree with your assessment of the altruism of corporations.

Who's prosperity comes first though and how the prosperity is shared changes the pace dramatically.
Who said anything about altruism? The reason you'll likely never understand, is because you don't seem to even see what the other side is arguing. Altruism is the opposite of what's being suggested...

1) Companies make money by providing goods/services that people value.
2) In order to provide these goods/services in an efficient and effective manor, companies need a competent workforce.
3) This demand for employees is met by society's demand for jobs, and workforce supply is created.
4) If a company can not find adequate/competent labor, they search for solutions including increased compensation, work conditions, better benefits, outsourcing, etc. until the labor demand is met.
5) As overall economic conditions improve, prices on goods rise, profits rise, and companies become more willing to spend more on each labor hour... resulting in higher wages, better work conditions, and benefits.


Bottom line? The best way to improve work conditions for a society, is economic growth.

Take any given third world country... if given the choice between enforcing strict union laws, or even communistic sharing of corporate profits, vs. capitalism and real economic growth... the latter is going to result in a far more substantial improvement in prosperity and work conditions than the former. This has been proven countless times throughout history. Your examples of India, etc. are on the back end of their own industrial revolution. If they're able to maintain growth, vastly improved work conditions will follow as a result of the markets, not government intervention.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 03:09 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by classicaliberal View Post
I think it's actually your ideology that does not mesh well with reality... OSHA is a great example.
I think you're simply throwing spaghetti at the wall with the hopes that a noodle will stick. When confronted with evidence contrary to your assertions about economic upward mobility, you attempt to switch the discussion to OSHA, regardless of the fact that it had nothing to do with the previous discussion.

If you want to talk about economic upward mobility, talk about economic upward mobility. If you want to argue the success of a federal safety program begun under a Republican president with the endorsement of the usually conservative Chamber of Commerce, then by all means have that discussion as well.

However, if you're trying to conflate the two, or attempt to use OSHA as a blanket condemnation of liberalism, then your desperation for making a point is over-riding your ability to formulate a sound argument.

And it's leaving noodles on the wall.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 03:25 PM   #129
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I think it's actually your ideology that does not mesh well with reality... OSHA is a great example.
My ideology is pragmatism based on reality. You seem to say the world should work like X because X are your personal beliefs. I put my personal beliefs aside and look at how things actually work. I truly wish that what you said about success in life being primarily tied to hard work, intelligence and effort was true. That's how I was raised, and that's how I'll raise my kids, but it doesn't take much time out in the real world to see that that isn't the case.

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The truth, is that it's the very same competitive mechanism I discussed earlier that's actually making work conditions better in this country. Prosperity, wealth, growth, improves working conditions for everyone. As more companies are competing for more revenue, and more high quality laborers, they compete via pay rates, benefits, working conditions, etc. to attract their employees of choice. It's this market mechanism which has really helped people in this country. If you want worker safety and worker comfort, you'll do what you can to promote profit and market growth, instead of stifling it.
So, in your opinion, without labor law and without the labor movement in the U.S. things would be the same, if not better, even though it's common for U.S. companies to still use child labor or dump toxic waste into land fills? They just happen to do it in other countries because it just happens to be illegal domestically?

I also don't share your optimism that the success of companies trickles down to the work force.





Then there is also this study that shows that economic mobility is great in U.S. states with strong unions.
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More advanced analysis further bears out this relationship. According to Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis of data from the Pew Center on the States, states with high union membership rates are more likely to have high levels of economic mobility, even after controlling for other factors such as education, income levels, inequality, and unemployment.

Our analysis finds that education is the most important source of mobility—but unionization rates matter quite a bit as well. Increasing the unionization rate in the average state by 10 percentage points—roughly to the level they were in 1980—would be associated with an increase of just under 4 percentage points in the share of the population that is upwardly mobile. This is about two-fifths of the impact of boosting the share of the workforce with a college degree by 10 percentage points.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 03:38 PM   #130
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Employees have a series of requirements for potential employers. Employee decides which companies he or she is willing to work for, applies, then chooses the best employment opportunity available to them.

Employers have a series of requirements for potential employees. Employer decides which applicants they are willing to employ, then chooses the best employee candidate to offer the position to.

