Wed, 10 Aug 2005

Not really. Employers in the USA have always had considerable

latitude in controlling workers off-the-job behavior. On the other hand, workers in the USA have the ability to tell the employer to sod off. I was surprised to find out that a friend in Germany didn't have the right to quit. Here in the USA, you don't even have to give two weeks notice. There is a fundamental conflict between political and economic protection of workers. The more political protection, the weaker the economic protection. A friend of mine has employees at her plant nursery. She also had to make a wall chart of all the deadlines for this form, and that filing, and the other payment. All of the things that are done in the name of worker protection also have the characteristic of making it harder to employ people. Political protection of jobs reduces the amount of jobs, making political protection more necessary. Another path that the USA could go down is to eliminate worker protections, making it extremely easy to hire someone. This would increase the number of employers looking for employees, which would inevitably allow workers to pick and choose among the best jobs, and prevent employers from abusing their workers. Counter-intuitive? Sure! Economics is a science and any science worthy of the name will create counter-intuitive results. If it didn't, why would anybody bother with it? Who knows what's best for workers? A bureaucrat? Or the worker themselves? Are workers adults, able to look out for themselves? Or do they need protection like babies?
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