The indefatigable economist Don Bourdreaux takes on a notion that comes up here in Tidewater Forum quite often: “Do workers in market economies need labor unions to ensure that they are paid fairly – that is, to ensure that they’re paid wages that reflect the market value of what they produce?”
The notion takes many forms in our venue. For example:
- So-called “essential” workers don’t earn what they are worth (based on being “essential”).
- Unions created the American middle class by enabling blue-collar workers to be paid enough to pursue the American Dream.
- Minimum-wage laws are necessary because you can’t raise a family (and afford health care) on market wages.
And the like. All are variations on the Marxian trope that labor — being a necessary input to production — tends to be exploited by business owners who seek to maximize profits.