RE: [lpsf-discuss] FW: The Myth of Voluntary Unions

Dear Jeanine,

Thank you for your comments. It is clear you are a thoughtful person so
please allow me to take some of your questions. For those many points
I'd like to address but can't, you might want to take them directly to
the author via email tomd@... or the blog at

You asked: "Why can a union not serve to correct an irrational social
consensus of the value of labor, represented by price, to a more
appropraite level? Is not some work genuinely undervalued? A strike is
oneway to force the praxeological issue of how much the workers' labor
is worth relative to alternatives."

Mike: The issue is force. You are suggesting that the seller of labor is
better at determining the value than the buyer. How does anyone know
that? The marketplace is the only way to evaluate whether labor is over
or under valued. The seller of labor tends to believe that they are
undervalued. They buyer tends to think the labor is over-valued. This is
just human nature.

Libertarians reject the use of force to achieve their political goals.
An individual may chose to leave a job and even a group of individuals
can refuse to work. When workers leave jobs because they've found work
that suits them better, even if they are organized, that's fine. When
workers strike, they usually (not always as Mr. DiLorenzo states in his
article) they usually organize in a way designed to inflict the highest
possible toll on the business, their other employees and/or customers.
At this point, unions cease to be Libertarian in nature. As Mr.
DiLorenzo says, this is unfortunately the norm though not universal.

You said: "...was talking about how many clubs employ unspoken racial
quotas against minorities*,

Mike: Sort of like those used by the California University System or the
San Francisco School District? Both those organizations are completely
dominated by unions yet there are expressed racial quotas in the system.
What proof is there that unions would or could actually solve this
problem? Just asking.

You said: "and set up payment structures where girls feel pressured into
prositution in private booths."

Mike: With all due respect Jeanine, this portrays these women as victims
when they have obviously chosen this line of work voluntarily. Making it
sound like the employers are "pressuring" these girls already working in
these kinds of clubs is like saying an addict is not responsible for the
problems related to their addiction and the drugs are too blame. In a
Libertarian world, prostitutes wouldn't need the protection of Club
Owner pimps who concentrate the girl's activities into these businesses
for the purpose of profiting from a kind of a protection racket of
sorts. I wonder if any union police officers are profiting from the

You said: " but that firms tend to take the low road and mindlessly
regurgiate stereotypes."

Mike: Personally, if a business owner want to take the "low road and
mindlessly regurgitate stereotypes" to the point where it's difficult to
hold good employees, I'd be happy to jump in and hire the best people
they have. They will appreciate working here because in my business, we
take the high road with people. If that guy and I are in the same
business, I'll kick his ass eventually. It's Darwinian survival of the
fittest. If one trusts the basic goodness of people as I do, the
(carefully measured) high road is best path to success in the world of
voluntary competition.

You said: " Corporations have plenty of history of employing violence as

Mike: I agree with you completely. That corporations do the same is not
a justification.

You said: " sexual harrassment or hate speech might have anything
whatsoever in common with throwinng rocks and bottles,and constantly
tell margianlized peope to "get over it", or that patriarchal efforts to
silence women by condescension and deregation are an illusion...
suddenly know exactly how "mass picketing, insults, threats... car
chasing (?), (and) abusive phone calls are meant to exercise power when
the beneficiary is supposed to be unions (or feminists), not

Mike: There are many issues here. Libertarians do not condone hate any
more than we condone the use of drugs, tobacco, alcohol or encourage
behavior that is avaricious, slothful or wasteful. We do know that there
is no law that we can make that will prevent people from any of these.
The use of force to end hate is misplaced. When faced with mis-guided
behavior, it's best to avoid allowing that behavior to consume you
rather than decide to turn the same behavior on that person, effectively
reducing yourself to that level. It's better to take the high road and
all that.

You said: " Boycotts and public protests do change corporate
policies without a shred of coercion. "

Mike: That's right...they are a good model.

You said: " the von Mises Institute, fond of promoting social power
structures itself, has an author writing the above, it reeks of blatant
hypocrisy. "

Mike: I believe you misunderstand those represented by the von Mises
Institute. They are not promoting any social power at all and certainly
don't represent the values of those who hold real power in this country.
They are promoting the power of the marketplace, a place where all
people are equal. It's a place where all people can buy and sell labor
without being shut out because of minimum wage laws and the countless
other barriers to the buying and selling of labor. It's a place where
businesses are not constrained by laws designed to protect the allies of
government from honest competition. I deal with this one every day.

You said " I see no reason libertarians should take the side of
coporations over unions."

Mike: I don't believe that's an accurate way to present the issue. Mr.
DiLorenzo makes it clear that unions are barely on the radar screen in
private corporate business sectors. In my opinion, it is better stated
as "I see no reason why Libertarians should take the side of any labor
organization that relies on government power over the power of the
market." That should pretty clearly define the unions Libertarians can
support and those that it can't.

If you want to discuss this more with me personally, please allow me to
take you to lunch. Feel free to call me at any time.

Best regards,

Michael Denny
Libertarian Party of San Francisco
(415) 986-7677 x123