Here's what happens if you let the free market determine working conditions:
http://paranormal-hotel.blogspot.com/20 … -doha.html
Please be careful what you ask for, folks!
What does that have to do with the free market? Poor people can't afford to do many things... heck believe it or not there's a lot I can't afford either but I don't blame my status on the free market! It's always possible to improve oneself... look at those kids in Slumdog Millionaire!
Why should someone who works six long days a week be so poor that the only entertainment he can afford is hanging around in the street? Why should the workers' accommodation be so bad that hanging about in the street is better than going 'home', even in temperatures around 120F, in summer? How do you 'improve yourself' when your employer holds all the cards, including your passport? When you can't work for anyone except your employer/sponsor without a letter of no objection, which you won't get?
That is what the free market does where there is no workers' representation. As I said, be careful what you ask for.
Slumdog Millionaire was a movie, not a documentary.
I agree totally with you Dave. A decrease in labor unions can increase the gap bet. the rich and poor http://finance.yahoo.com/news/How-the-m … 48381.html
Hi Maita - workers' conditions here in the Gulf are the same as conditions in Europe about 100 years ago before the birth of the Trades Union movement. No representation = subsistence wages, or worse.
That's why I worry when I see people try to legislate against organised labour. Of course there have been excesses, but the movement has been a force for good.
What are workers' terms and conditions like in the Philippines?
it is bloody there, Phils is second to Colombia in terms of the killings related to labor unions. When you are a factory worker, they will let you sign a piece of note not to join any labor unions. Conditions are still oppressive there, there are lots of Multi national corporations run by the locals. And that is why Filipino people go overseas to find job, only to find more oppressive working conditions (Middle East) but they accept it anyway because they need jobs.
Yes, there are lots of your people in the Gulf. Some are earning quite a lot more than they could at home, but the cost of living here is very high. So high that they are personally poorer here than at home. So they deprive themselves seriously while here, living often at subsistence level (or below) with a view to just getting through it and getting home with some money to show for their efforts. It is a poverty trap.
Not the same treatment with engineer like you??
I'm the only engineer like me
Seriously though, I can negotiate my own contract. But an engineer from the Philippines will be offered substantially less than a European, even if doing exactly the same job. There is no fixed rate for the job. The employers offer as little as they think they can get away with, based on the source country.
Are most of the employers from UK too like you? Of course I understand there is prejudice everywhere. I am just thinking that when your employers are for example Brits, then they tend to protect their people who worked for them?? Or the employers are in connivance with the local authority or businessmen there? For other workers which come from less developed countries, perhaps they can't complain.. And with no bargaining power, they are doomed but accept the job anyway bec. it is better than no jobs at all from their home country. HMMM...
I'm not an employer, though I do sometimes subcontract work. In the Gulf, it's a bit of a free for all. The owners are happy to encourage competition between factions, as this tends to push wages down. This is not a good place. Instead of uniting, workers here are forced into competition with each other. Who will undercut? Who will drop standards furthest to secure the contract?
It's all so unnecessary, except that it is forced on the workers by the employers who are only interested in short term profit.
it is like accepting everything so that you can still cling to a job or can have a job.
Here, it's rare for people to change jobs. As they're nearly all expat, at the end of the contract they go home (no choice) and come back only if they get a new contract. You can't hang around here because the visa expires with the contract, or soon after.
but for overseas workers, they go home and come back again?? I know some people before who have been there for like more than five years or ten years, cut only when they have vacations.
Do they remarry with the locals to get visa? Or is this even allowed?
So you're a sub contractor? How do you decide who to give a job to? Do you say hers a job it pays "x" who wants it?
No. It's a very specialist field I'm in. When I need reinforcements, I'll directly contact the two or three people who might be suitable. Usually it comes down to who's available.
How do you decide what to pay? If they give you a price do you say no that's too low I'll pay you double? Why not give some work to all 3? Is it fair to single one out?
It doesn't work that way. You need continuity on a project. Sharing the work around doesn't provide continuity. The rates people ask are fairly standard, and probably vary by not more than 10%. The bigger consideration is suitability. As I said, it's a specialist field. I'm not sure what your point is? (Unless you're looking for a job in Broadcast Engineering? If yes, send me your CV!)