It's a mutually beneficial non-cohersive contractual arrangement between two parties. Nothing more, nothing less.

You have complete control if you take a drug test, FBI check, etc. as these are all a component of the contractual agreement which you sign willingly and without coercion.
So what makes union membership different, it is merely another "component of the contractual agreement" you sign.

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...

If you dig a little deeper however, you'll discover that the reduction in workplace injuries started WAY before OSHA, and that their introduction has had virtually zero effect on the rate of workplace injuries in this country
Keep in mind that just because there's a fairly clear trend line, that doesn't mean there was "zero" effect. There could have been a significant plateau that would have disrupted the trend or even reversed it. Also, keep in mind that OSHA represents the sea-change in corporate and safety governance that was already accelerating, one that may have been protected by the existence of such an agency to ensure worker safety and instill certain requirements.

Or it may have been a complete waste of time, but that's a hard argument to make without a control.

Or as the Institute notes:

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Devising the counterfactual trend for OSHA is extremely difficult. Unlike medical interventions, there is no control group against which to compare workplace fatalities before and since OSHA. Simply looking at the raw data does not make one leap to the conclusion that OSHA has had a dramatic impact on workplace safety...The trend was fueled not by OSHA but in large part by improvements in safety technology and changes in the occupational distribution of labor, for example, away from more dangerous assembly line work to white collar service jobs.
Also:

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...State-run workers' compensation insurance programs are currently the most influential public attempt to promote workplace safety. Insurance premiums that take account of workplace safety encourage firms to establish safe and healthy work environments. As the frequency of claims rises, the price of workers' compensation insurance increases, thereby penalizing firms for poor safety records. Michael Moore of Duke University and W. Kip Viscusi of Harvard University estimate that, without workers' compensation insurance, the number of fatal accidents and diseases would be 48 percent higher in the United States.
Not corporate governance, but state-run worker's compensation might have a more important role than OSHA.
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Old Dec 18, 2012, 04:09 PM   #131
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India, China and Malaysia that would disagree with your assessment of the altruism of corporations.
Certainly in the latter two working conditions have improved significantly.

And to be fair on the Indians their haven't been any recent mass fires like we've seen in Pakistan and Bangladesh, both of which have lower populations than India.
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 01:37 PM   #132
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Who said anything about altruism? The reason you'll likely never understand, is because you don't seem to even see what the other side is arguing.
You are making a big assumption of what I "don't understand", and what market mechanics are. First off the simple linear relationship that you have outlined in these points does not adequately cover market mechanics and the reciprocal nature of the general health of the labour market, economies of scale, and efficient capital behaviour.

To provide goods/services, the key in capitalist markets is efficiency. In your fourth point if the labour market can't supply the demand, corporations seeking the most effective output production consistently increase capital input to replace labour input, and/or outsourcing labour to another market to fill the excess demand much more frequently than increasing compensation, work conditions or providing better benefits. Labour is often a more liquid input in the production function, and as such sees the most volatility. Volatility in the labour market translates directly to the health and habits of consumer spending.

As economic conditions improve, what happens first is that companies increase output, typically achieved in the short run by hiring/re-hiring more workers. With more jobs means on the aggregate the consumers have more to spend, and improves the companies profits (aggregate, not per unit profit increase). If the economy does so well that the demand for the companies good/service out-paces the output (supply) the company might demand increase the price for the good to make more money and invest the additional profit into more labour inputs to produce at a higher capacity. If resources like labour and commodities are constrained enough this causes inflationary pressure on wages and the costs of goods/services.

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Bottom line? The best way to improve work conditions for a society, is economic growth.
This I agree with, but not in isolation. Your slanted comparison of 'communistic sharing' and union "laws" aside (unions can't make laws, but like corporations they can lobby for them); democracy and regulation is a key component. The USSR in terms of production was an economic juggernaut but exploitation of the working class (as well as colossal mismanagement) acted as key catalysts for it's demise. Throughout history, while a capitalistic market has prevailed in efficiencies of production, those societies have continuously developed regulations typically after industry has exploited their position for market gain at the expense of the members of that society.
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