The Latest Liberal Crusade
liberal crusade is against the Wal-Mart stores.
A big headline
on a long
article in The New York Times asks "Can't A
Retail Behemoth Pay More?"
they can pay more. The New York Times could pay its own
employees more. We could all pay more for whatever we buy or rent.
Don't tell me you couldn't have paid a dime more for this newspaper.
But why should any of us pay more than we have to?
to The New York Times, there is a book "by
a group of scholars" due to be published this fall, arguing
that Wal-Mart has an "obligation" to "treat its
hardly be called news. Nothing is easier than to find a group
of academics -- "scholars" if you agree with them --
to advocate virtually anything on any subject. Nor is this notion
of an "obligation" new.
there has been lofty talk about the "social responsibility"
of businesses or about a "social contract" between the
generations when it comes to Social Security. Do you remember
signing any such contract? I don't.
this pious talk amounts to is that when third parties want somebody
else to pay for something, they simply call it a "social
responsibility," an "obligation" or a "social
So long as
we keep buying this kind of stuff, they will keep selling it.
to make such demands look like more than just the arbitrary notions
of busybodies -- which they are -- some of these busybodies refer
to the official poverty level, as if it were something objective,
rather than what it is in fact, simply an arbitrary line based
on the notions of government bureaucrats.
to The New York Times, Wal-Mart's average employee earns
an income that is above the poverty line for a family of three
but below the poverty line for a family of four. What are we supposed
to conclude from this?
notion of "a living wage" is a wage that will support
a family of four. And, sure enough, The New York Times
finds a Wal-Mart employee who complains that he is not making
"a living wage."
How is he
living, if he is not making a living wage?
be paid according to what they "need" instead of according
to what their work is worth? Should they decide how big a family
they want and then put the cost of paying to support that family
on somebody else?
work is not worth enough to pay for what they want, is it up to
others to make up the difference, rather than up to them to upgrade
their skills in order to earn what they want?
supposed to be subsidized by Wal-Mart's customers through higher
prices or subsidized by Wal-Mart's stockholders through lower
earnings? After all, much of the stock in even a rich company
is often owned by pension funds belonging to teachers, policemen
and others who are far from rich.
other people have to retire on less money, in order that Wal-Mart
employees can be paid what The New York Times wants them
paid, instead of what their labor is worth in the marketplace?
After all, they wouldn't be working for Wal-Mart if someone else
valued their labor more.
Nor are they
confined to Wal-Mart for life. For many, entry-level jobs are
a stepping-stone, whether within a given company or as experience
that gets them a better job with another company.
it: What the busybodies are saying is that third parties like
themselves -- who are paying nothing to anybody -- should be determining
how much somebody else should be paying those who work for them.
be devastating to the egos of the intelligentsia to realize, much
less admit, that businesses have done more to reduce poverty than
all the intellectuals put together. Ultimately it is only wealth
that can reduce poverty and most of the intelligentsia have no
interest whatever in finding out what actions and policies increase
the national wealth.
don't feel any "obligation" to learn economics, out
of a sense of "social responsibility," much less because
of any "social contract" requiring them to know what
they are talking about before spouting off with self-righteous
2005 Creators Syndicate
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