Re: Libertarian Labor Unions?

Damien R. Sullivan (
Sun, 8 Mar 1998 10:10:48 -0800 (PST)

On Mar 8, 8:58am, GBurch1 wrote:

> On the other hand, I have a hard time seeing how collective labor bargaining
> arrangements could survive in a competitive environment absent some state-
> sanctioned legal monopoly power or the use of violence to block breaches by
> labor-purchasers or defections of labor sellers, both antithetical to
> libertarian and extropian principles.

"I promise to abide by the collective contracts signed in my name by the
union. I hereby [put up $X as bond upon my cooperation]/[grant the union
rights to [sue for breach of contract]/[break my kneecaps] in the event that I
defect or break picket lines, or refuse to work after the union has acquired a
contract in my name.] ... "

Unions in a more or less strict libertarian regime should be able to keep
members if the latter have contracted away their freedom to leave (presumably
with various sanity-checking provisions, unless those are left to the courts
as need arises.) Then their task is reduced to inducing people in the
industry to sign on in the first place, or having exclusive hiring contracts
with employers preventing non-members from being hired. (Vague memories of
Twain's description of a river-pilots' guild come to mind.)

Then again, the same logic should apply to legal cartels, which have had short
lifetimes in the past. And there are fewer members of a cartel than a union.
Then again, ability to monitor is a key factor. Information gathering and
exchange has improved, so collectives should be easier, unless
crypto-anarchist visions come true, in which case monitoring would be very

-xx- ROU Bibliovore X-)

"Have you heard of Sublimers before?"
"Oh, yes. You believe everybody should just sort of disappear up their
own arses, don't you?"
"Oh, no! What we believe in takes one completely _away_ from such bodily
concerns..." -- _Excession_