## Question for those in charge of hiring employees

For discussions of culture, politics, economics, sociology, law, business and any other topic that falls under the social science remit.

If you were to offer me a job at $X per hour, what would you say if I asked how much you're making per hour off my labor? I'm curious how business owners, managers, human resource officers, etc would answer this question (if you're not one, then pretend you are). Explanation: If I can't know what value my labor is generating, then I can't know what percent of it I would agree to, so it's impossible for me to agree to the wage (except from the perspective of competing wage offerings). On the other hand, if I were being offered$10 to generate $20 of productivity, then I might see splitting it down the middle as a fair deal (all things considered) and therefore agree to it. At that point, I would concede taxation as unethical (if ethics were a thing). How could it be ethical to redistribute what is fairly agreed to? But productivity profited that wasn't sanctioned by an accord with the employee is pirated loot and therefore occupies no moral ground as refuge from taxation. Therefore taxation is not theft, but the return of property taken without permission. That is the socialism where workers have some say in the operations of the means of production. The ruling class would rather workers be kept in the dark and pressured by prospects of hunger in order to compel them to relinquish their services for peanuts instead of informed decisions and fair (aka ethical) divisions of the fruits of labor. The capitalists would prefer wages be valued in terms of competing offers, which are limited, and it's that limitation that the capitalists are capitalizing upon because if no one is offering a prospective employee more money, then employers won't have to pay as much and that means more profit for them. Keeping workers in a weak position of negotiation is incentivized by capitalism... as well as hiding productivity and other shenanigans to further the differential of wealth and consolidation of power. Serendipper Philosopher Posts: 2180 Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm ### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees If it were me, I'd tell you that I don't make money off your labor. You're the one making money off it. I would be making money off my own labor via the process of organizing, managing and maintaining a business. I would then suggest that you should do the same, as you seem to want more money than the position that you're applying for it worth. Then I'd tell you that we'd make a hiring decision within the next few days and then I would just not call you back. Anyone can make a sandwich, or move bricks from one pile to another, or clean a floor, or do a variety of other things. And those kinds of things are easy to do. Because they're easy, they don't pay as much as things that are more difficult like organizing people, managing and maintaining a business, and calculating risks in real time in order to create an environment wherein the business makes predictable, stable profit. If you can do those things, then you should. You see...a pimp's love is very different from that of a square. Dating a stripper is like eating a noisy bag of chips in church. Everyone looks at you in disgust, but deep down they want some too. What exactly is logic? -Magnus Anderson Support the innocence project on AmazonSmile instead of Turd's African savior biker dude. http://www.innocenceproject.org/ Mr Reasonable resident contrarian Posts: 26743 Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:54 am Location: pimping a hole straight through the stratosphere itself ### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees big dipper wrote:If you were to offer me a job at$X per hour, what would you say if I asked how much you're making per hour off my labor?

I'm curious how business owners, managers, human resource officers, etc would answer this question (if you're not one, then pretend you are).

ew that's a hard one, dude. are we talking about typical employees who don't know shit about what's really going on, or are we talking about employees who haven't been sufficiently brainwashed?

for those ignorant employees, i'd offer an explanation something like mr. reasonable gave. but if i were faced with a employee who knew his shit, the conversation might look something like this:

enlightened worker: how much are you paying me per hour?

me: $10 enlightened worker: where do you get the money to pay me? me: i sell the products you make. enlightened worker: how many products will i make in 8 hours? me:$100 worth.

enlightened worker: so then really i'm paying you $20 every 8 hours to do.... what, exactly? me: i own the factory and run the business. enlightened worker: where did you get the money to buy the factory? me: from selling products. enlightened worker: and who made those products? me: look man, i don't know what you're trying to say, but if you think i don't do any work, you're wrong. enlightened worker: i'm not disputing that. there is no doubt that you perform some kind of labor. what we're examining here is how and where you get your profit; whether it is from your own labor, or the labor of others. me: i manage the business, and this involves a lot of work. enlightened worker: of course, but the money you make is not proportionate to the work you do. if you were getting paid only for the labor you perform, you'd be making as much per hour as stacy over there who's in charge of the book keeping. you pay stacy$10 per hour, so that's what your labor would be worth if you were doing the book keeping, no?

me: well i pay myself a little more when i do the book keeping. it's my business. that's my right.

enlightened worker: i don't doubt that you do, and you are able to do so because of the profits you generate from the work of your employees. but this doesn't mean the labor of book keeping is worth the amount you give yourself. if it was, stacy would be making the same as you when she does the book keeping, right?

me: you know what, i'm late for a luncheon and i really must go.

enlightened worker: of course, of course. hey, you enjoy your lunch, big guy... oh and try the lobster... it's on me.
promethean75
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

Mr Reasonable wrote:If it were me, I'd tell you that I don't make money off your labor. You're the one making money off it. I would be making money off my own labor via the process of organizing, managing and maintaining a business. I would then suggest that you should do the same, as you seem to want more money than the position that you're applying for it worth. Then I'd tell you that we'd make a hiring decision within the next few days and then I would just not call you back.

Anyone can make a sandwich, or move bricks from one pile to another, or clean a floor, or do a variety of other things. And those kinds of things are easy to do. Because they're easy, they don't pay as much as things that are more difficult like organizing people, managing and maintaining a business, and calculating risks in real time in order to create an environment wherein the business makes predictable, stable profit. If you can do those things, then you should.

