Monday, August 29, 2005

Writing their own rules...

Interesting article from, Operating Instructions.

Although I don't agree with it in entirety, the overall point is dead-on:
The idea that corporations should have total discretion in how to treat their workers is a growing and retrograde trend in America. Maryland Gov. Robert L. Erlich opposes legislation that would require organizations with more than 10,000 workers to spend at least 8 percent of their payroll on health benefits or contribute the money to the state’s health program for the poor. It is “bad policy…that a state will dictate to businesses the type and level of health insurance,” Erlich said.
Such views deny the reality of American economic life.

There is such a tendancy for Americans to embrace the "free market" - even the idea that the so-called free market will efficiently cure all the ills within society. But, in the most laissez-faire times in American history - the free market certainly didn't cure racial discrimination, or gender discrimination, or other forms of minority objection and repression. In fact, the free market actually encouraged and promulgated such discrimination. Is such a free market worth of being protected at all costs?

Citizens had a role in determining that corporations could not compete by using child labor, or dumping environmental waste in rivers, or discriminating against certain groups, or paying wages below a certain level. We still have the obligation today to determine corporations’ operating conditions. We can declare through our elected representatives that corporations must provide health insurance or pay into a state plan, provide a certain number of paid sick days or ensure that their workers are safe.

It's our obligation to keep corporations under control - we have close to two hundred years of proof that they will certainly not do it themselves.

No comments: