democracy and socialism -Reply

Fri Jun 2 15:25:13 MDT 1995

I guess I wasn't clear, it is the capitalists' claim that their
constitutional rights imply/include a right to profit.  My claim is
that their right to "pursue happiness"=profits should not be allowed
to infringe upon the rights of others to "pursue happiness"=jobs and
lives with decent conditions.

I'm sure we agree.

My previous post could have been read two ways, but my point was to
take their own logic about defending their rights to
happiness=profits and turn it back at them, in defense of
happiness=equality and life.

Of course conflicts of interest will continue.  (Isn't that my line,
since I first came into this list?

Sorry I don't remember the name of the SC case.  I think it was
decided in 1939, about 4 years after the law that legalized unions.
Before that, the laws and courts had held that unions were illegal
because of "restraint of trade" and such, in keeping with
anti-monopoly and other laws regulating economic behavior.  This was
held under the doctrine that employment was a contract between each
employer and each worker, which was entered into "freely" [=take it
or leave it] by both parties who were considered to have equal power.
 Anything else [collective bargaining] was illegal intervention in
"fair trade."

As I understand it, this is the concept that was overthrown by laws
and courts that legalized unions.  Relations between a single worker
and a massive steel company were found to not be equal and fair after

I doubt the court said anything about democracy per se in that case.
But balancing majority rule vs. minority rights [preventing tyrrany
of majority] is what the constitution is all about.

I think we still agree -

Lisa Rogers

("If they don't like the wages, they don't have to take the jobs,
they can just go back to Mexico," said the "objectivist" /
capitalist-in-training from the back of the class a few weeks ago.)

>>> Justin Schwartz <jschwart at>  5/24/95,
02:05pm >>> posted :
Lisa wrote:
  Some people seriously take the
> position that the "pursuit of happiness" includes the "pursuit of
> profits", but that phrase is not even in the Con., it's in the
> Declaration of Independence, which is not a legally binding
>  And even if it were, one's pursuit of happiness is not intended to
> be allowed to infringe upon another's.

The last proposition is absurd--sorry, Lisa. In the first place, why
not infringe on the happiness of the bosses? In the second place,
even in socialism our interests will not be so compatible that we can
avoid conflicts. Pareto optimality or even superiority is a very rare

As a market socialist I don't mind pursuit of profits per se.

> Wasn't it exactly the rhetoric of "equal power" that helped to
> justify the first law in the US to legalize unions?  One steel
> company refused to comply, and put itself up as a test case,
> challenging the law all the way to the Supreme Court.  The SC ruled
> that it is right to allow workers to combine and demand collective
> bargaining, because no individual worker can be considered to have
> equal power with the owner/boss.  Unionization was supposed to even
> the playing field.  (I watched the PBS series called the

Hm. I'll check the cases. Do you remember the case name? It shouldn't
be hard to find. However, I doubt that the Court bought into my
notion of democracy.


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