News Why are Republicans better?

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OmCheeto

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Perhaps cause I am rarely here.
I did once jokingly state that the intelligent people at PF almost never post in P&WA.

(90% of my posts are in P&WA. It was meant to be a self deprecating joke.)
 
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In these discussions I'm confused by the term "free market." It seems that different sides have different understandings of what is meant by free market. The following is a list of laws that I am curious whether you would include or not in the definition of free market.
1. Sherman Anti-Trust Act (Outlawed most monopolies)
2. Clayton Act (Defined which combinations of businesses were lawful)
3. Interstate Commerce Act (Regulated rates railroads could charge across state lines)
4. Pure Food and Drug Act (Forbid the sale of impure, or dishonestly labelled food and drugs)
5. An assortment of laws to improve working conditions for workers including:
a. Work by women and children
b. Working conditions
c. Accidents
d. Minimum wages
6. Wagner Act (Granted workers the right to organize into unions)
7. Taft-Hartly Act (Limited the activities of unions)
8. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
9. Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, etc.)
IMO the most contrary to free market beliefs are: 5a, 5d, and 9. These 3 policy-types cause losses for both consumers and producers using purely egalitarian reasons without economic basis. Do I think children should be exploited? Absolutely not, but do I think a 12 year old can work in an appropriate setting? Sure! The rest of the policies generally have a net benefit for the market (without consumer or producer bias).
One of the criticisms of free markets is that they exploit workers. Lack of a minimum wage is one way. As wages are lowered, workers have fewer and fewer options of finding a different job. Worse yet, when the company is the major employer in an area, there is no place to go. A minimum wage is protection against that.

The problem of employing 12 year olds, even in an appropriate setting is that those kids should be in school, not working in a factory.

The problem with a free market is that it is concerned with creating an environment where companies can prosper. Employers may feel that they have the right to hire or fire whomever they want without regard to race or religion. Don't workers also have the right to be hired for their qualifications and not fired simply because the employer wants to replace him with someone of another race?

I worked in Mexico for five years and Mexico doesn't have many of the laws that you don't like. If you were to go to Mexico you could learn a lot about how the lack of regulation affects the workplace. For instance Mexico doesn't have anti-discrimination laws. Often you can find want ads for workers whose qualifications are single, good looking woman between the ages of 18 and 24. If you lose your job and you are over 35, it is very difficult to find another one. Worse yet, if you are fired, you get black listed and you will not find a good job again. This is why workers are willing to accept poor and dangerous working conditions. This is how companies operate when there is no regulation. That is also why they want to come to the U.S.

In Mexico only primary education is required and even then, many kids don't go to school. It's easy to find kids 12 years old and younger in factories, working as street vendors, or in gangs selling drugs. On my first trip to Mexico I saw kids that looked like they were 5 years old, selling newspapers in rush hour traffic. They were so short you couldn't see them between the cars. That is what you get with the lack of regulations.

I see no point in discussing the free market with redsunrise who apparently gets his economic education from cartoons.
 
M

mege

The question was posed asking how the policies fit into a free market system, I was making no judgement on the policies themselves except for their economic impact. Any policy* which manipulates the labor market neccessarilly is rent seeking for the labor business and generally creates a loss in overall market size. You just need to realize that when a policy is implemented like that - there is a market shrinkage. But lets remember, also, that education in this country isn't always seen in an economic sense. English majors with $250k in student loans aren't thinking economically - the same goes for child labor. There are many that are probably gaining little from their secondary school education. I'm not advocating that we start putting kids in factories again - but IMO we need to tell the difference between an economic policy and an egalitarian policy and the reasons for each for the sake of this discussion. Manipulations of the free market are different than things which have an impact on the free market. The first needs to be evaluated extremely carefully, and the second should just factor into environmental concerns for any entity in the free market.

*Policy meaning something like minimum wage or child labor laws. Unions for skilled workers are, IMO, a different ball game and totally have a proper place in a free market system, but there are far too many advantages given to unions in the US currently which cause labor exploitation from the labor side - thus a competitive advantage exists overseas regarding many industry's labor. Unions acting as legitimate business entities, and not labor exploiters, serve the free market well because they can adapt and won't be as succeptible to the idealogical corruption like they have been.
 

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