Free the Competent!

A business by its very nature is the creation of its original owner.  Without the efforts of the creator, there is no “job” to argue about.  When it grows to the point that employees are needed, the owner contracts with others for the labor they provide.  The owner and the employee simply enter into a mutually beneficial and voluntary arrangement.  That business is the property of its owner just as the employee’s skills and abilities are his/hers.  The nature of the arrangement is completely up to them.

If the reader fails to recognize that relationship, it is because the laws governing business have grown into a monstrosity.  Businesses are told to pay a certain wage, hire taking race into account, fire only through approved procedures, and jump through a thousand hoops before developing land.  Laws governing unions make things even worse, rendering it near-impossible to fire the incompetent and pay true market wages.

Now, businesses find themselves pressed to control CO2 emissions that are of dubious harm to anyone and forced to provide health care to employees.  They are required to give leave for maternity and certain medical conditions.  They are told more and more every day how to run a business that would not even exist without them.

But it’s the right thing to do!  Nonsense.  It is the right thing to do if and only if the owner chooses to do it.  I can think of a dozen reasons to take care of employees, but not one justifying force to get it done.  But what about those poor people without a job?  Yes, what about them?  They have no claim to the creation of another.  What about workers’ rights?  Yes, what about owners’ rights?

We live in a world where the businessperson has become a trough for pigs.  People who could not manage a two-car parade dictate to the real benefactors of mankind rules they could not possibly endorse were they to actually run a business.  Shielded from nature’s requirement that they be genuinely productive, they instead anoint themselves guardians of the working person’s “rights.”

The solution is a system wherein both businesses and the people they employ compete honestly.  Just as a hands-off approach to business allows the free market to winnow out inefficiency and incompetence, so it is with employees.  Those who bring true value to the organization would find themselves richly rewarded.  Those who do not and who refuse to grow would find themselves perennially unemployed.

Far from being harsh, a truly free labor market would restore justice to our economic system.  No longer able to hide behind union rules and copious regulations, the fakers would have to move aside in favor of the honest man/woman who seizes the day.  Income would reflect genuine worth rather than political pull.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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