I used to hire guys in construction and every guy I hired made me $20-$40 per hour. I paid them $5-$10 under the table (back when min wage was $5.25). They made their money, but more importantly, they made MY money. By myself, I could make$50/hr. With a crew, I could make $100s per hour. If they had known how much I was making off of them, they would not have agreed. How do I know? Because they found out and went on strike. Obviously they didn't agree to the division. I had to hide how much I was making and pretend to be just as poor as them. That should have clued me in that I was unethical, but I consoled myself with the capitalist mantra that they could do it too (which is untrue). A friend of mine is a manager in IT for a big Berkshire company and he told me a story of a guy who wrote some code which saved the company$1 million. Then the guy asked if he could have a portion of the $1 million and was laughed at, and his notion of "entitlement" was so preposterous that he just had to tell me the story. Your value is not what you contribute, but what someone more desperate than you is willing to work for. If I could have found someone to work for 10 cents per hour, then it would be that much more profit for me. Slavery would be ideal and I know a guy who did that: he'd hire guys out of prison and shelter them in his own trailerhouses, for which he charged rent. After draws for beer-money was settled from throughout the week, they never saw a dime of their pay. Never. They were slaves with free housing and beer and no other options in life. For years I did jobs for a builder at a certain rate of pay until one day some neanderthal drug his knuckles up out of some cave saying he'd work for less. Then I was presented with the choice of working for the lesser pay or not working. I did one job at the lower rate and quit. I will not be valued based on what someone else will do the work for. Parents and welfare gives people the option of not working and the lack of employees forces companies to raise their wages to lure someone from his mother's basement or off the gov's teat. Without welfare, wages would plummet because people like me, my friend, my old employer, would base your value on that of the most desperate and hungry person we can find. Serendipper Philosopher Posts: 2180 Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm ### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees promethean75 wrote:enlightened worker: how much are you paying me per hour? me:$10
enlightened worker: where do you get the money to pay me?
me: i sell the products you make.
enlightened worker: how many products will i make in 8 hours?
me: $100 worth. enlightened worker: so then really i'm paying you$20 every 8 hours to do.... what, exactly?
me: i own the factory and run the business.
enlightened worker: where did you get the money to buy the factory? No, I would say "But the costs of running the factory have been accounted for by the other employees prior to me or else you would not have hired them, therefore you're hiring me at no addition cost and anything I give you is 100% pure profit above and beyond your compensation as an: accountant, manager, business owner, etc. What entitles you to that profit?"
me: from selling products.
enlightened worker: and who made those products?
me: look man, i don't know what you're trying to say, but if you think i don't do any work, you're wrong.
enlightened worker: i'm not disputing that. there is no doubt that you perform some kind of labor. what we're examining here is how and where you get your profit; whether it is from your own labor, or the labor of others.
me: i manage the business, and this involves a lot of work. (It's a lot of work if a business owner is also: an accountant, human resources, quality control, supervisor, sales, repair, legal, and a worker involved in production. I lived it. Greed made me take on too much work. Instead of hiring a salesman, I juggled the role with all other jobs. Then of course I appealed to the amount of work required of me for justification for the pay... as if I'm a slave to the grind just like everyone else.)
enlightened worker: of course, but the money you make is not proportionate to the work you do. if you were getting paid only for the labor you perform, you'd be making as much per hour as stacy over there who's in charge of the book keeping. you pay stacy $10 per hour, so that's what your labor would be worth if you were doing the book keeping, no? (I wouldn't appeal to the proportion of work done, but the proportion of the value generated) me: well i pay myself a little more when i do the book keeping. it's my business. that's my right. enlightened worker: i don't doubt that you do, and you are able to do so because of the profits you generate from the work of your employees. but this doesn't mean the labor of book keeping is worth the amount you give yourself. if it was, stacy would be making the same as you when she does the book keeping, right? me: you know what, i'm late for a luncheon and i really must go. enlightened worker: of course, of course. hey, you enjoy your lunch, big guy... oh and try the lobster... it's on me. I put my comments in red. I really applaud your conversation with yourself as it proves you can think from both perspectives which is a valuable tool of reasoning in my opinion. "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." - F. Scott Fitzgerald I want to encourage this type of post and have proposed arguing by dialogue before. Then others can edit the dialogue the way they think it should unfold. Serendipper Philosopher Posts: 2180 Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm ### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees I used to hire guys in construction and every guy I hired made me$20-$40 per hour. I paid them$5-$10 under the table (back when min wage was$5.25). They made their money, but more importantly, they made MY money. By myself, I could make $50/hr. With a crew, I could make$100s per hour.
You could have paid them any amount that you wanted. 'Capitalism' was not holding a gun to you head, forcing you to pay $5-$10. You also had a lot of options on how to organize your business - partnerships, profit sharing - which are not available to you under other economic/political systems. You had a lot of freedom.
A friend of mine is a manager in IT for a big Berkshire company and he told me a story of a guy who wrote some code which saved the company $1 million. Then the guy asked if he could have a portion of the$1 million and was laughed at, and his notion of "entitlement" was so preposterous that he just had to tell me the story.
The 'entitlement' is expecting to get a slice when he saves the company $1 million, but taking no responsibility if he made a mistake which cost the company$1 million. He wouldn't offer to make up the loss, would he? He feels entitled to profits but not losses. An agreed wage insulates the employee both from gain and loss that the company incurs. There are some real advantages to that arrangement. And some disadvantages. Most businesses lose money when they startup. Most businesses fail within a few years.
phyllo
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

phyllo wrote:
A friend of mine is a manager in IT for a big Berkshire company and he told me a story of a guy who wrote some code which saved the company $1 million. Then the guy asked if he could have a portion of the$1 million and was laughed at, and his notion of "entitlement" was so preposterous that he just had to tell me the story.
The 'entitlement' is expecting to get a slice when he saves the company $1 million, but taking no responsibility if he made a mistake which cost the company$1 million. He wouldn't offer to make up the loss, would he?
Lots of companies do punish for losses, in direct and indirect ways. But I think it exceptionally unlikely that anyone not working in finance could lose a company a million, and even there, the system has made errors. IOW there should be internal auditors and oversight. Most other losses will be covered by insurance. What kind of asshole would not share some part of that million, a significant part, with that employee? People should turn away from them at every party, like backs to them. They should be shunned.

They deserve workers who muddle through half-heartedly not giving a shit. It isn't just immoral, they acted like idiots.
Karpel Tunnel
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

phyllo wrote:
I used to hire guys in construction and every guy I hired made me $20-$40 per hour. I paid them $5-$10 under the table (back when min wage was $5.25). They made their money, but more importantly, they made MY money. By myself, I could make$50/hr. With a crew, I could make $100s per hour. You could have paid them any amount that you wanted. I couldn't pay them less than what they were willing to work for or I would have. Essentially I paid them the minimum to keep them from quitting. 'Capitalism' was not holding a gun to you head, forcing you to pay$5-$10. Capitalism was the gun I held to their heads, forcing them to take the peanuts I offered, or else return to peddling drugs or doing nothing. You also had a lot of options on how to organize your business - partnerships, profit sharing - which are not available to you under other economic/political systems. You had a lot of freedom. Why would I want to share profit? I tried a partnership initially, but my partner was too lazy, so I dissolved it and paid him hourly. A friend of mine is a manager in IT for a big Berkshire company and he told me a story of a guy who wrote some code which saved the company$1 million. Then the guy asked if he could have a portion of the $1 million and was laughed at, and his notion of "entitlement" was so preposterous that he just had to tell me the story. The 'entitlement' is expecting to get a slice when he saves the company$1 million, but taking no responsibility if he made a mistake which cost the company $1 million. Costing the company$1 million would be his manager's fault, not the fault of the employee. All the employee does is create code, and if malicious code found its way into the system, it would be the fault of the manager for allowing it to happen. On the other hand, if the employee writes $1 million in code, then the manager had nothing to do with that, except to allow it to be implemented. He wouldn't offer to make up the loss, would he? Probably so if he were cut-in on the profits. That's like asking me if I'd start a business and be willing to absorb losses. Of course I would. If I stand to make profit, I'm willing to risk losses. He feels entitled to profits but not losses. An agreed wage insulates the employee both from gain and loss that the company incurs. That's a myth perpetuated by the Right. Ask any employee if he'd be willing to accept profits if it meant also accepting losses. "Hell yeah!" would be the answer. Would you rather be paid$10/hr consistently? Or be paid $20 sometimes,$30 other times, $50 other times, and once in a bluemoon you'd have to pay me$5? Which would you pick?

I don't think ever in my life I lost money on an employee, so the rate of pay would have never been negative.

There are some real advantages to that arrangement. And some disadvantages. Most businesses lose money when they startup. Most businesses fail within a few years.

They were probably bad business models. Perhaps slavery would have saved them.
Serendipper
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

Karpel Tunnel wrote:Lots of companies do punish for losses, in direct and indirect ways. But I think it exceptionally unlikely that anyone not working in finance could lose a company a million, and even there, the system has made errors. IOW there should be internal auditors and oversight. Most other losses will be covered by insurance. What kind of asshole would not share some part of that million, a significant part, with that employee? People should turn away from them at every party, like backs to them. They should be shunned.

They deserve workers who muddle through half-heartedly not giving a shit. It isn't just immoral, they acted like idiots.

Not only is he not ashamed, but he ridicules the employee for even entertaining the thought.

