Center for a Stateless Society
A Left Market Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center
STIGMERGY: The C4SS Blog
Deal or No Deal (Let’s Just Blame the New Deal)

If the local bakery won’t come down from $2.99 for a loaf of bread and I’m only willing to pay $1.99, no biggie — the deal doesn’t happen.

If a writer won’t let his new novel go for an advance of less than $20k and the publisher won’t come up from $10k, same thing — that novel doesn’t get published (at least not by that publisher).

But when a bunch of bakers won’t take less than $X per hour for their labor, and the bakery owner won’t pay more than $Y, all of a sudden it’s “the labor unions have strangled Hostess” and “[w]orkers … have allowed union leaders to persuade them to destroy their jobs.”

Damn union workers! Who the hell do they think they are, having their agents bargain for a good deal and walking away if they don’t get it. Don’t they know that they should just gratefully accept whatever they are offered and consider themselves lucky?

Anti-union propagandists love to bellyache that “unions have been given special immunity by corrupt left wing politicians,” and they’re right (see Wagner Act, the). But they forget the “special immunity” given to employers by corrupt right-wing politicians (see Taft-Hartley Act, the). State intervention in labor markets cuts both ways, and damages those markets both ways too.

Absent such state intervention, unions are just market actors — no different in principle than any other such actors. You can be pro-market or you can be anti-union, but you can’t be both.