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Ethics of Capitalism

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posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 09:02 PM
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Ok, here goes, basic question:
At what point should an employer be somewhat responsible for providing a wage to its workers?



My reasoning is that as a business owner/manager, you realize you can not do it alone and need to hire help. In exchange for this help the employer offers a wage assumedly, commensurate of the work. Right? Simple dimple. Everyone agrees and (in my state) it is all at will, meaning you can be fired or quit at any point in time. Contractual work not withstanding.

Now typically, the employer not only gains a hand but also supposedly increases production. Which, when done properly, should increase their profits. We still in agreement here? Now there is incentive, provided you have the market to keep pushing out your product or service. Add more employees, increase production, increase profits!

This is where it goes back to the original question. While there is plenty of incentive for an employer to continue to grow and expand, provided the market allows, there is not any incentive for them to take care of their employees. Granted, some are good natured and will adjust their pay scale appropriately, but this is usually not the case.

Can/should something be put in place to provide an incentive for good ethics practice within a private business? Should those with bad ethics be forced or face a penalty?


In between 1978 and 2014, inflation-adjusted CEO pay increased by almost 1,000%, according to a report released on Sunday by the Economic Policy Institute. Meanwhile, typical workers in the U.S. saw a pay raise of just 11% during that same period.

fortune.com...

While I don't agree to stifling free markets there, IMO, needs to be something to keep workers in step with the economy. Thoughts?




posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 09:38 PM
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a reply to: JinMI

Ethics and capitalism are like two words that just don't go well together. Like military intelligence. Or jumbo shrimp.



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 09:44 PM
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I agree with you and have thought about this often.

In my experience, the smaller the company, the more ethically it behaves. Additionally, staying privately owned also increases the likelihood that the people running the company will act more in the interest of their employees. As soon as stockholders get involved, it's all about "what can you do for me today". The guy who ran a small place I used to work at always used to say "the value of this company walks out the door every night". Now, I work at a large, multi-national, publically traded corporation and it's a completely different world.

I want to see the stock market go back to the way it was originally where it was more like buying a bond in a company... get rid of all this garbage where you can bet *against* an organization succeeding and thereby make money.

More of a rant than an actual solution I guess... oh well.


edit on 4/25/2017 by xenthuin because: grammar

edit on 4/25/2017 by xenthuin because: clarification



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 09:45 PM
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The value of the labor is what the market sets it at.

Worker and employer work it out between them. The employer generally offers what he or she is willing to pay for it, and any workers willing to work for that wage will apply. If the employer sets the wage too low, then no one applies and the employer needs to go back to the drawing board and either raise the amount being offered or otherwise add perks that might attract someone who might find those terms acceptable.

The worker can likewise offer their own terms, but as soon as someone else comes along who will do the same thing for less, they are likely to lose out on the deal.

Unions held a lot of power because they could legally control a monopoly on all the laborers in a market and artificially increase the cost of labor for certain jobs, but once employers found it advantageous to move production overseas, the unions lost their labor monopolies and workers lost out in the market as they were undercut by foreign markets.

Likewise, the legally imposed minimum wage increases are achieving something of the same as workers are demanding more than employers are willing to pay. The next round of hikes will see automated kiosks becoming more cost effective than human labor, so employers will buy robots to do the work and minimum wage workers will lose out as they inflate themselves legally out of the labor market.

So, yes, the employer is obligated to pay a fair wage for the labor, but obviously, a fair wage for is actually done is not determined by what it takes to provide for a family of four. Instead, it is determined by how many other people in the world can do what you do or how cost effective it is to pay for technology to replace you.



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 09:47 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

The CEOs love slave labor. They don't care what they pay as long as profitability is maximized above everything else. Corporate prison labor comes to mind.


edit on 25-4-2017 by dfnj2015 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 09:55 PM
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originally posted by: dfnj2015
a reply to: ketsuko

The CEOs love slave labor. They don't care what they pay as long as profitability is maximized above everything else. Corporate prison labor comes to mind.