He's the same guy who has 30 jobs open perpetually that pay almost twice the minimum, but can't find anyone to stick. I say raise the wage and people will stick. Instead, he derides them as lazy bums who won't buckle-down and work for the peanuts he's offering. He says end welfare and they'll be forced to come to work. Then he could cut their wages down to the minimum. Of course, he's against min wage too, so ideally he'd like to see them working for literal peanuts. Why? Because suffering builds character! Help people by making it harder on them. Adversity engenders prosperity, which is why poor neighborhoods are churning out so many successful people /sarc.
Serendipper
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

Serendipper wrote:Not only is he not ashamed, but he ridicules the employee for even entertaining the thought.

He's the same guy who has 30 jobs open perpetually that pay almost twice the minimum, but can't find anyone to stick. I say raise the wage and people will stick. Instead, he derides them as lazy bums who won't buckle-down and work for the peanuts he's offering. He says end welfare and they'll be forced to come to work. Then he could cut their wages down to the minimum. Of course, he's against min wage too, so ideally he'd like to see them working for literal peanuts. Why? Because suffering builds character! Help people by making it harder on them. Adversity engenders prosperity, which is why poor neighborhoods are churning out so many successful people /sarc.
I've been mulling, recently, my sense of 'what should be done', a little bit around our discussions around capitalism and socialism and the problems with the elites. I do not feel competent enough to know what changes, either at the tweaking level or at large scale economic levels - say a shift towards socialism- would make things better. The closest I come is with negative changes. Eliminate corporate personhood, get the money out of campains, restrict lobbying, return to the state revoking corporate charters for abuse of the priviledge - crimes, pollution getting fined cycles, etc. But when it comes to the whole wages worker rights freedom of employers, my knee jerk is towards lefty solutions, but I no longer feel the slightest certainty, given that the effects are so complicated, plus humans are such brainwashed idiotic, non-creative swayable creatures, I am not sure this would do anything but make a pendulum swing that will not last. There is nothing to stop the next Reagan comign in and erasing these changes and nothing to stop another Clinton from gutting the social system and freeing up Wall St. like his did with Glass speagal. The problem runs so deep.

I am lurching toward a sense that the only hope is in pointing out the lies and bullshit, primarily of those with power. And also focusing on how we are trained not to be fully human - by media, nowadays by technology especially via social media, by schools and by parenting memes and ideas about what is evil in the human. The left and the right have different ideas about what is evil, and the former are less likely to use the word evil, but they both go at children with a lot of assumptions about what has to be suppressed, destroyed, trained out, controlled.....

There is a complicated web and pulling out this strand here and making it good, in society, doesn't change much since the entire web simply counterbalances.

I think real leverage points are rare and since the very minds that need to change are so fixed by all the implicit assumptions, changing infrastructure doesn't do much since the minds drag things down
Karpel Tunnel
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

Karpel Tunnel wrote:There is nothing to stop the next Reagan comign in and erasing these changes and nothing to stop another Clinton from gutting the social system and freeing up Wall St. like his did with Glass speagal. The problem runs so deep.

That's why we need a constitutional amendment preventing any trickle-down economics from ever plaguing us again. I don't know why FDR didn't advocate it.

There are two ways of viewing the Government's duty in matters affecting economic and social life. The first sees to it that a favored few are helped and hopes that some of their prosperity will leak through, sift through, to labor, to the farmer, to the small business man. That theory belongs to the party of Toryism, and I had hoped that most of the Tories left this country in 1776

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's First Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech, July 2, 1932 https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Franklin ... nce_Speech

If they were indeed the redcoats, then they are traitors and should be dealt with once and for all. Currently they're like a herpes virus that goes into remission for a time only to habitually reappear.

I am lurching toward a sense that the only hope is in pointing out the lies and bullshit, primarily of those with power. And also focusing on how we are trained not to be fully human - by media, nowadays by technology especially via social media, by schools and by parenting memes and ideas about what is evil in the human. The left and the right have different ideas about what is evil, and the former are less likely to use the word evil, but they both go at children with a lot of assumptions about what has to be suppressed, destroyed, trained out, controlled.....

Authoritarianism depends who is the authority. A people cannot be tyrannical to itself, but only a small group of idealists can be tyrannical to the people.

The left makes laws.
The right makes laws.
The difference is who they represent.

The left advocates sales tax on soda to discourage unhealthy drink and fund education. <- community representation
The right advocates sales tax on netflix in order to be fair to corporations. <- corporate representation
Serendipper
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

Serendipper wrote:
'Capitalism' was not holding a gun to you head, forcing you to pay $5-$10.

Capitalism was the gun I held to their heads, forcing them to take the peanuts I offered, or else return to peddling drugs or doing nothing.

Uhhhh....... Do you seriously believe this? YOU were the POS (the "gun"), not capitalism, YOU! This is exactly the same lack of responsibility and judgement that leads the push for gun control. You are literally arguing that it's the system's fault that it allowed itself to be used by you to take advantage of other people. It's the system's fault it was open to corruption by a garbage individual(s)? And if anything, this is more like communism where you as the dictator of the state take all of the product of labour and give out just enough to keep them dependent on you, keeping all the luxuries for yourself, of course.

I am absolutely convinced that the other side of the fence is like anti-matter. A reciprocal. An exponent of -1. Reversed polarity. It's not like a good v. evil, because they genuinely think think they are correct and genuinely think they are moral. They are the road to hell being paved with good intentions.
Mimisbrunnr

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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

Mimisbrunnr wrote:
Serendipper wrote:
'Capitalism' was not holding a gun to you head, forcing you to pay $5-$10.

Capitalism was the gun I held to their heads, forcing them to take the peanuts I offered, or else return to peddling drugs or doing nothing.

Uhhhh....... Do you seriously believe this? YOU were the POS (the "gun"), not capitalism, YOU! This is exactly the same lack of responsibility and judgement that leads the push for gun control. You are literally arguing that it's the system's fault that it allowed itself to be used by you to take advantage of other people. It's the system's fault it was open to corruption by a garbage individual(s)? And if anything, this is more like communism where you as the dictator of the state take all of the product of labour and give out just enough to keep them dependent on you, keeping all the luxuries for yourself, of course.

I am absolutely convinced that the other side of the fence is like anti-matter. A reciprocal. An exponent of -1. Reversed polarity. It's not like a good v. evil, because they genuinely think think they are correct and genuinely think they are moral. They are the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

I think much of what you're saying is perfectly right and I am blaming the system, but not the system per se, but the admiration of the system. You see the distinction? For instance, the love of money is the root of all evil.

I was indoctrinated capitalist in my youth by my father who probably just innocently wanted to pay less taxes before being sucked into the AM radio phenomenon. I honestly thought I was being virtuous: providing a service to the community by creating jobs in accordance with the capitalist manifesto. How the hell was I to know any better? The internet didn't exist yet. But that's my point: it's the propaganda full of specious talking-points designed to appeal to simian sensibilities. Concepts like "fairness" and "deserve" are utilized exhaustively. "People who don't work don't deserve anything and it's not fair being burdened by them." Etc.

It's easy to get wrapped up in it especially when ones neurology had a toll taken by poverty and the struggle to escape breeds resentment for those who appear to rely on handouts. "Hey bum, why don't you work like I am?"

I used to yell at workers on strike. "Go find a better job if you don't like the pay here!"

