BEFORE READING ON: I am a full supporter and proponent of family life. Currently I’m researching and building a study on St. John Paul the II’s personalism, family life, and economic theory. That being said . . . continue.
You will probably have conclusions that would deem me to be sexist, misogynist, against women’s equality, etc. etc. Form your opinion, but I will propose that these following points are from the prospective of economics, history, and observational study. (it’s a little long, so hope you have a few minutes).
This one will probably get me some ill feelings from a lot of people, but there doesn’t seem to be many voices that are challenging the push for more liberal policies in the U.S. on paid maternity/paternity leave.
It was sparked by the now viral video “Dads and moms deserve more time off with their kids.” Which only gives the reasons that other countries do it and are happy, and it’s better for the kids because they end up smarter.
These videos push my buttons because there is WAY more to the conversation than 2 minutes of points with an agenda. (my immediate critique of this is 1. Other countries utilize very different economic systems. 2. Since the advent of women in the job market and leaving the home after WW1 & WW2, school systems have been on negative trajectory.)
Sooo here are a few challenges:
- Employment is a contract – the general steps are:
- You apply for the job.
- You are interviewed for the position.
- Should you fit the bill, you are offered the position.
- You have the decision to accept or decline the position . . . and the terms that are tied to that offering.
Several notable motivating career consultants/speakers/coaches all point out that if you are unhappy with you job, there is a chance that you haven’t negotiated with your employer more favorable terms. A lot of people say “you can’t reason with greedy capitalist owners, it’s all about profit in their pocket.” Well I would propose many times this is not the case, and you won’t receive something if you don’t ask for it.
Example – I’ve negotiated several raises at my current job that would not have been offered. Because I had the evidence to support my requests, my managers have listened and even granted my requests for more favorable employment terms.
The opposite side of the coin – if a job does not offer the employment terms that you do not find favorable . . . you don’t have to work there. That is the beauty of a right to work environment. Many people say “well we don’t have leverage when it comes to jobs, so you have to take what you can get. Especially in today’s economy.” Which leads to the next point.
- The job market is a market . . . just like any other market.
When you go shopping, what are the criteria you consider?
The proximity of the store to your home. The quality of the produce. What items they keep in stock. Their reputation for prices. The friendliness of the staff. . . . etc.
There are multiple factors that influence how you shop. Then you step into the aisle to choose the product you’re looking to buy . . . but what is the main influencer of what items are on the shelf? The items that you are looking to buy . . . because plain and simple, if they aren’t offering what you want . . . you ain’t buyin.
This is simple supply and demand. Businesses offer what will attract consumers to consume. So if there is a demand for it, entrepreneurs will seek to offer and meet the demand with supply. The reason the problem perpetuates is because people (the consumers) continually buy the product that employers are offering because the risk of not having a job seems greater . . . so people are willing to sacrifice certain freedoms in order to mitigate risks in other ways. I.E. it’s better to have an unfavorable job than no job.
We want less risks but more benefit, and as someone who studies risks. . . that’s usually not how it works.
Applying simple supply and demand theory . . . it would be more effective for a majority of the market to refuse their labor services to employers in order to leverage the terms they desire. If the employer can’t hire anyone, his business can’t be productive. This is why in history workers go on strike . . . the employees leverage “you need us, give us what we want or we won’t give you what you need.”
Regardless of what you say, the theory works . . . and yes, it is that simple.
- Disregard for agrarian model and traditional gender roles is the root of the problem. Our labor market is antiquated.
Before reading . . . proceed with objective glasses and participate in the conversation.
One reason the U.S. job market is in it’s current state is we are an evolved agrarian society that really hasn’t evolved.
The two income household is a relatively young concept. Different conversation topic, but young people today bring the single lifestyle expense habits into marriage. Both with student debt, have to have a nice car, the nice house, a nice vacation every year. It’s a high expense for two young people to live together today. This is a lifestyle and personal budgeting issue, but relates to what we are discussing.
Go back 40+ years. Visualize the old television shows that displayed the husband coming home from work, the children arriving from school, and the wife has dinner ready on the table.
Other than a few industries, prior to the world wars the family model was the husband worked, the wife/mother stayed at home. It wasn’t until a significant number of men left the labor market either by being over seas, or returning disabled, or not returning at all. (Peace and solemn respect for all who have sacrificed in this way). This is when women really entered the job market, hence the image “Rosie the Riveter.”
The nature of the labor market back in the day was industrial, which to be very frank, required the strength of men. Even today the push for “women’s equality” in the workplace is mainly targeted in white collar industries. How many equality lawsuits do you hear of a woman suing because she was discriminated against being employed for a waste management company? Or in a mine? Few and far between compared to white collar jobs.
(you can pull out your sexist/misogynist labelers now)
The paradox/idiom that has reared it’s ugly head is the push for women’s equality in the work place. Women want the respect and benefits of masculine preference when it comes to labor . . . yet are now up in arms when they are not given feminine favor in a masculine job market.
