Saturday, October 27, 2012

Out With Unions, In With Coercive Voting

Way back in the bad old days there was a system of economic organization, particularly amongst rural, isolated resource workers, known as paternalism. The idea was that it was a sort of noblesse oblige, the idea that underlings obeyed their "betters" and the elite treated their workers as their children. They were to be protected in an era of no state social programs; taught at a time of no state schools; and disciplined by company police and militia. Usually there was more discipline than protection or education. It also meant directing them to vote for the candidate of choice in any given election, oftentimes facilitated by bringing workers en masse to polling booths.
Of course that was the 19th century, before the advances of modern democracy.

Flash forward to the election today in the USA. Employers are now permitted to direct their workers how to vote and are doing it with mail outs. Unionization, however, has never been more difficult and unionization rates are pushing ten percent (compared to close to half the workforce in the 1950s-60s). Here, according to the New York Times, is the result:

“The economy doesn’t currently pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job, however, is another four years of the same presidential administration,” Mr. Siegel wrote. “If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current president plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company.”In an interview, Mr. Siegel said he was not ordering his employees to vote his way. “There’s no way I can pressure anybody,” he said. “I’m not in the voting booth with them.”Mr. Siegel added: “I really wanted them to know how I felt four more years under President Obama was going to affect them. It would be no different from telling your children: ‘Eat your spinach. It’s good for you.’ ”
The more things change, the more they stay the same...

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