As one coming from the darkside I feel I have particular insight to their inner workings. I'm not looking for redemption, but a better world to inhabit. The source of my morality is pure selfishness: what's good for society is generally good for me because I don't want to live in a shithole specifically tailored to compel people into servitude for the benefit of elites who don't give a shit about me or anyone else. This is not a righteous crusade, but a pragmatic one.
Serendipper
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

Serendipper wrote:If you were to offer me a job at $X per hour, what would you say if I asked how much you're making per hour off my labor? Let me ask a similar question: What would you say if you went to your local drug store to buy a soda, and instead of having a fixed price, they asked you, "what's it worth to you?" These are, in fact, the same question, it's just in one case you put yourself in the shoes of the noble worker struggling against the faceless corporation, and in the other you put yourself in the shoes of the noble consumer, struggling against the faceless corporation. But businesses do have faces, they are owned by humans who buy and sell to their advantage, just like you do. In my example, it's bad for you to pay the absolute most you would pay for a consumer good. In your example, it's bad for the employer to pay the absolute most that it would pay for your labor. In your example, the employer might turn around and ask, "What's the minimum you would accept for your time and labor?" Would that question be any less fair than what you're asking? With perfect transparency, you and the employer would both know the range of acceptable prices either of you would accept, and you could find a price that is in both ranges and that splits the difference in some fair way. Unfortunately, we don't have perfect transparency. When a prospective employer asks, "What are you making at your current job?", you fudge the numbers upward by 10-15%. And when they tell you the most they can offer is$X, they're fudging the numbers downward by 10-15%. You each have the ability to research the question and find out what your labor is worth to the company and to you, and if your a rational market agent you will. But you'll each still lie a bit in the negotiation.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:They deserve workers who muddle through half-heartedly not giving a shit. It isn't just immoral, they acted like idiots.

This is exactly right. Why would an employee do more than the bare minimum if that's all that's required? There's a business case to be made for sharing revenues, and lots of companies do that by paying employees in equity. But it's also worth noting that a lot employees who have the option to get paid in equity turn it down. A lot of people are very risk averse, and you probably overestimate how many people would choose to take on business risk in exchange for greater upside. I think they're wrong, of course, but that's neither here nor there.

promethean75 wrote:if i were faced with a employee who knew his shit, the conversation might look something like this:

As long as we're writing fantasy, let's make the employer not-a-moron too:

enlightened worker: how much are you paying me per hour?

me: $10 enlightened worker: where do you get the money to pay me? me: i sell the products you make. enlightened worker: how many products will i make in 8 hours? me:$100 worth.

enlightened worker: so then really i'm paying you $20 every 8 hours to do.... what, exactly? me, not-a-moron: i own the factory and run the business. No. Without me your labor isn't even worth$10 an hour. You can't sell your labor separately from the labor of everyone else I employ, because the search cost of finding you is not worth it to consumers, and in any case it costs too much for you and every worker I hire to separately coordinate with suppliers for the materials you need, and with the other workers I employ to do different parts of the work.

By working for me, you are earning more than you can earn on your own, and we're both benefiting from economies of scale. I earn more because I'm taking on more risk, working longer hours, and my time and effort is worth more to others. I'm sorry your labor isn't worth more than $10 per hour, but the market aggregates information about what things are worth, and to the extent the market isn't distorted by feel-good policies like a minimum wage, or regulatory capture like corporate subsidies, prison labor, tariffs, etc., the market clearing price for what you bring to the table is an accurate reflection of the value you provide. It's true that I could pay you more and take less for myself, but I'm not running a charity here. I don't give a fuck about you beyond the fact that this economic transaction helps me, just as you don't give a fuck about me beyond getting a steady paycheck. I have very good rational, selfish reasons to pay you what your time and effort is worth, and, if you turn out to be a good worker, to keep you happy by treating you well, promoting you and giving you raises, and investing in you as an employee so you can create even more value for me. I think what I'm offering to pay you is reasonable given your qualifications; my goal is for it to be more than you could earn elsewhere for your work (at least when prestige, future earnings, etc. are factored in), but not so much that I have to accept less than the rate at which I value my time or raise prices beyond what my competitors are charging or consumers are willing to pay. But given all that, I have every reason to make you an offer that is selfishly good for you if it is also selfishly good for me -- why would you accept if it wasn't selfishly good for you? So I think you have good rational and selfish reasons to accept my offer. But if you disagree, make a counter offer and I'll tell you if your labor is worth that price, or if I'd rather find someone else who can provide me the same value for less. User Control Panel > Board preference > Edit display options > Display signatures: No. Carleas Magister Ludi Posts: 6109 Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:10 pm Location: Washington DC, USA ### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees No. Without me your labor isn't even worth$10 an hour.

the value of the labor is equal to the amount paid by the consumer who purchases the product/service. no more, no less. by introducing the capitalist as an intermediary between producer and consumer, you are artificially manipulating the real value of the labor. the consumer might pay 10 dollars for x, and worker might produce x in one hour for 10 dollars per hour, but by involving the capitalist in this exchange, the worker will get less for his work (which is less than the sales price), and the consumer will pay more for the product. the combined differences are the capital, the surplus value, which is essentially an artificial inflation (the price of sale) and deflation (the wage paid to the worker) at the same time.

now why would the consumer and the worker desire to make their exchange through this intermediate dead weight? why would the consumer want to pay more than the product is worth, and why would the worker want to make less than the product is worth?

You can't sell your labor separately from the labor of everyone else I employ, because the search cost of finding you is not worth it to consumers, and in any case it costs too much for you and every worker I hire to separately coordinate with suppliers for the materials you need, and with the other workers I employ to do different parts of the work.

these are non-problems, so capitalism isn't 'solving' anything here, as you suppose. worker mobility/availability, coordination of productive and distributive forces, and job organization would all be under the administration of the workers themselves. no need for a capitalist to get involved and pretend like he's necessary.

By working for me, you are earning more than you can earn on your own, and we're both benefiting from economies of scale. I earn more because I'm taking on more risk, working longer hours, and my time and effort is worth more to others.

another non-problem. there would be no 'on your own' if there was no capitalist to 'hire' a worker. i'm not even sure what you mean here. workers will always be part of organized and interdependent groups regardless of what system they are operating in. unless you mean some guy who lives on a mountain, cures his own bear skins and then goes to town to sell them.

i'll grant you the phrase 'i earn more because i'm taking more risks', even though the word 'earn' would be a misnomer. better to call it 'appropriate', which means, he's allowed by law to own surplus value (money) his labor did not generate. also 'working longer hours' is a little questionable. the capitalist might stay in the office for more hours than the workers, sure, but his physical work output will always be much less than his employees per unit of time. well i should say 'usually'. there are some petite bourgeois who do actually work some. but this doesn't justify or make excuse for the capitalist.

and the capitalist's 'time and effort' isn't technically worth anything, for two reasons. he doesn't actually produce anything, so there is no effort to be valued. second, consumers are valuing what the workers produce, and this production does not require the presence of the capitalist to happen. hence, while consumers might be happy that joe bob has a corner store where they can conveniently shop, what makes that shop valuable is the fact that workers fill it with goods.

but the market aggregates information about what things are worth, and to the extent the market isn't distorted by feel-good policies like a minimum wage, or regulatory capture like corporate subsidies, prison labor, tariffs, etc., the market clearing price for what you bring to the table is an accurate reflection of the value you provide.

after the capitalist figures his overhead and decides what profit margins he wishes to obtain, thereby setting the sales cost higher than they would be in the market if he didn't exist.

It's true that I could pay you more and take less for myself, but I'm not running a charity here.

lol - 'charity'. the only charity running here is the charity the workers give to the capitalist by allowing him to control and keep what they produced.

