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03/13/2006

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Corey

"Even the French, who are introducing 2 year trial employment periods to combat 23% youth unemployment, disagree with you."

Oh please, 600 French students stormed the Sorbonne because of that change in the law and were tear gassed. I think it is still very much a live question in France. And 2 year trial employment for youths is STILL much better than "at-will" employment until you die. Germany has been doing very well with a for cause rule, as has Japan.

"There is no suggestion P&O or the ports it is selling is in distress. So your explanation is irrelevant here... The horse whip problem mentioned above is inevitable. Whether it is caused by changes in technology or taste is irrelevant."

Oh great arbiter of irrelevance, who first mentioned distress. Thank you for pointing out the irrelevance of that.

I didn't say changes in technology OR taste. I said workers being underbid. You all are the ones who want the job loss to be inevitable. Good way out of anyone having to feel guilty about them. Union-busting, benefit reductions, systematic layoffs and rehiring, there are many ways to reduce costs of employment. Then we say "business necessity" or "technological paradigm shift" and Wall Street cheers. Yay!

"Furthermore, such rules provide no guarantee of employment in a field, because firms fail."

Yes, but that's the point, they actually have to fail. Can't just swap out management, fire a bunch of people, and keep using the accumulated business goodwill. A "for cause" rule is meant to tilt the scales a little bit on the question "do I fire Ben now so I can record his former compensation as a profit?"

Yes, sooner or later jobs become obsolete or disfavored. At that point, no one can save them. However, we are talking about eliminating jobs BEFORE they are obsolete, because someone else can do it cheaper in Mexico or because the profit margin, while still positive, has dropped below the rate that will sustain executive pay packages.

Imagine me saying to someone, you will die someday so I might as well just shoot you now and reduce overpopulation. How does that argument differ from. "Job loss is inevitable here so lets do it now when it will save the most costs?"

Protectionism of any sort, including locking out direct foreign investors, is inefficient in one sense. But that doesn't mean it is bad overall. If other vested interests (reliance on employment, profit on fixed infrastructure capital) are being preserved, they can outweigh.

We don't let employers beat workers with sticks, even if that would increase production. That's a tradeoff of efficiency for a social norm. It happens all the time. My observation of this blog is that people tend to overvalue market norms and undervalue relationship norms.

Arun Khanna

Guerra-Pujol asked, "Would it not be more principled to favor the free flow of all forms of capital, whether they be goods, services, or peoples?"

Free trade in goods and services does not undermine the rule of law and does not potentially impair legal citizenship rights.

In my view, it would be better to compare illegal immigration with smuggling of goods.

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