Stone Pigs

undeniable underlying truths

It’s Not Your Job to Lose

Posted By Alan Partis on January 2, 2009

Recently I was asked to take some time and read The Last Column by Mr. Clark DeLeon, formerly a columnist with the Philadelphia Enquirer.

He seems to me to be a little bitter and while I do understand what it is he is complaining about, I don’t agree with his reaction nor his underlying reasoning.  If he really is upset, it can only be at himself as I doubt that his employer forcibly continued the employment relationship against his will.  He can only be upset that he didn’t make the choice to sever the relationship at least one day sooner.  Every day, he got up and weighed his options given his personal choices in life, and the option he chose for himself was to continue providing the service for which his employer asked and for which he would receive a payment.

Perhaps he is also upset because he feels like he is in a minority and he wishes other people would make the same choices he does.  Maybe he even wishes he could impose his choices on others so as to cause harm to his former employer and either teach them a lesson (and adopt his personal value system) or put them out of business altogether.  Of course, that would serve only to infringe upon the liberties of others in his society.

Whatever the case, he made a choice for himself and I wish him the best of luck.  It’s a great attribute of our capitalist market society (though it is very much not a ‘free’ market unfortunately – in my opinion) that he has the freedom to choose his own future path; to find other bidders for his specialized services.  He obviously has continued to write so I can only assume that he continues to make choices that are making him happy.

One thing that troubles me is the apparent underlying assumption that he seems to be making.  That is that a ‘job’ is something to which we have some sort of right.  As someone who has employed people in the past, and hopes to employ people in the future, I have found there is often a great deal of confusion about ‘ownership’ of a job.  I hear people say things such as, “they’re taking my job away” or, “my job is all I have,” etc.  The truth is that a job is ‘owned’ by the employer, and no one, especially in a market-based society, has a right to any job.  The great thing is, if a suitable job cannot be found through which an individual can provide service or labor, the individual is more than welcome to create their own job and supply something of value that the market demands. The key is to provide something that the market actually demands.

One thing about which Mr. DeLeon is absolutely correct is the extent to which very large corporations have undue influence in their markets.  The ironic thing is that the source of the ‘unfairness’ is the large degree of government intervention we have in our marketplaces … and that government intervention is often at the behest of big money contributors who make deals with corrupted politicians.

The solution is simple: remove government regulations in the market.  Then there would be nothing for ‘big money’ to purchase.

The path to that solution is impossible: replace politicians with people who are of great moral and ethical fiber — people who are just as real as the Tooth Fairy.  Still, by making government smaller and reducing it’s un-Constitutional market interventions, the marketplaces will improve.  This is why Libertarians and Conservatives favor smaller government and why they are against growing government.  By giving government and politicians more control over anything in the market the situation is only made worse.  Politicians need less influence, not more.  This would also indirectly reduce the corrupting influence of big-money large corporations.

I have found that Dr. Walter Williams, distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University is particularly good at distilling this sort of thing.  If it is something you think might interest you, he has a very short series of articles titled “Economics for the Citizen” which are a very good place to start.


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