I don't give a fuck about you beyond the fact that this economic transaction helps me, just as you don't give a fuck about me beyond getting a steady paycheck. I have very good rational, selfish reasons to pay you what your time and effort is worth, and, if you turn out to be a good worker, to keep you happy by treating you well, promoting you and giving you raises, and investing in you as an employee so you can create even more value for me. I think what I'm offering to pay you is reasonable given your qualifications; my goal is for it to be more than you could earn elsewhere for your work (at least when prestige, future earnings, etc. are factored in), but not so much that I have to accept less than the rate at which I value my time or raise prices beyond what my competitors are charging or consumers are willing to pay. But given all that, I have every reason to make you an offer that is selfishly good for you if it is also selfishly good for me -- why would you accept if it wasn't selfishly good for you? So I think you have good rational and selfish reasons to accept my offer. But if you disagree, make a counter offer and I'll tell you if your labor is worth that price, or if I'd rather find someone else who can provide me the same value for less.

correct. that characterizes the spirit and mechanics of system perfectly. well said.
promethean75
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

promethean75 wrote:there would be no 'on your own' if there was no capitalist to 'hire' a worker. i'm not even sure what you mean here. workers will always be part of organized and interdependent groups regardless of what system they are operating in.

I too am completely lost by what you're talking about, so we're probably not really even disagreeing.

For example, you acknowledge a role for "coordination of productive and distributive forces", but not for people who coordinate productive and distributive forces? And you acknowledge that business owners bear greater risks, and work longer hours, but you don't count the work they do (which seems like it could be well-described as "coordinat[ing] productive and distributive forces") as labor? Why? You seem to acknowledge that someone needs to bear the risk, and someone needs to organize people and things to create complex goods and services, but still assert that the person performing those vital roles "doesn't actually produce anything".

When you say that "workers produce" things, I take you to mean that certain people physically pick up the parts and joint them together, etc. And I also take you to be ignoring the very difficult tasks of coordinating those activities, so that the parts to be joined are present in the proper locations and the proper quantities and all the people joining the parts are joining them in the right sequence to the right specification to build something to match plans someone had to design. All of that planning and organizing and initiating action and bearing of the risks of failure is work, productive, valuable, important work. To claim that "there is no effort to be valued" in organizing a productive enterprise, finding all the things and people and places and bringing them together, coordinating their efforts so that each contributes to a larger whole -- my best guess is that all the words you're using are meant with something other than their colloquial meaning. What am I missing?
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Carleas
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

the strength of the socialist argument isn't going to come from proving the disequilibrium between the amount of work performed by the capitalist and the proletariat. if the socialist tried that crude approach, he'd get caught up in quibbling over what is defined as 'more important' work and would gain no leverage by drawing attention only to the amount of labor performed. a brick mason will burn more calories in thirty minutes than a brain surgeon will burn in a whole day, but this can't mean that the brick mason is more important. so that approach cannot work.

look at the situation in another way. if the real value of a series of work efforts - planning material deliveries, negotiating with distributors and vendors to sell your product, scheduling factory maintenance, organizing workers and stations, managing payroll, dealing with accountants, etc., etc. - were worth precisely what the market dictated, then the company owner would be worth the same amount as a worker who performed the same tasks. so if stacey lou is making salary or wage x for tasks y (doing all of the above), then so should the company owner who's doing the same thing. rather the company owner tells himself that when he does it, it's somehow magically 'worth more' than when stacey lou does it.

to get around this pretentious nonsense, you'd deprivatize the company, set up democratic worker managements who would then collectively determine the value of doing these tasks and assign the appropriate salary/wage to that job. and the same factors that determine the value of work/product in a free, competitive market, would still exist in such a setting. say product x isn't very popular among consumers and sales are low. workers in the factory that manufactures product x will either have to accept that the collective decision was made to pay wage x for the task they perform (an adjustment made because profits are dropping), or request/search for another job at which they can make more. the same forces of demand are here controlling (competitively) the process... only nobody is making money off someone else's labor and everybody is working.

socialism does not seek to abolish private property, but private business. for an economic system to work, people have to be able to freely choose what material commodities they value, what they buy, since this is the very thing that stimulates material production. the consumer's values dictate the worth of everything; the products and the value of the labor required to produce them. a communist dictator can't just demand 'this is the value of x' and set a flat price for it. that's not how it works. the market must be allowed to self-regulate, with the same element of competition to increase one's marketable skills and/or produce a popular commodity. there is no loss of 'incentive' to work here, as we hear in that tired old argument conservatives are always waving around.

but there's more. much more. you also have to imagine a future in which far less work has to be done by human beings, for two reasons; EVERYBODY is working (instead of just a majority with the exclusion of capitalists and the lumpen proletariat), and machines have become able to provide alternative forms of labor. and this with the same, if not more, quantity of production. imagine that; working less but producing more.

here's a basic outline for such a plan: http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/AAA_Socialist_Economy.htm
promethean75
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

promethean75 wrote:if the real value of a series of work efforts - planning material deliveries, negotiating with distributors and vendors to sell your product, scheduling factory maintenance, organizing workers and stations, managing payroll, dealing with accountants, etc., etc. - were worth precisely what the market dictated, then the company owner would be worth the same amount as a worker who performed the same tasks.

This is question-begging. The closest we've ever had to a free market is the market we have now, and it indicates otherwise. So we have at least one data point that says what you're asserting is false.

promethean75 wrote:the same forces of demand are here controlling (competitively) the process... only nobody is making money off someone else's labor and everybody is working.

The only evidence we have says that the outcome would be that the people who do the coordinating, planning, initiating of activity, and bearing of risk would be paid significantly more than the people joining part A and part B. Do you think that a competitive market that aggregates information to set prices won't reveal that running a business is an uncommon skill that produces a ton of value and is very difficult to do well?

I'm not saying we can't improve the current market, we absolutely can. But those improvements are not had by eliminating this weirdly undefined concept of "making money off someone else's labor". Every voluntary economic exchange in a complex economy entails both parties making money (or rather, value) off the other party's labor.

promethean75 wrote:socialism does not seek to abolish private property, but private business.

OK, so say I invent something, and want to sell it. It's complex and will require lots of materials, suppliers, workers, etc. to get the finished product. The workers aren't going to spontaneously organize to get all that set up, so I reach out to them. I take out a loan under my name, mortgage my house, and commit to certain orders from suppliers and hire some workers. Do these workers now seize what I've organized under my name, under my credit, with my house backing it? Is that what you mean by the 'abolishment of private business': the seizure of the products of my labor?

promethean75 wrote:here's a basic outline for such a plan: http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/AAA_Socialist_Economy.htm

The fourth paragraph talks about shortening the work week in response to innovation. Let's say I'm a worker, and I've got expensive tastes. Some innovation shortens the work week, but I would rather keep working longer and make more money. Can I? Or is the idea that in our socialist utopia I've already "changed [myself]" away from my expensive tastes, and would not want to work longer and earn more? What if I just like working? What if I want to work even less, can I work part time and just live simply, or have we all decided to want the same things so that personal preferences for how much we work and consume are no longer an issue to be solved?
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Carleas
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