My point is you rail against capitalism and free markets claiming they're unjust that they force wages below what's fair and yet when you act as the employer you pay according to the prevailing market rate and you select people that meet your needs. Don't you think that's a bit hypocritical?
Not even slightly. I object strongly to the exploitation of the workforce as evidenced in the linked photograph of hundreds of people so poorly paid that all they can do with their very limited free time is hang around in the street.
The Engineers that I occasionally subcontract are not exploited in any way. So where's the hypocrisy?
They aren't? Who decides their pay? You, their employer or do they decide?
They are professionals. They quote for the job. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don't. But they are doing well and are not being exploited.
The guys who are living on subsistence rations, in unsavoury dormitory accommodation, denied representation, denied female company even if married, denied freedom of the city they are building, being paid around $250 per month - these guys are being exploited.
Can you spot the difference?
What do you mean by "denied" ? Who is denying them this and is this lawful? Were these workers aware of these conditions prior to accepting the employment? I wonder if you had as many engineers applying for work with you as there were people in the street in your pic would you still pay the same rate and how would you chose who to hire given that maybe 100 would be available and qualified?
The workers are recruited in their home countries, mostly the sub-Continent and Philippines, and brought over here to the labour camps. They know the wages, which might sound reasonable, but will not understand that $250 pcm is abject poverty in a rich oil country. They know the company will provide food and accommodation, but they won't know how meager and uncomfortable these will be.
Is this all lawful? Possibly. Is it ethical? Certainly not. But it is what happens, and has always happened, when checks and balances on business either do not exist or are not applied.
I'm not going to answer hypothetical questions about huge crowds of broadcast engineers as the scenario will never obtain.
Well lack of knowlege is no excuse. Certainly they should be free to change their mind and return home. You need not answer the hypothetical question we both know the answer. Anywhere there is a product or a service in excess to demand SOCIETY will value it less. Its like trying to sell ice to an eskimo in the artic... the workers cutting up the blocks can only expect very little for their efforts.
"Well lack of knowlege is no excuse. Certainly they should be free to change their mind and return home."
It might not be easy from a village in Nepal to research employment conditions in Qatar, wouldn't you agree?
Of course we all understand supply and demand. We also understand that 'mere' supply and demand, i.e. an unregulated free market, often leads to what I've described.
It's still not clear to me whether it's an unregulated market or a lack of protection of individual's freedom that's the problem. I tend to think it's the latter.
It doesn't have to be one or the other. It's both.
I think you got LL stumped there
Stating that things aren't black and white is hard for some to get their heads around.
That's one of the biggest problems with what passes for politics these days. Instead of looking at issues pragmatically, folk just take stances and start bashing the other side. So much wasted energy!
Couldn't agree more. I've been considering writing a hub on how to have a grown up political debate but I doubt it would get many readers
I did that, called "Extremism in Politics, Religion, and Society - Let's be Passionately Moderate!" which got a fair discussion going among hubbers, but went on to do nothing on the Internet, as you might expect. But there's room for plenty more - I hope you write yours
Hardly! I just felt that was a good place to end the thread. Look I'm all for moderation but how do you achieve it? The left thinks it can be achieved by force through a greater role of government taxing ang legislation imposing their view of what is moderate. I reject that notion! Moderation is achieved through freedom less government less legislation less taxing... by letting each individual decide... because we're all so different and have a great variety of views and opinions moderation will naturally fall in the center of the great many.
Hey Lady, what about our freedom to continue the thread?
If you really feel that it is your place to stop threads, start with some of your own and leave others alone!
Typical right wing bullying.
Lol! What the he'll are you talking about? I don't care it a thread stops or not im not telling anyone what to do merely stating that I thought it was a good time for me to stop. Paranoid much?
You wrote "I just felt that was a good place to end the thread."
Not "I thought it a good place to butt out" but a good place to end the thread, or do you feel that if you cease to contribute to a thread then there is nothing left for any body else to say?
We have that problem on the freelance writing sites - a highly talented writer from the Philippines or India will always be offered much less money than a UK or US writer. For me, that is wrong, as people should be paid on merit - we campaigned to have country removed from the profile, but to no avail.
