19A032 Strikes in the ZGS by Jim Davies, 8/6/2019    


Strikes by employees have been a regular feature of the industrial age, made possible by privileges granted Unions by the politicians they pay for. They have disrupted progress - one of many ways in which government does so. What may we expect in the coming zero government society?

Certainly unions will not be outlawed! - for there won't be any laws at all. However strikes will be rare, because the ZGS will come into being only after everyone has gone through a process of re-education (eg TOLFA) in which they learn and accept that other people, including employers, owe them nothing other than what has been agreed in a freely-drawn contract. Therefore, if the boss is treating and paying them in the manner agreed, there is no source of discontent. If he is infringing it, further, there will be an efficient justice industry available, so workers will have a simple and peaceful remedy at hand.

With that preamble in mind, consider the scorn thrown at me recently by a knee-jerk archist in a forum I infest. I'd just suggested the great 19th Century captains of industry had brought immense benefit to Americans and he replied:

You mean the Union Pacific/Credit Mobilier practice of taking millions and free land from the gov't to build their railroad, self-dealing, and bribing politicians while driving the company into bankruptcy and cheating investors wasn't an "excess" -- simply building "highly successful businesses"? You mean Carnegie hiring thugs to attack and murder striking steelworkers and bribing the PA gov't to break the strike was not an "excess"? You mean Pullman slashing workers' wages while still charging high prices for their homes and consumables, and bribing the US gov't to bring in troops to break the strike and imprison union leaders was not an "excess"?

Notice how all three of his examples of company malfeasance involve the government. UP accepted subsidies in land and funding, Carnegie Steel called in thugs and armed government agents to break a strike, and Pullman likewise had government soldiers break one.

But had no government been around, none of that could have taken place. The highly important railroads would have to have been built the way James Hill built the Great Northern; with honestly obtained capital and close, efficient management. Strikes such as those at Carnegie and Pullman would have been settled in court without violence, on the basis of whatever the respective work contracts specified; and that is how it will be done in the ZGS.

If employees wish to form a union to negotiate a change, no law will force an employer to recognize it; contracts will be individual unless otherwise agreed without coercion. But if a union is involved, it will be open to be sued if it fails to deliver whatever it agrees on its members' behalf; there will be no immunity.

Suppose, even so, that some malcontent(s) walk out on strike and refuse to accept a court verdict? - then they will be in breach of contract, and the firm will no doubt fire him or them. Conceivably, that could mean firing the whole work force. For all the reasons above that will be very rare, but in the ZGS a contract breaker will be anathema and no self-respecting company will be bludgeoned into tolerating his continued presence. It would be costly, but in the long run, less so than caving in.

I've tried to imagine a circumstance where violence might erupt, as in the cases of government intervention cited by my adversary; and it's really hard to do because the framework above provides so well for peaceful resolution. But suppose it does; perhaps in some extreme case a firm has to fire a large number of workers who then form a picket line and intimidate replacements as they arrive to take up their new jobs. Fisticuffs break out in the car park. What then?

It may take a while, but with plenty of cameras around it would not be hard to put together ample evidence of who is trespassing and aggressing, demand recompense and, failing to get it, sue them in a free-market court and win - with damages being awarded both to the company whose production was interrupted and to the new hires who were intimidated. The perps will thereafter be marked men, as with any other types of kriminal; those who obey the court order and pay up will have much of their reputations restored, while others will not, and so will have the utmost difficulty in earning a living for the rest of their lives.

Those will be strong incentives to honor contracts and adhere to the zero aggression principle.

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