Carleas wrote:
Serendipper wrote:If you were to offer me a job at $X per hour, what would you say if I asked how much you're making per hour off my labor? Let me ask a similar question: What would you say if you went to your local drug store to buy a soda, and instead of having a fixed price, they asked you, "what's it worth to you?" That is essentially the question that is already asked in a free market because prices are determined by supply and demand in a competitive marketplace, so the value of the soda is based on what people are willing to pay in a universe of alternatives. In this case, the free market in goods works for the benefit of society by keeping prices cheap and driving innovation to increase efficiency. Value of employees are likewise determined by supply of workers and demand for them, so if there are many workers, then their wage is cheap; if there are few workers, maybe because of welfare or rich parents, then their wage must be high to compel them into service or else find a means around utilizing human labor. But if not for other alternatives (ie welfare or rich parents), then automation and general population expansion creates a glut of workers competing for the cheapest wage. So in this case, a free market in workers works to the detriment of society by keeping wages cheap and restraining incentive to increase efficiency. These are, in fact, the same question, it's just in one case you put yourself in the shoes of the noble worker struggling against the faceless corporation, and in the other you put yourself in the shoes of the noble consumer, struggling against the faceless corporation. But businesses do have faces, they are owned by humans who buy and sell to their advantage, just like you do. In my example, it's bad for you to pay the absolute most you would pay for a consumer good. In your example, it's bad for the employer to pay the absolute most that it would pay for your labor. It has nothing to do with nobility except to the extent that it's addressing the "taxation is theft" argument which is reliant upon the fact that productivity taken without agreement is somehow not stolen. In my particular instance, I was reliant upon a desperate sort of person whose dire predicament could be leveraged against him to compel him to agree to wages that other people with more options would never have agreed to. In other words, I shook him down; ripped him off; because one can't defend themselves, that weakness conveys permission to exploit them. So if taxation is theft, then is stealing what was stolen theft? Now if the person were made aware of the productivity split and agreed to the division, not because he's starving to death, but because he deems it genuinely fair, then no theft or sleight of hand occurred, and therefore the "taxation is theft" argument may have merit. "No Uncle Sam, don't take his money and give it to me because I agreed that is the amount of money he should have." But the exploited work says, "That SOB took advantage of the fact that I have no other options and he exploited me!" The fraud victim says "That SOB took advantage of the fact that I'm ignorant and he capitalized on that." The rape victim says "That SOB took advantage of the fact that I'm defenseless and he capitalized on that." There isn't much difference. In your example, the employer might turn around and ask, "What's the minimum you would accept for your time and labor?" Would that question be any less fair than what you're asking? That's already what happens, but no one can provide a genuine answer because his value is determined by the most desperate worker, just like the value of the soda is determined by the cheapest soda. With perfect transparency, you and the employer would both know the range of acceptable prices either of you would accept, and you could find a price that is in both ranges and that splits the difference in some fair way. Unfortunately, we don't have perfect transparency. When a prospective employer asks, "What are you making at your current job?", you fudge the numbers upward by 10-15%. And when they tell you the most they can offer is$X, they're fudging the numbers downward by 10-15%. You each have the ability to research the question and find out what your labor is worth to the company and to you, and if your a rational market agent you will. But you'll each still lie a bit in the negotiation.

I'm not advocating turning the system on its head, but just asking for the acknowledgement that exploitation exists and then that concession being used as ethical justification of redistributive taxation.

Karpel Tunnel wrote:They deserve workers who muddle through half-heartedly not giving a shit. It isn't just immoral, they acted like idiots.

This is exactly right. Why would an employee do more than the bare minimum if that's all that's required? There's a business case to be made for sharing revenues, and lots of companies do that by paying employees in equity. But it's also worth noting that a lot employees who have the option to get paid in equity turn it down. A lot of people are very risk averse, and you probably overestimate how many people would choose to take on business risk in exchange for greater upside. I think they're wrong, of course, but that's neither here nor there.

Usually those profit-sharing schemes don't benefit the employee that much. If an employee really had a share of the profit, they'd be motivated to find ways to increase it instead of acting like lazy bums riding the clock. If I had paid a share of profit, then I could expect more than $50/hr in revenue per employee, but I'd also have to pay more of it out. Serendipper Philosopher Posts: 2180 Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm ### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees promethean75 wrote:there would be no 'on your own' if there was no capitalist to 'hire' a worker. i'm not even sure what you mean here. workers will always be part of organized and interdependent groups regardless of what system they are operating in. He is saying that the capitalists are providing jobs that wouldn't otherwise exist if not for the idea that one could get rich by providing those jobs. That is how I justified my own actions: I'm providing a service to the community, only I didn't realize that I was leveraging desperation against people. Now the question has to be answered concerning whether I would have started a business in the first place if I had to share much of the profits with people who didn't have the capability to start and operate a business, and the answer to that depends on just how much of the profit I would have had to share. 50/50? Now way! I'd rather have been an employee of someone else than be an employer myself. So the prospect of getting rich definitely drives industry which probably wouldn't exist without such motivation. Carleas has a point there. Serendipper Philosopher Posts: 2180 Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:30 pm ### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees Serendipper wrote:But if not for other alternatives (ie welfare or rich parents), then automation and general population expansion creates a glut of workers competing for the cheapest wage. So in this case, a free market in workers works to the detriment of society by keeping wages cheap and restraining incentive to increase efficiency. I basically agree with this. The market price of human labor will go to zero over time. It's already happening in low-skill industries, and it's going to happen everywhere this century. It's a problem that needs to be addressed (my preferred solution is a Basic Income pegged to revenue from Value Added and Land Value taxes). Serendipper wrote:it's addressing the "taxation is theft" argument OK. I'm not making this argument, and it's not inherent in capitalism. Serendipper wrote:Now if the person were made aware of the productivity split and agreed to the division... So maybe the appropriate alternative question is for the employer to ask the employee to provide an accounting of her expenses: if it only costs you$300 per week to survive, and your work is worth $400 a week to me, let's split the difference at$350.

I agree that seems absurd. Similarly, it seems absurd for an employee to expect that they can get an accounting of what will be done with the value of their labor as part of negotiating their pay, or to hold that the only way to reach a fair, non-theft, non-exploitation agreement is for both parties to provide this information.

Serendipper wrote:But the exploited work says, "That SOB took advantage of the fact that I have no other options and he exploited me!" The fraud victim says "That SOB took advantage of the fact that I'm ignorant and he capitalized on that." The rape victim says "That SOB took advantage of the fact that I'm defenseless and he capitalized on that." There isn't much difference.

One pretty significant difference is that the employer made her 'victim' better off. They may have accepted out of desperation, but they would have been worse off if they hadn't accepted (indeed, that's the premise of accepting our of desperation). The same isn't true of being defrauded or raped.

Serendipper wrote:If an employee really had a share of the profit, they'd be motivated to find ways to increase it instead of acting like lazy bums riding the clock.

That's why employers offer it, particularly to people whose labor has a significant effect on total output (e.g. management and executives).

For low-skilled labor, there are game theoretic limitations on how much it can motivate. One of ten thousand people on an assembly line can't meaningfully move the needle, so the pay-off to free-riding is likely to outweigh the pay-off to working harder that equity could provide. So you don't see a lot of equity for low-level jobs, other than in start-ups, which are borrowing against their future by paying in equity.
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Carleas
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

This is question-begging. The closest we've ever had to a free market is the market we have now, and it indicates otherwise. So we have at least one data point that says what you're asserting is false.

hmm i don't think we're on the same page. what you said earlier was that the 'work' that the capitalist performs in managing his business is... wait lemme go find the quote. right here: "I earn more because I'm taking on more risk, working longer hours, and my time and effort is worth more to others.

so if your time and effort is in performing those tasks that stacey lou gets a salary/wage to perform (when she's hired by someone to do so), why would your time and effort 'be worth more to others'? what makes the work of performing those tasks more valuable to consumers only when a capitalist does it, and not when stacey lou does it? see where this is going? the total net value of joe bob's business, the thing that makes it 'worth something' to consumers here, is the resulting product it provides to them. and if we divide that product up into all the various kinds of labor involved in producing it, each part of its production would have its relative value. guy running the machine, guy loading the deck, guy sweeping the floor, guy supplying the line with parts, guy stocking the shipment warehouse, guy cleaning the employee bathroom, ... and stacey lou, who does all the things the company owner used to do himself before he hired her. each of the parts contributes to the whole process of production and has its relative value. now why and how would the relative value of what stacey lou is doing suddenly be 'worth more to others' if a capitalist is doing it instead?

