Monday, February 21, 2011

Unions and Copyright

Reposting this after loosing it.

What with the events in Wisconsin and a recent post by Matt Yglesias on copyright, I’ve been wondering about the absurdities of our current political discourse.

Consider that some people wish to organize themselves, independent of any government help, into a union so they can negotiate for higher wages and earn a greater revenue from their labor. The response from a large section of our population is that they should be prevented from doing so, with the full force of the government exerted to stop them from so organizing, because the market doesn't support those higher wages, they should not be able to use the coercion of their organization to capture these wages unfairly. (In the perhaps vain hope of avoiding flames, let me say that this is NOT my position).

On the other hand if some people earn their living from writing songs, plays and books an activity which the market alone has never priced very high, then in light of the above, many of the very same people, of course, believe that the government should organize on its own organize a system of copyright to guarantee that these people earn as much money as possible from their labor, without requiring that the beneficiaries do anything on their own. In fact it would apparently be very wrong for us to so much as charge these people money for providing this protection to them.

Very strange. I believe that one of these positions, at least, must be wrong.

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Friday, February 18, 2011


Speaking of Wisconsin, I do give all my support to the folks fighting the unconscionable effort to split up the union.  If you couldn’t guess from the previous post, I’m for both unions and copyright protections.  I just have a bit more support for the unions ‘cause they organize themselves rather than rely upon the government to do it for them.  But, having said that, I’m also really, really pissed at all the folks out protesting.  I don’t know for sure, so I might be maligning people unfairly, in which case I apologize, but I strongly suspect that a whole bunch of those folks were no where near a voting booth last November.  So now that protests and activism are hardly worth a bucket of spit, now we’re all active.  Why won’t progressives get out and act when it would actually do some good?  I don’t know. 

It’s like during the health care debate when every progressive wanted Obama to be more like our hero Johnson.  In 1968 supporting Johnson wasn’t so cool, but now yes.  Or Al Gore could be beloved in any year after 2000, but 2000 not so much.


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