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Unread 26 Aug 2010, 04:58   #1
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Return of a Working Class Hero

Once again I have been called to do battle with the imperial forces of oppression of the working class.

In San Joaquin County we have a thriving wine industry. Many square miles of land is planted in grape vines. Many agricultural workers (mostly undocumented guests in the United States) are necessary to do all of the necessary chores attendant to the raising of grapes.

The Great State of California, the people of which I represent in the hallowed halls of justice, in their infinite wisdom have passed laws to protect the previously mentioned workers from exploitation. The laws require:
that workers have training in how to recognize heat illness in its various forms;
that potable water be provided for the workers in sufficient quantity for the workers to continually replenish the loss of water due to heating;
that workers be provided with shade from which they can escape the direct rays of the sun durning work breaks;
that the employer have a plan in place in case a worker in the field who is injure or seriously ill (such as sun stroke) which tells everyone what should be done and who should be contacted;
that should an employer fail in one of the above rules and should such failure result in the death of a worker that this becomes a felony offense.

The Great State of California has, interestingly, enacted a law which relieves the land owner and those who lease the land to engage in farming enterprises (many of whom are multi-million dollar corporations) are not held responsible for this if the contract out the farm work to Farm Labor Contractors. The Farm Labor Contractor then provides laborers which it pays the salary of and is responsible for the well being of. The Farm Labor Contractor in turn receives payment from the grower. The Farm Labor Contractor is the person or persons upon whom the law falls should the above laws be flaunted.

A 17-year old woman who was an undocumented resident of this country for four months got a job working for a farm labor contractor working for a Farm Labor Contractor. On the third day of her employment she collapsed in the field and died two days later of heat stroke.

There was no shade in the field and water was at least a ten-minute walk from where she collapsed.

There was no training provided for any of the workers regarding symptoms or what should be done in the case of emergency.

The supervisor in the field down played the seriousness of what was occurring. The supervisor told the boyfriend of the woman who collapsed that it would be bad if the authorities should find out that the woman had been working when this happened and that it might result in the woman, the boyfriend and the supervisor all being deported.

For this reason no one called for medical attention for the woman

When the woman collapsed it was about 15 minutes before the working day was done. The woman was carried to the van in which she had arrived to wait 15-30 minutes for the others in the car pool to get off and come to the van. The woman was placed in the van.

The temperature was 95 degrees fahrenheit and said van had been standing in the sun for 10 hours. The temperature within the van was likely above 140 (f) when she was first placed inside. Eventually, when everyone in the van pool was at the van they left with her unconscious body being held by her boyfriend (age 19).

They had a cell phone but no medical assistance was called for. Instead they drove two miles to a small store where rubbing alcohol was purchased to rub on the young woman to see if she would revive. Several minutes were waisted there while the rest of the group purchased beer, sodas and snacks.

Across the street from the store was a fire station which had personnel who could have provided immediate first aid and could have called for additional emergency medical help or could have rapidly transported the woman to the nearest hospital.

As they left the supervisor called to see if the woman had revived. When told that she had not, he told the boyfriend that they should take the woman to a medical clinic near where the girl lived. The clinic was 45 minutes away, there was a hospital with an emergency room 30 minutes away. The supervisor also told the boyfriend to tell the medical personnel that she had been jogging near home and collapse.

The woman was taken to the clinic. The clinic called an ambulance and she was transported to a nearby hospital. When she arrived her temperature was 108.4. Over the next two days her internal organs began to shut down. It turned out she was two months pregnant, though she may have been unaware of this, and she miscarried then died.

I have been tasked with righting this great wrong.

The owner of the Farm Labor company and the safety coordinator are being prosecuted for all of the safety violations and for causing the death of the young woman.

I will make the world safe for the working man/woman.
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Unread 26 Aug 2010, 06:14   #2
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

This sounds familiar.
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Unread 27 Aug 2010, 00:37   #3
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Hey,

You're just south of me

I'm in Contra Costa, CA (Walnut Creek to be specific...)
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Unread 27 Aug 2010, 16:17   #4
Tietäjä
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Yeah, it's quite a typical storyline.