The only evidence we have says that the outcome would be that the people who do the coordinating, planning, initiating of activity, and bearing of risk would be paid significantly more than the people joining part A and part B. Do you think that a competitive market that aggregates information to set prices won't reveal that running a business is an uncommon skill that produces a ton of value and is very difficult to do well?

i'm not sure i understand the question. running a business is uncommon because business owners are a minority... not because running a business is an 'uncommon skill'. you can make just about anyone a business owner if you gave them a calculator and a note pad. nothing to it. and 'difficult to do well' is like a hasty generalization. what if bob can do easily what john struggles to do? how do we quantify 'difficult'?

i don't think the aggregate information revealed by the market tells us that business owners are a special type of people that possess skills workers can't have. of course, business and production is incredibly important and often difficult to get right... but what does this have to do with that class of person called the 'owner'? 'owner' is just a word that basically means one has the legal right to control the fate of some material thing. doesn't mean he's some kind of special addition to the chain of production that adds value to it. he doesn't. he's just 'there'. stacey lou can do everything he does... and incidentally, for a fraction of the cost... because stacey lou sure as hell doesn't get as much a capitalist x 'gives himself' when he does it instead.

btw, what kind of name is 'stacey lou', anyway? did i do that, or did you? i can't even remember.

Every voluntary economic exchange in a complex economy entails both parties making money (or rather, value) off the other party's labor.

holy smokes dude. for a fantastically smart fellow you sure missed one of the simplest of details. profiting from someone else means to pay someone an amount that will be less than the amount made from the sale of what was made. if you are not doing this - which is the very definition of the capitalist - then you are not 'making money off other party's labor'.

OK, so say I invent something, and want to sell it. It's complex and will require lots of materials, suppliers, workers, etc. to get the finished product. The workers aren't going to spontaneously organize to get all that set up, so I reach out to them. I take out a loan under my name, mortgage my house, and commit to certain orders from suppliers and hire some workers. Do these workers now seize what I've organized under my name, under my credit, with my house backing it? Is that what you mean by the 'abolishment of private business': the seizure of the products of my labor?

frankly i don't know what the reds would do to ya in such a situation. i'm not entirely sure how the transition would be made regarding how and what you get to keep. but along with the seizure of your business would probably come the elimination of much of your credit debts... as these are debts to yet more capitalists. the revolution would literally level the whole playing field and hit the reset button on everything. you wouldn't be obligated to finish your mortgage because the bank that gave it to you would also be seized. same with all your payments to any other creditors. there carleas would be, a clean slate, nothing owed, and on his way to his job which he absolutely loves on a bright sunny morning. the new carleas, the new work ethic, the new man.

The fourth paragraph talks about shortening the work week in response to innovation. Let's say I'm a worker, and I've got expensive tastes. Some innovation shortens the work week, but I would rather keep working longer and make more money. Can I? Or is the idea that in our socialist utopia I've already "changed [myself]" away from my expensive tastes, and would not want to work longer and earn more? What if I just like working? What if I want to work even less, can I work part time and just live simply, or have we all decided to want the same things so that personal preferences for how much we work and consume are no longer an issue to be solved?

i thought the answer to this would be without saying. there is always something to do; if someone wishes to work more, they'd consult with the worker's party who would then decide how to best make use of this desire to work. they'd putcha somewhere, believe me. and you'd be able to work your little heart out, comrade.

He is saying that the capitalists are providing jobs that wouldn't otherwise exist if not for the idea that one could get rich by providing those jobs.

yeah there's a grey area here that's difficult to navigate. there are things that are necessary commodities, and then there are luxuries that aren't necessary... like the wacky wall walker. remember those? some dude got rich off that idea. however, why couldn't the state take the same risk and come up with some novel product like this for the same reason? who knows... maybe the people would like to have a spatula that talks to you... let's try the idea and start making them. if we fail, we've lost nothing; we simply re-allocate the resources we use to produce the talking spatula to some other use. but what happens when a capitalist fails at such a venture? a small disaster for hundreds if not thousands of workers.

anyway, don't think that people need to have the motivation of 'getting rich' to come up with marketable ideas. there's plenty of shit that needs to be made, and plenty of space and time to be used in creating novel ideas which may or may not be successful. only difference is, in a socialist economy, nobody takes a bullet when an idea fails. there is an immediate rebound. none of this unemployment shit and scrounging around for another job. how many people with degrees end up working at mcdonalds because they can't find a job? in a socialist society, very special attention is paid to your skill set, and you WILL be put where you are most able to perform according to your skills. if you don't want to do this... then go get a job at mcdonalds. but at least you are given the option to decide, rather than having to take the job because you are not given the opportunity to do what you do best. an astrophysicist working at harris teeter is some bullshit that would only happen in capitalism.
promethean75
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

Consider identical twin A and identical twin B.

B is adopted at birth by a financially less well-off couple whose house location and nearby affordable facilities are in line with the state of their finances. The neighbourhood is representative of this.

A is kept by his more well-off biological father who is in construction, and biological mother. The respective education and opportunities of the twins differ in line only with their different environments, until at the age of 18, B is out looking for a job and A is hiring for his construction enterprise that he inherited from his dad, along with all his knowledge and expertise. B has no such background but has the same work ethic and desire to get into construction as A had.

By chance they meet and A offers B a job, paying him 50% of what he produces because this is the going market rate for people of his experience for the job he is doing.

Now consider the question:

Serendipper wrote:How could it be ethical to redistribute what is fairly agreed to?

The fact is that B does not have the skills that A has, and it's these skills that are relevant to the task at hand - case closed? They're essentially the same people, they worked and continue to work just as hard as each other with the same drive and capacity for creativity and ingenuity, only their environment was different - and the damage is done.

A is being rewarded for having been initially more fortunate, and B pays the price.
Simple as that.
Equity of opportunity? Not at all.
But Capitalism has zero problem with this, the free market dictates it and it is done.

More realistically, one's work ethic, drive, motivation etc. can even be relatively damaged by poor initial environmental conditions - no matter "who you are" genetically. The less fortunate who incur such mental damage are castigated further for their resultant inferior learned disposition, and the loop feeds back on itself. And the more fortunate congratulate themselves and boast about how much more they work and how much more deserving they are because of who they are - the fundamental attribution error. They pass down their advantages to their offspring because they are ever so deserving just as their children are...

As emotionally liberating as it is to feel "free" to trade as you please: taxes be damned, the twin example above illustrates just how consentual each part of any trades can be - the consent diminishes the less powerful your position is. "A" can take or leave the employment of "B", they have everything going for them already and plenty of other employees to choose from if any at all. "B" is far more limited, and this is all the ethics there is to such "free trades". But hey, the damage is done, the inequality is just practical! "A" is simply trading an opportunity that he values less than "B" who wants/needs to take it - the profit comes from the difference in valuation - the inequality is ethical!