I think it is happening everywhere in different places. Not only in terms of nationalities/citizenship but with ethnicity as well.
In Silicon valley according to a friend, while there are Indian Americans or other Asian Americans who are very knowledgeable in their field, there is inequality - they are not given equal opportunities as compared to their American counterparts.
Yes. It is completely wrong. Also wrong is that (here) most of the real work is done by Filipinos and Indians who will never be promoted because the promoted posts always go to Arabic speakers. Not 'locals' of course - the locals either 'manage' or avoid work altogether
Your employer holding your passport and a requirement for a letter of no objection is NOT a free market! These people aren't where they are because of the free market, they are there because the free market is absent! This is government persecution it's got nothing to do with capitalism!
Why is it Government persecution? There are laws in place but the big companies often ignore them. Government workers here generally do better than workers for private contractors.
I think you answered your own question. Your government is ignoring its own laws that's corruption! Those conditions can't stand but its up to the workers to organize and confront business and the government.
If it is up to the workers to organise and confront business and the government, they are going to need the strength of a union behind them. Without union backing, any immigrant worker who raises his head above the parapet will just be repatriated. So we're agreeing that unions are a good thing?
I thought the government wasn't supposed to regulate the employment practices of businesses anyway. Shouldn't workers and companies be free to set their own wages and benefits without government interference?
If the government is not enforcing its own regulations, that's not corruption, that's a de facto free market! Workers and business should be rejoicing in their freedom!
The problem here is workers AREN'T free to negoiate deals with other businesses and the job of government at least in the USA is to keep people free. But go ahead and try to twist this into your leftist world view.
Well, I'm glad we can agree that some government regulation of employment practices is necessary.
But isn't that the way you'd have it?
Aren't you opposed to unions and organised labour?
It seems to me that it is you doing the twisting!
I'm not opposed to unions and I've said so many times here. I'm opposed to being forced to join a union and pay the dues as a condition of employment. I'm also opposed to public service unions since government must always function.
What I don't understand is why all of you lefties are attributing the plight of these workers to the free market. That's not the case here, these people are being exploited by business and their government is complicit and their freedom is oppressed. If anything this is an example of socialism in action!
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread."
They do the same thing on Cape Cod in the summer. Shoo the homeless away so the tourists don't have to see them.
Lady somehow thinks that the individual worker should be able to negotiate terms and conditions with a company....at least this is the only way to interpret her responses here....
How else can workers be "free", at least in her mindstate....
What I don't understand is how an individual can stand up to the group....the lone outsider against the invested and self-interested group....
This is why labor unions and other similar organizations have been a major part of European and American history for centuries....
Lady....do a little research.... Tell me, starting with England before the Industrial Revolution, and working our way around Europe and the U.S......when did homelessness (as the problem we see today) begin?
If I remember correctly....yeoman farmers in England were doing just fine before private enterprise came on the scene.....and then we see the true face of unadulterated capitalism: The elite drive the farmers off the land....fences are put up, and the now homeless farmers are turned into cheap labor.....and how many are then pushed into the cities to find work...because they no longer can take care of themselves?
This process has been repeated over, and over, and over again....
It all comes down to who one supports....the propertied who continue to derive their wealth from ill-gotten gains....or those who lose their land because the "free-market" (meaning the wealthy) has control of the government....
Just look at the State of California....peer into its history and go from there....
Leland Stanford, Celis Huntington......Lady...how would you view these men and their "free market" "accomplishments"?
Maybe you should read the posts and try to follow the subject matter instead of just jumping in to attack me and change the subject.
I’ve read enough from Miguel (no question in my mind he‘s Hispanic). He is a Hugo Chavez wannabe, tho on a much grander scale. He envisions himself saving the world - from capitalism. I’m quite sure he lies awake at night dreaming of becoming the world’s benevolent DICTATOR (no other way to accomplish Miguel‘s Socialism/Communism), occasionally deigning to appear before his masses from his palatial estate, satisfied he’s gifted them their mere sustenance.