Then don't work for them. It's simple. There are other jobs out there.



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 09:56 PM
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a reply to: JinMI

Labor is pretty much outside the free market and it shouldn't be, that's how tax payers end up subsidizing businesses with food stamps etc...



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 10:00 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

I surely get exactly what you are saying. Also, your post highlights the edge employers have over their employees not only in the individual workplace but in the market as a whole.

The discussion I'm attempting to have is where the employers max profit range versus the employees wage is acceptable. 1000% versus the 11% gap that exists in inflation over the years. I'm certain there is a medium to be reached without disrupting how the markets work. There is a greed factor at work here that is at the cost of these companies labor.



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 10:01 PM
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replace the word capitalism with the words -free market-..

In a FREE market and FREE society our culture dictates the values that we employ in business as it should.

Not at the hands of government but by free will through evolution.



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 10:02 PM
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originally posted by: Kali74
a reply to: JinMI

Labor is pretty much outside the free market and it shouldn't be, that's how tax payers end up subsidizing businesses with food stamps etc...


I don't think I get exactly what your saying regarding workers outside of the free market. I do understand how taxpayers subsidies corporations!
I'm dense but it's mushy.



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 10:06 PM
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Henry Ford originally wanted to produce cars at a price his workers could afford. His shareholders sued him, and the Supreme Court sided with them, which made publicly traded companies beholden to the shareholders above all else to this day. When your employees can't afford your product, they don't buy it. As companies race to make higher and higher profits for shareholders, they decrease demand for their own products this way. That's how we got to this point. As companies across the board cut the profits away from the working class, the working class in turn has less and less spending power to buy their products. Our system is not purely capitalist. US government policies have been siding with capital over labor since 1776. As a nation we should all look a bit more closely at how our policies affect businesses and their workers. There's a lot if different ways to run a company, but it doesn't matter how moral your company is if it has to compete with a bunch of amoral companies. The cheaters always win.



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 10:10 PM
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a reply to: anotheramethyst

Allow it to collapse on itself and stop bailing it out.

That's how the free market is suppose to work.

When it can no longer sustain itself it collapses and a better system replaces it.

Free market.

What would happen is it would enable another opportunist with a better idea for a better system to buy all the assets cheaply and they would be enabled to build their system.
edit on 25-4-2017 by toysforadults because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 10:48 PM
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a reply to: JinMI

Bailouts and federal aid prop up businesses that have no business operating in the market. This allows them to profit while paying their employees peanuts. Stop the federal intervention, and the unethical behavior will become unprofitable.

The only thing government knows how to do is to stand in the way of progress.



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 11:29 PM
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Wages essentially reflect what people are willing to work for and what businesses are willing to pay for the labor. There is nothing ethical or moral about it. Businesses only create jobs when that job can produce more value than it cost.

Some companies place a premium on their employees because they believe it may result in lower costs and higher profits in the long run and some companies treat employees like commodities. There is no right or wrong answer.



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 11:34 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated

I think you are correct in your statement.

What my argument/discussion is, is that IMO there will always be a bottom end of the market from whence to pick labor. Everyone has to eat and shelter themselves.



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 11:42 PM
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a reply to: xenthuin

As over paid as a lot of government workers are, how exactly do small buisness do best for their employees??

You only get two options...

Deregulate everything and trust big buisness to "do the right thing" , and they are ONLY motivated by profit margarine and society as a whole doesn't get any say so on how they run their buisness...because remember they are deregulated..

And quite conveniently the most profitable thing seems to usually be the worst for their rank and file employees..

Or two trust the government to regulate all of that because ATLEAST they are beholden to us through the election process..



posted on Apr, 25 2017 @ 11:55 PM
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a reply to: JinMI

Let us remember the following:

Capitalism is an economic system. It has nothing to do with (is indifferent to) morality or ethics. It is far from perfect, but it is one of the most reliable economic systems that can ensure productivity, prosperity and determination for the workforce of the society, which still allows for the use of other political methods to ensure morality and ethics within THAT society are still held to high standards as well.

