Monday, March 5, 2012

Ch5 perhaps missing law of Demand?

I don't necessarily agree with Frank's latest arguments in this chapter. However I think there is a stance I might need to take before moving in to this post any further. No one can really deny the law of demand, and with that in mind I think he may be viewing arms races in the wrong way. The invisible hand was never mentioned to be all perfectly good for society when businesses compete, that is clearly understood as any theory could have its issues. But comparing the arms races of products to armaments I believe is a little bit more involved than Frank is putting off.
Let's say you have a neighbor in a anarchist society. The homes in this area are built not just for comfort but protection as well. But you notice that your neighbor recently bought some disturbing things such as weaponry of some sort. Since there is no official police or anything to keep the protection and law in hand, there is no absolute way for you to ensure your safety, than to buy your own weaponry (clearly for defense). Yet using Frank's example of suddenly you have the weaponry and your neighbor has less than you but he/she has toasters. And for some reason your demand for his/her toasters sky rocket. Even though you already have a toaster.
My point i'm trying to make is that the first example I believe is more plausible than the second. For the same reason why I don't buy more groceries than my roomates because i'm trying to flaunt my grocery spending in food. I do it because I would like my grocery inventory to last substantially longer so I don't have to visit wal-mart more often. Although there is one more part in this chapter that I would like to quickly discuss as well. That is the topic of Unions.
Frank states in the last bit of another example that the reason why we need government is to impose regulations to companies making the work place safer while libertarians and other invisible hand enthusiasts prefer it to be an open market and letting the risk be involved with the pay. I think he may be skipping over the fact that many Unions pop up in workplaces that especially need safety and those Unions don't run to their legislators but picket for those fringe benefits. So we don't need government to regulate every job we do because we would prefer to it be riskier for a higher wage, many Unions already achieved higher wages and the fringe benefits they need/want.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your conclusion but not some of the finer points.
    1st I believe that in an anarchist society where there is no governmental police force, your biggest threat is not your neighbor. In fact such a society would likely not tolerate you and your neighbor fighting. What's more likely is that neighborhoods would be very close nit communities of like minded people. Together they would enforce the code of conduct and protect each other's property rights.

    2nd Unions lobby government as much as businesses and any other special interest group. They often destroy property and threaten and coerce other workers to join the union. If people don't wish to accept the wages and conditions of a certain employer than by all means they are free to quit. If enough people get together and wish to demand higher wages by picketing outside a business. As long as they are peaceful and not violating property rights, by all means they can invest their time in not working. But they shouldn't punish other individuals who do wish to work. The real problem, as I see it, when it comes to disputes between unions and businesses is when government steps in on behalf of one side or another. We saw this occur repeatedly in the early 1900s like when the government sent in the national guard to end the strike in Ludlow. (google ludlow massacre) Over time though we saw a shift as unions gained more power to legislators passing laws in their favor.