We import Thai berry pickers and have them work as entrepreneurs so as to avoid having to pay them minimum wages. The company that brings them here pays for flights, accommodation, and equipment and charges the Thai berry boys accordingly. As they're registered as entrepreneurs, they earn what they sell, in essence, meaning that the company transporting them here purchases the berries and so so.

They earn about 40 euros per day, over a 16 to 18 hour day of work, which would technically be illegal, but it's not since they're entrepreneurs, thus there's no essential employer, coming down with a hourly pay of two and odd euros. Incidentally, one of them got stabbed to death in a forest but nobody really cares. What's left of them return home "rich" by their standards, so they're happy.

The western legal system concerning the "rights" of the working class (ie. employees in general) is a crumbling piece nevertheless due to global pressure on labour markets and the expenses the system inherently creates.



So how is your battle panning out?
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Unread 28 Aug 2010, 07:18   #5
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

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Originally Posted by skiddy View Post
Hey,

You're just south of me

I'm in Contra Costa, CA (Walnut Creek to be specific...)
We frequently go to Walnut Creek. My wife likes to shop at Nordstroms and several other stores. The computer I am typing this on was bought at the Apple Store in Walnut Creek. While in Walnut Creek we usually go to the movies there.

My wife is a graduate of Concord High School.
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Unread 28 Aug 2010, 22:19   #6
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Tressell
They all hated and blamed Rushton. Yet if they had been in Rushton's place they would have been compelled to adopt the same methods, or become bankrupt: for it is obvious that the only way to compete successfully against other employers who are sweaters is to be a sweater yourself. Therefore no one who is an upholder of the present system can consistently blame any of these men. Blame the system.

If you, reader, had been one of the hands, would you have slogged? Or would you have preferred to starve and see your family starve? If you had been in Crass's place, would you have resigned rather than do such dirty work? If you had had Hunter's berth, would you have given it up and voluntarily reduced yourself to the level of the hands? If you had been Rushton, would you rather have become bankrupt than treat your 'hands' and your customers in the same way as your competitors treated theirs? It may be that, so placed, you--being the noble-minded paragon that you are--would have behaved unselfishly. But no one has any right to expect you to sacrifice yourself for the benefit of other people who would only call you a fool for your pains. It may be true that if any one of the hands--Owen, for instance--had been an employer of labour, he would have done the same as other employers. Some people seem to think that proves that the present system is all right! But really it only proves that the present system compels selfishness. One must either trample upon others or be trampled upon oneself. Happiness might be possible if everyone were unselfish; if everyone thought of the welfare of his neighbour before thinking of his own. But as there is only a very small percentage of such unselfish people in the world, the present system has made the earth into a sort of hell. Under the present system there is not sufficient of anything for everyone to have enough. Consequently there is a fight--called by Christians the 'Battle of Life'. In this fight some get more than they need, some barely enough, some very little, and some none at all. The more aggressive, cunning, unfeeling and selfish you are the better it will be for you. As long as this 'Battle of Life' System endures, we have no right to blame other people for doing the same things that we are ourselves compelled to do. Blame the system.
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Unread 29 Aug 2010, 16:47   #7
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milton Friedman
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
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Unread 29 Aug 2010, 16:49   #8
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

This is pretty basic stuff and I'd appreciate it if you'd all take the time to educate yourself before bashing capitalism like adolescent children. If the woman had embraced freedom more, her internal organs wouldn't have failed.
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Unread 29 Aug 2010, 18:00   #9
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

It is hardly a question of capitalism vs non-capitalism.

Capitalism, when working correctly, should be the more efficient use of resources winning over the less efficient. Your workers are a resource and thus you should want to use them efficiently.