Marx: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”
Miguel would, of course, be the sole decider of abilities and the sole dispenser to satisfy needs. Ah, if only Miguel could reign over us all. Keep the flags of discontent waving Miguel…
Lol! You hit the nail on the head! He's the typical liberal intellectual responding to my posts with insecure historical events ( because he has a degree ) that has nothing to do with the subject under discussion! His aim to show his intelectual superiority and to distract from the facts and disrupt the discourse.
Back again, after a night's sleep.
Mikelong's analysis is right on the nail. The situation here is exactly analogous to Edwardian England (1900-1910) where workers were exploited mercilessly by the owner class. Possibly even worse, because the Edwardians didn't have the repatriation threat available. Oh, wait, they did, except they called it expatriation instead!
Am I supposed to deduce from your wise words that you are on the side of the Huntingtons and Stanfords?
Keep those blinders on tight, and keep the "la la la" chant going loudly....
"The problem here is workers AREN'T free to negoiate deals with other businesses and the job of government at least in the USA is to keep people free."
How many American workers are "free" to "negotiate deals" with employers?
Aside from the work of collective action (unions, worker centers, etc), or from executive positions, which workers in this nation have really any say?
In California, the "at-will" termination/resignation policy tightens the power employers have over the unorganized... For those who are not familiar with this term, "at-will" means that an employee can quit at any time (no two week notice), but the employer can terminate employees at any time and with no cause... They are just required to make sure one receives their final paycheck and any money owed.... I have watched this practice be abused repeatedly...leaving the fired with no answers and no means of income....
And then there are those, often from the same socio-politica-economic camp as the "at-will" supporters, who see unemployment benefits as "big government" and wasteful spending....
I suppose the unemployed should just starve....and of course, they should wither away from the city centers, where the "at-will" benefitting bosses are "beautifying" in order to draw more international money their way......
There is a flaw in using the word "capitalism" as a large thing... It is the same mistake made by referring to "Muslims", "Christians", or "whites" and "blacks" as wholes....
I can use this idea of capitalism to gain my own status, and those I select to join me..with only the enforcable laws to stop me (for it is not enough for a law to be written..).
The linkages, through family, fraternal organizations, religious identification, etc, those with power (beyond political office) picked and chose where "prosperity" would rain....
Which is why so many were driven to the West... For the indentured servants/free labor, they were promised their freedom in the stolen frontier.... Of course...one had to be a part of the newly created "white" club...and also a part of the longstanding "Protestant", "male" traditions...
It is the failure of the capitalist-centric-laissez-faire system that injustices grew to the point of requiring civil rights and collective action legislation.....
It is this same problem that organizations like ACORN and the CRA were formed...
Have you heard of "redlining", Lady? Regardless (for the internet is at your fingertips and google is just a click away), what is your view of this practice? What is a just response to the inequalities that it created, and that it, in many ways, still perpetuates?
Everyone is free to negoiate their own terms of employment! Being at will to leave a job is a good thing, it allows you to leverage an opportunity elsewhere with your current employer. Its a tactic I have used more than once. Why shouldn't an employer or business owner have the same ability? Shouldn't he be free to run his business as he sees fit? Should he be denied freedoms afforded employees simply because he is mire wealthy or successful? That's the premise of liberalism right? It seeks to create a class society and pit one against the other and then ruse to power in the chaos confusion and destraction! You constantly attack freedom as a bad thing as unjust but the unjust, the evil is the government interference in people's freedom cloaked in the disguise of fairness! You liberals are indeed an evil lot!
If there are no checks and balances on the business owners, they will push wages down to subsistence level. They did it in Edwardian England and they are doing it now in the Gulf.
Unionisation was what slowly lifted western workers out of poverty. Unionisation/representation is the only thing that can help these poor guys in the linked picture, some of whom are paid around $200 per month.
Trickle-down economics and laissez faire capitalism clearly doesn't work (except for the very rich) because these impoverished workers are living in just about the richest country in the world.
Paraglider, what's with the Edwardians?
The problems with exploited labour went much further than that. From the earliest days of the industrial revolution in the later part of the 18th century, through the Tolpuddle Martyrs, deported for trade union activities in the 1830s through the Victorian free markets that saw young children working in coal mines and as chimney sweeps and the prostitution of young girls, and the exploitation of women right through the 20th century.