* * * * *

To answer your two key questions:


Question 1:

At what point should an employer be somewhat responsible for providing a wage to its workers?

An employer is responsible for providing a wage to its employees if: (1) the Law requires them to, (2) the contract signed by the employee at the time is still being adhered to (latest signed contract before change was implemented), and (3) the employee has signed a new contract since any significant changes have been made in relation to company policy in a way that was reasonable for the employer and employee to both be aware of the need for (the latest signed contract after new change in company policy.)

Employers are only permitted to go beyond that duty at their discretion in addition to their obligations to uphold 1 AND either 2 or 3.

Question 2:

Can/should something be put in place to provide an incentive for good ethics practice within a private business? Should those with bad ethics be forced or face a penalty?

Only if the incentive relates to the function of the job and still abides by the Law and either the latest contract signed before the policy change OR the new signed contract reflecting the policy change has been changed.

Unless what the employer is perceiving as bad ethics from the employee's behaviour is against 1 AND either 2 or 3, they have no grounds to act, EVEN IF the employee agreed beforehand by word to uphold the "good ethics" mentioned to them in the past, but has not yet signed the new contract reflecting that obligation to implement that behaviour.

If you feel the employer has the right to act above the Law AND either the contract signed at the time or the new contract indicating this change, then he can fire or discipline the employee, but he is not immune from legal action as a result, and will probably lose the case.

I have had to check over this reply multiple times to ensure the logic is consistent, I believe now it is.


edit on 26/4/2017 by Dark Ghost because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 26 2017 @ 12:08 AM
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originally posted by: JoshuaCox


a reply to: xenthuin

As over paid as a lot of government workers are, how exactly do small buisness do best for their employees??

You only get two options...

Deregulate everything and trust big buisness to "do the right thing" , and they are ONLY motivated by profit margarine and society as a whole doesn't get any say so on how they run their buisness...because remember they are deregulated..

And quite conveniently the most profitable thing seems to usually be the worst for their rank and file employees..

Or two trust the government to regulate all of that because ATLEAST they are beholden to us through the election process..






Why do you assume employees are powerless? If a company doesn't pay competitively or treats their employees badly, then people will work other places. Employees also seek to maximize their "profit" which is wages.



posted on Apr, 26 2017 @ 12:32 AM
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originally posted by: JinMI
... to provide an incentive for good ethics practice...

Ethics cannot be 'chosen' nor can they be legislated.
'Ethics';
"Do NOT do to others what you would not have done to you!"
is rooted in unconditional (transcendental) Love/Enlightenment.

It has to come from 'within' and is something that we 'become', a state of being.

The 'ethics of capitalism' seems to be an oxymoron. *__-



posted on Apr, 26 2017 @ 12:47 AM
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originally posted by: namelesss
Ethics cannot be 'chosen' nor can they be legislated.

Agreed.


'Ethics';
"Do NOT do to others what you would not have done to you!"
is rooted in unconditional (transcendental) Love/Enlightenment.

According to Eastern philosophical schools of thought. Which are irrelevant if we are discussing Western democratic states, and I believe the author is referring to Western democratic states, probably the US in his/her opening post.


It has to come from 'within' and is something that we 'become', a state of being.

See my answer above.


The 'ethics of capitalism' seems to be an oxymoron. *__-

Only if you can prove they are 100% independent concepts that cannot work in union. If you were to make changes towards economic policies that reflect concern for the rights of the workers as opposed to how much money they can generate for the company in which they work (which is possible, but doesn't happen often), it would be possible.

However, what I just described is probably better handled by Work Unions that represent the interests of the employees, if those employees choose to identify with that particular Work Union. The Laws surrounding Work Unions differ from country to country, but most Work Unions are still protected by Law, as long as they too follow the Law they are relying on to protect them and their members — which happens to be the case in most Western democracies.




edit on 26/4/2017 by Dark Ghost because: (no reason given)



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