Killing off your workers really isn't the most efficient use of resources unless you deliberately murder particular individuals to send a message to the rest of the workers. Nearly justifiable in many instances.
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Unread 29 Aug 2010, 20:10   #10
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Quote:
Originally Posted by dda View Post
It is hardly a question of capitalism vs non-capitalism.

Capitalism, when working correctly, should be the more efficient use of resources winning over the less efficient. Your workers are a resource and thus you should want to use them efficiently.

Killing off your workers really isn't the most efficient use of resources unless you deliberately murder particular individuals to send a message to the rest of the workers. Nearly justifiable in many instances.
It may not be in the interests of the capitalist/employer to deliberately kill their employees, no. But capitalism does force onto the employer constant pressure to dig to the bottom; to increasingly put their workers at risk in order to remain competitive. The example you gave above is where it leads. And it can go further. The reason why it hasn't is because of the OMG ANTI FREE MARKET law that says it isn't allowed to.

In your second sentence you suggest this wouldn't happen if capitalism were "working correctly". Why do you think capitalism is not working in this case?
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Unread 29 Aug 2010, 20:40   #11
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Quote:
Originally Posted by oil View Post
In your second sentence you suggest this wouldn't happen if capitalism were "working correctly". Why do you think capitalism is not working in this case?

Capitalism isn't working in this case because free markets don't exist (hence there cannot really be effective capitalism). If markets worked along the lines of Adam Smith, the employer treating his employees this badly in order to obtain more profit would inevitably find himself without employees because they'd simply change to another employer.

Income differences aren't a result of free market capitalism. They're a result of protectionism, imperialism, and nationalism (in a vague fashion).

(edit. generally, discussions over "pure" systems are a little bit moot since no socialism or capitalism really exists, and there's little leeway for either to truly exist. as said, these problems aren't really cases set against pure systems since, well. that)
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Unread 29 Aug 2010, 22:08   #12
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

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Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Yeah, it's quite a typical storyline.
No, I mean that dda has told this same story before.
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Unread 29 Aug 2010, 22:41   #13
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
Capitalism isn't working in this case because free markets don't exist (hence there cannot really be effective capitalism). If markets worked along the lines of Adam Smith, the employer treating his employees this badly in order to obtain more profit would inevitably find himself without employees because they'd simply change to another employer.
So if we just did away with protectionism and anti trust laws we wouldn't need to worry about worker exploitation because the magic of the market would just produce an indefinate amount of "good" jobs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tietaja
Income differences aren't a result of free market capitalism. They're a result of protectionism, imperialism, and nationalism (in a vague fashion).
Well they at least partly are. Unless you're suggesting laissez faire would result in everyone being paid the same.
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Unread 29 Aug 2010, 22:56   #14
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

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Originally Posted by Mzyxptlk View Post
No, I mean that dda has told this same story before.
One of the dangers of growing old. You can remember your childhood but not recent events.
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Unread 30 Aug 2010, 09:43   #15
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

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Originally Posted by oil View Post
So if we just did away with protectionism and anti trust laws we wouldn't need to worry about worker exploitation because the magic of the market would just produce an indefinate amount of "good" jobs?
No. Because perfect markets along the lines of what free market capitalism would require are a text book mirage that cannot happen in a real world in where people are driven by Shiller/Akerlof'ish animal spirits.


Quote:
Well they at least partly are. Unless you're suggesting laissez faire would result in everyone being paid the same.
Adam Smith's theory would result in converging income differences through competition. Alas, even Smith himself wasn't crazy enough to believe a free market capitalism without any government intervention (see: property rights, law, military in Smith's the wealth of nations etc.).

Because leverage (financial or military) exists, and will always exist, and there will be people who do not behave rationally, and people who pursue political goals that don't make economic sense, the idea of a free market capitalism in a global world is simply not going to materialize.