Yes, I know. I was citing a period almost exactly 100 years ago because there are resonances between 1910 and 2010, and because I'd recently been discussing The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists elsewhere, so the period was on my mind.
I do think the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists should be compulsory reading.
It is, in my immediate circle! I've bought and given away many copies over the years.
I just checked, and my local library doesn't have it.
I'll have to wait for the inter-library loan.
What nonsense!! Even the rich can't resist market forces! When there is demand for labor wages increase... its happening right now in China and it happened in Mexico after NAFTA and in the USA when our economy was growing. Naturally in these times of high unemployment wages will be under pressure but this is all due to market forces not the rich or the poor!
Which is exactly why they have engineered the system so that we will never see full employment again. There will always be a pool of unemployed, but wanting to work, to keep wages down.
Who are they? Big spending big government liberals that's who!
Lady Love, a bit of advice, please engage your brain before speaking!
Why would "big spending liberals" want to keep wages down?
Because they wish to create an entitlement class dependent on government for their survival... that's their base for reelection... this class warfare thing is all being perpetrated by liberals!
John, you are wasting your time. This started out being an extremely informative forum post - still is. Best to ignore her lollll
I don't talk nonsense. I'm sorry you don't understand.
Lady....again you avoid answering to direct questioning, and your support of "at will" status, and ongoing nonsense about the ability of American workers to have negotiating leverage show your lack of understanding....
Again...I will redirect....
Redlining.....the freedom of investment houses (banks) to pick and choose what neighborhoods (and people) they will invest in.....leaving minority neighborhoods with no access to capital..
Should financial institutions have this freedom, Lady? Should we go back to those days?
As for the employee ability to negotiate that you claim exists....you (again) need to talk to the independent contractor truckers, teachers (like me), permanent temp status warehouse workers, Walmart employees, and countless others across this nation....
You will find that you are mistaken....
No I'm not at all mistaken. Pushing a broom requires little skil stocking a shelf again requires little skill. Low skill jobs have a more abundent labor pool to draw from ie greater competition for available jobs which leads to lower pay scales. The market is telling you to train for a better job. Again this is your choice accept a low skill position or improve your marketability.
Investors banks or other private venture capitalists should invest in what ever neighborhood they wish! What kind of government would tell its people where to invest? You're a socialist, an America hater. You hate freedom and seek a system of government that imposes its view of justice on society. What's more disturbing is you're reaching our youth these perverted ideas. You are what's wrong with America, you and your ilk that seek to crush freedom. You, Obama and the progressives in both parties!
Thank you Lady...
You have obviously supported redlining...and the freedom of business to discriminate against people based on ethnicity and socio-economic status...
If only you belonged to the minorities who have suffered because of this, and similar discrimination....
I wonder what your worldview would be then.....
More and more, you are demonstrating that you have no real idea about what you are trying to discuss....
You'd rather play partisan "rah rah rah" then seriously think about the reality facing the majority of the American workforce....
actually, I have to agree with Lady Love, i read that and saw NOTHING about free-markets in there.
All that i saw was government transgressions: why are police going down the streets demanding people move about?
Yeah I support freedom and I'm not ashamed of that. I think in the case of redlining one needs to look at the cause... why do such neighborhoods exist? Usually its because of government low income or rent controlled housing. Government creates the problem to begin with and then to fix it wants to force people to invest in it! Its laughable! Everytime liberals get involved in solving a problem their solutions only make things worse and what is even worse is they never acknowledge their failures instead they seek to blame others like those on the right!
It is possible to be an ethical employer but it's down to the employer to make the choice to be ethical - the employee desperate for money has little choice in the transaction as Para has pointed out.
For instance I sometimes hire freelancers from India or the Philippines and I always pay more than the going rate. From a purely financial perspective it doesn't make sense, but in terms of that person feeling valued and therefore doing better work for you than they would if you paid them the minimum, it does. Paying them more is probably also relieving them of some stresses such as worrying about having enough to buy food, having enough to pay for a doctor if they need it or even having enough for a vacation.
Unfortunately many business people do not care one whit about their employees welfare and will just squeeze as much as possible out of them for as little as possible. When it's left to the employer to choose to act ethically, many just won't.
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