Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Business of America is Labor

"The business of America is Business" -- Calvin Coolidge, US president

While Coolidge do not actual say those words, he certainly meant them. He also meant the business is a means to other ends. Now one of those other ends in is conflict with business. Labor rights, wages and quality of work life are in direct and constant competition with corporations. The corporations are winning in the short-term.

However, the cyclical and dynamic nature of the economy means a short term gain can be a long-term loss. For example, retailer sales have slumped as the number of unemployed has grown.

We are going to have to find a new balance between the "surplus" given to labor and corporate profits. Corporations are just another wealth transferring institution in society like government or schools that takes money from someone and gives to someone else. They can be very efficient generators of utility. The are not, as Coolidge said, a means unto themselves. Nor our reason for being.

Instead, it Labor that is the reason we work and allows business. We work to provide the most happiness to the greatest number of people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There have always been "wealth transferring agents" at work in society. I recently visited Europe where the churches are a prime example of the concept you've described.

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