It's vastly pointless to blame the lower class getting spanked on a financial system when the cause truly is human bestiality. Soviet Union had an attempt at "socialism", but in fact the communistic system they had glorified the leveraged people (communist party leadership) at the cost of the lower class people.
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Unread 31 Aug 2010, 00:04   #16
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Total equality would be boring.
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Unread 31 Aug 2010, 13:16   #17
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tietäjä View Post
No. Because perfect markets along the lines of what free market capitalism would require are a text book mirage that cannot happen in a real world in where people are driven by Shiller/Akerlof'ish animal spirits.




Adam Smith's theory would result in converging income differences through competition. Alas, even Smith himself wasn't crazy enough to believe a free market capitalism without any government intervention (see: property rights, law, military in Smith's the wealth of nations etc.).

Because leverage (financial or military) exists, and will always exist, and there will be people who do not behave rationally, and people who pursue political goals that don't make economic sense, the idea of a free market capitalism in a global world is simply not going to materialize.

It's vastly pointless to blame the lower class getting spanked on a financial system when the cause truly is human bestiality. Soviet Union had an attempt at "socialism", but in fact the communistic system they had glorified the leveraged people (communist party leadership) at the cost of the lower class people.
Yeah, I agree.
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Unread 31 Aug 2010, 22:20   #18
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Apparently this has gone over TomKat's head, so let me just expand on that.. I thought Tietaja was actually advocating a "real" capitalism when he was suggesting the bastardized version we currently use is what has given rise to the problems mentioned so far. It turns out he isn't and I agree with his suggestion that a "pure" capitalism wouldn't work either.
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Unread 31 Aug 2010, 23:51   #19
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

oh sorry i thought you were just being a douche and trying to be condescending by posting something short and inane.

my apologies! (genuinely)

i can't take the rep back but will do when i can/if i remember...
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Unread 4 Sep 2010, 01:03   #20
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

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i thought you were just being a douche and trying to be condescending by posting something short and inane.
Thought? Damn, now I'm doing it.
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Unread 6 Sep 2010, 12:17   #21
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

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I thought Tietaja was actually advocating a "real" capitalism when he was suggesting the bastardized version we currently use is what has given rise to the problems mentioned so far. It turns out he isn't and I agree with his suggestion that a "pure" capitalism wouldn't work either.
Let me rephrase that. Textbook mirages work. Really well. They often have perfect stable equilibriums. In this sense, pure capitalism has it's good sides. However, arguing that the necessary conditions for a "textbook capitalism" could exist in a world inhabited by humans would sound obscene at least. Not because "textbook capitalism" doesn't have an "everyone wins" equilibrium, but because the assumptions this mirage is built on are not realistically attainable in real world.
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Unread 6 Sep 2010, 16:21   #22
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

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Total equality would be boring.
Yessir.
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Unread 14 Sep 2010, 01:04   #23
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

However, it isn't likely to break outr any time.
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Unread 17 Sep 2010, 12:36   #24
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

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However, it isn't likely to break outr any time.
Yessir.
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Unread 17 Sep 2010, 17:26   #25
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

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It is hardly a question of capitalism vs non-capitalism.

Capitalism, when working correctly, should be the more efficient use of resources winning over the less efficient. Your workers are a resource and thus you should want to use them efficiently.

Killing off your workers really isn't the most efficient use of resources unless you deliberately murder particular individuals to send a message to the rest of the workers. Nearly justifiable in many instances.
Efficiency means getting the most out of your workers for as little as possible.

With unskilled (and therefore easily replaceable) workers it can be more efficient to work someone to death than to keep them fit and healthy.
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Unread 17 Sep 2010, 17:27   #26
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

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Total equality would be boring.
You've confused "equality" with "being the same".
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Unread 17 Sep 2010, 18:09   #27
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

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You've confused "equality" with "being the same".
That may well be. They seem to be used with a lack of precision in most discussions.

If you would care to clarify the distinction you propose, I would be happy to limit myself to that distinction in any discussion.
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Unread 19 Sep 2010, 10:20   #28
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Things can be equal and different.
Things cannot be the same and different.
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Unread 21 Sep 2010, 18:56   #29
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Re: Return of a Working Class Hero

Thank you. Sameness would be boring.
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