For a modern U.S. society that prides itself on autonomy and shouting “YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO.” Those same people are pretty quick to tell others what they should be doing . . . hmmmm
The phenomenal advances in technology have changed our economics miraculously. During industrial times it was common for a man to manually labor for 50-60 hours per week. What has technology done? Essentially made amounting wealth so easy . . . you can do it by being lazy.
I explained to a friend the other day that one time at work I had a revelation moment. Part of my job is after an agency acquisition, I contact the partner companies to update their information to ours. Without going into detail . . . my objective is to change the direction of cash flow from one company to another in a span of 6 months.
Visualize this: My company gains millions of dollars simply from the actions of me making phone calls and sending emails . . . sitting in a cozy tempur pedic office chair.
Go back before 1975 and tell someone that . . . they would probably think you have magic powers.
Our economics is based on the principle of production. This is (economically) an industrial term. You produce something because someone is willing to consume it. Factories produce cars because people are willing to buy them, farms produce food (or produce 😉 ) because people desire to consume it. So this would deduce to show that an employee’s worth to the company is their productivity.
This goes back to the first point of employment being contractual – In exchange for your productivity, your employer compensates you with what you agree to be compensated based on the employment terms. Most commonly wages, but can also include other forms of compensation – paid vacation time, health insurance, pension/retirement, paid family leave, etc. . By accepting that job, you agree to labor by the terms – or your employer will terminate you because you violated the terms. Simple enough. You aren’t working to the productivity standard set forth in your employment agreement . . . you will quickly find yourself no longer employed there. Which brings us to the next point.
- It is inequitable to the business to compensate an employee at a rate higher than their productivity. Ipso facto . . . if you did, you wouldn’t be in business very long.
People are going to say “well big businesses can afford it, so they can sacrifice their big profits to be more family friendly.” While they can, it does not mean that they must.
Look at it this way. You are a business owner going through the interview process outlined in point #1. You really like the person, they are a great candidate, everything fits the bill. You get to the compensation part of the conversation and they tell you that “I want 100% of the salary, but I only want to offer you 75% of the productivity you are looking for. If you can pay me for working all 5 days of the week, but I’ll only be here for 3.5, that would be great. How does that sound?”
You start crunching the numbers. (regardless of what anti-capitalism hounds think, some public opinions think businesses make on average 36% profit margins) Depending upon in the industry margins can range anywhere, on average I would say between 6% and 22% based on a 2012 study. click here for the source of these stats. So from that, at best with this candidate you would break even. Which would reduce the amount you could pay other employees’ obligations, or reinvest in the company to grow a division and create more jobs. Or as most popular liberal opinion . . . pay yourself a nice fat dividend check at the end of the year to buy your 5th home on the beach front.
Your next interview goes equally as well, yet the person is enthusiastic about showing up and giving their all 5 days a week. Complete unbiased and objective decision for the health of the company . . . which one do you hire?
This is equivalent to the modern push for 12 weeks of maternity/paternity leave. You receive a wage and benefits for 52 weeks worth of labor, yet are only present and productive to the company for 40. 23% of the time, you aren’t contributing.
Point being – inequitable productivity is a real factor that most people don’t include in the conversation. You don’t produce, you don’t get paid.
“Well the employer doesn’t have to directly pay for it, It’s covered by a government program or an insurance company!” Which is also paid from taxes or insurance premiums paid by the business . . . soooo either way, they are still subsidizing someone else’s non-productivity.
Don’t agree with these observations? Or want a way to address the problem? We live in an entrepreneurial economy. Instead of demanding someone else to give what you want, capitalize on the demand of people who want a job that offers these benefits. Start your own business and offer these benefits to those in the job market looking to receive them.
. . . it is that simple.
Though I hold in very high regard some antiquated views, I will not simply be the critic who only points at what is wrong. Critics aren’t heroes, they are only critics. Tearing down someone else doesn’t make you higher than them, it just makes them see they are lower than they think they were. (hopefully, but most likely you’ll be a bigot who needs to just shut up and let them have their safe space.)
I am full proponent of the family and subsidiarity principles. My current research project is developing a practicum/curriculum for a modern interpretation of how economics can respect the dignity of the person and family. Look for this project to be public by the end of the year or early 2017.
Simply put, everyone will agree in some way that our modern system is not friendly to the family (also neither is the mindset of the society itself friendly to the family . . . but those are in no way related . . . cough cough).
However I will propose that aggressively demanding certain rights or privileges from someone else will not change the situation. We need to study history and examine the causal factors that have consequently lead us to this point. Oh but wait . . . we don’t believe in accepting consequences either . . . so that approach is pointless also.
Sardonicism aside . . . we need to consider the principles and laws of the many disciplines that affect our life (family, economics, politics, etc.) and develop a system that is harmonious. With the constant noise of a society that screams for androgyny and lack of defining anything, why are we surprised when there is lack of privilege? Oh wait . . . privilege requires something to be distinct . . . which we are also suppose to no longer desire . . . and need to “check.”
This is meant to be a conversation . . . feel free to reach out and let’s discuss.