To turn all of this to the topic of the thread:
As a potential employee you immediately pay a price as soon as you honestly address this situation. How disruptive and potentially damaging to the team spirit you are with your pessimistic attitude! Essentially it's a violation of perceived obedience: "this is the system, accept the story, play the game, ask the acceptable questions". The American ideology of "freedom" - as Orwellian as it gets. This is the necessary submission of the mere wage labourer, regardless of the potential that never got to flourish, or any potential still remaining that spills outside of the required mandates on offer. Such restrictions are lessened for those who were more fortunate - and their reward is the possibility to be even more fortunate in future!

The requirement of voluntary trading is just as involuntary to the one who does not find their vocation at the right time. So desperate is the need for everyone beyond school age to have "any job" so long as it is "a job", so we can all ensure the availability of faster food, branded clothing and jewellery, and reality TV (just note the lack of shop variety at your local shopping mall the next time you go). God forbid it's their fault or they're faking it! Better not to take the chance and scrape together what little wealth you can get your hands on, in spite of its incessant trickle up to pool in the hands of those who are to be rewarded for having already been rewarded. Clearly the tactic is to make the poorer feel so grateful to have what little they have that they can't bear the thought of giving any away, and to gratify the rich so much for having so much and deserving every penny unlike those poor people who just weren't as good at the core of their being. Fair distribution? Ha! You first, buddy (pincered you there!) Cornered as a result of the system, not all other possible ones - but who has the time and energy to conceive of such indulgences these days?

Silhouette
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

promethean75 wrote:why and how would the relative value of what stacey lou is doing suddenly be 'worth more to others' if a capitalist is doing it instead?

So Stacey Lou (you invention) isn't bearing any risk, she's being paid a salary rather than whatever surplus the business earns, she isn't the driving factor for the business, she gets her direction from some other person. She isn't doing what the owner does. Owner-managers add more value than managers.

promethean75 wrote:running a business is uncommon because business owners are a minority

But your claim is that it's a better deal to be the owner. If all it takes to avoid exploitation is a calculator and a pad, what's the problem? Anyone who doesn't like to be exploited can just start a business and be their own person!

The answer, of course, is that this isn't true. Business failure rates are high, profits for most business owners are low, starting and running a business takes a lot of work and it's difficult to do well, and we know that because lots and lots of people try to do it and fail.

promethean75 wrote:profiting from someone else means to pay someone an amount that will be less than the amount made from the sale of what was made.

Every time anyone voluntarily exchanges dollars for goods or services, they believe they are getting more value in goods or services than they are giving up dollars. And simultaneously, every time anyone voluntarily exchanges goods or services for dollars, they believe are getting more value from the dollars than they are giving up in goods or services. That's what makes economic transactions happen: both parties believe they will be better off after the transaction.

Silhouette, I don't see anything I really disagree with in what you're saying. But I also don't see you blaming A for paying B what B's labor is actually worth. There's no suggestion that it's unethical that A makes rational choices about running his business, only that it's unfair.

And I agree, it is unfair. The most unfair part about it is that A's labor is actually more valuable than B's. It's not that A is getting paid more because he's rich, it's that because he's rich, he has human capital that actually lets him contribute more to society. It's obvious if we turn his parents into doctors who put him through medical school, right? There, he's got a very clear skill, backed by character traits absorbed from being raised in a financially stable household, likely surrounded by a community of financially stable households, all of which instilled in him habits of mind and character that made it possible for him to focus on studying, invest in education, and come out as someone who can save lives, while B's precarious upbringing left him capable of factory work.

That's truly, deeply unfair. But it's not A's fault any more than it's B's fault, and it's not best solved by pretending that B's labor is worth more than it's worth.

Continuing with the medical school hypothetical, suppose we have A the doctor and B the factory worker, and K the doctor and C the factory worker who are a parallel set of twins. And B hurts his back at work, and needs to go to a doctor. And K has a practice in town, and C also decides, what the hell, to give doctoring a go, despite not having gone to medical school. And so B is looking to employ K or C, who are asking the same price for their services. And obviously even B recognizes that K's services are worth the price and C's services are not.

Economic decisions are often seen as moral decisions, but they aren't, they're rational calculations. Treating it as somehow unethical to recognize and act as though different people's time and effort is worth different amounts of money is going off the same fallacy.

[lots of typos fixed]
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Carleas
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### Re: Question for those in charge of hiring employees

Carleas wrote:I also don't see you blaming A for paying B what B's labor is actually worth. There's no suggestion that it's unethical that A makes rational choices about running his business, only that it's unfair.

That's right, I didn't blame A for acting rationally within the system he is in. I also don't believe employers regard their employment decisions as unethical when they are deemed rational.

What say you to the idea that rational choices can be unethical? - in the cooperative sense of morality.
The competitive reality of the Capitalist system requires that the comparative advantage of paying less and getting x amount of tradable productivity is higher than paying more and getting x+y amount of tradable productivity. Does real constraint necessarily permit ethical behaviour? Or is ethical behaviour tempered to apply relatively within real constraints?

The latter is the attitude of pro-Capitalists, in my estimation. Do you agree? I would say that the former is the question of anti-Capitalists.
It may be the case that all the good that emerges from Capitalism in practice outweighs all the good that can emerge from an alternative economic system that is not ethically constrained by the reality imposed by Capitalism. Enquiring minds want to know! So far the alleged and apparent evidence indicate not only that this is the case, but overwhlemingly so - again, in the cooperative sense of morality, which I think it is safe to assume we are all assuming. The push and pull to negotiate how to pursue or abandon further experiments continues...

The key to the conundrum, I find, lies in voluntary trade - as I mentioned it's an emotionally wholesome notion and one is potentially a fool for arguing against it in the same way that one is a fool to argue against free speech - lest they themselves have their freedom to argue against free speech revoked. But there is less of a contradiction in speaking against action and speaking against speaking - free speech itself is bounded by law to not be free to incite violence: to inspire certain kinds of action. What then of being free to trade, altogether on a different level to being free to enact violence and I find the notion that actions that are not physically harmful are "violence" to be trite.

To then challenge voluntary trade within reason: it is already accepted that trading "rationally" in the purest sense of free trade is ill-advised, lending possibility to practices of defrauding, fooling, scamming others. It is a question of extent: to what degree do we restrict the freedom of trade?

Politically, it seems that a lack of fairness draws a great deal of support - there is attraction to the motivational idea of winning, for good reason psychologically speaking, and there is also attraction to the motivational idea of others losing on a much more tacit level. However, from what I have learned from Zizek's commentary on ideology, there is psychological value that cannot be overlooked in forbidden pleasures that everybody knows occur, but nobody wishes to explicitly admit. I take a great deal of pleasure, for example, in destroying my enemy in a gaming environment - not least in the knowledge that their means to live are not impacted through doing so. Forbidden pleasures, yes, but to what extent? Yes to the motivational power of competition, but no to extent of it affecting the loser's means to live - especially when losses are likely to spiral. The allure of equally spiralling gains ought not to override this, not only ethically, but also due to their diminishing returns. It appears to be accepted that "winning" in terms of means to live positively impacts happiness only to a certain point, after which it becomes more of a burden and perhaps an oppressive obsession not only at the expense of others but also at the expense of oneself.

So, rationally and ethically not constrained by the realities of Capitalism, I am looking primarily to the concept of motivation and only consequently well-being - as a whole, but by taking into account the individual as best I can within the context of a cooperative effort. I am not looking to the value of high ideals in themselves: the attractive notion of nobility in the attribution of individual blame and judgment unto people as they are, as though they were islands whose current positions we merely accept without any question other than "what next?". I believe the latter to be the battle-ground of pro-Capitalists, and I would have the battle-ground expanded.

Silhouette
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