FREE TO CHOOSE “Who protects the worker?” Video and Transcript Part 3 of 7 Milton Friedman notes, “” In the free labor market everybody benefits. When the market is restricted, things are very different”

FREE TO CHOOSE “Who protects the worker?” Video and Transcript Part 3 of 7

In 1980 I read the book FREE TO CHOOSE by Milton Friedman and it really enlightened me a tremendous amount.  I suggest checking out these episodes and transcripts of Milton Friedman’s film series FREE TO CHOOSE: “The Failure of Socialism” and “What is wrong with our schools?”  and “Created Equal”  and  From Cradle to Grave, and – Power of the Market. Milton Friedman shows in this episode how the worker is best protected and it is not by the government!!!!!!!

In this episode Milton Friedman makes the following comment about immigration:
” In the free labor market everybody benefits. When the market is restricted, things are very different. These Mexicans are heading for the United States side of the boarder. There are real problems about permitting unrestricted immigration into a welfare state. It’s one thing when people come for jobs and are on their own which is the case through most of American history. It’s another thing when a welfare system will support them come what may at the expense of other people.”

Pt 3

Government protects its workers just as trade unions protect their members. But both do it at someone else’s expense. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Dick Pashley is an electronics engineer. He designs memory systems for computers. He works for Intel Corporation, one of many companies which have sprung up south of San Francisco at a place that they call Silicon Valley.

Dick Pashley: All these companies have one thing in common. They are trying to get engineers to work on their projects. Now myself, I’m one of these engineers and so obviously I get letters in the mail, phone calls, the like, where people are trying to get me to leave Intel and go to this particular company. One of the companies right across the street here, Intercel, is one of the new companies that’s forming in this area. And they are hunting for people just like myself to come in and what they do is they’ll offer you like typically a like a 30% higher salary, stock options, a bonus and several other things to get you to move to their company. Since it’s not really a move, it’s very easy to do because you’re only going across the street. It’s not a big traumatic thing where you are leaving let’s say one city and moving to another. It’s very straightforward.

Friedman: In the free labor market everybody benefits. When the market is restricted, things are very different. These Mexicans are heading for the United States side of the boarder. There are real problems about permitting unrestricted immigration into a welfare state. It’s one thing when people come for jobs and are on their own which is the case through most of American history. It’s another thing when a welfare system will support them come what may at the expense of other people. Yet look what happens when you try to interfere with market forces.

Worker: Well there’s fairly large groups of aliens on the hillsides waiting for dark to set in. Other groups that are still on the Mexican side of their boarder. They’ll be coming in shortly I imagine. We have electronic sensors buried in along the hillsides around the most traveled trails to alert us from these alien crossings. And from the sensor we work ahead of them, try to head them off.

Friedman: This is not a case of good guys against bad guys. The officers are simply trying to do their duty. The poor Mexicans are driven by hunger and attracted by the prospect of jobs.

Worker: You do good work.

Friedman: The law enforcing people have an impossible job.

Officer: They’re gonna run, they’re gonna get picked up sent back but sooner or later their going to make it one minute after the next.

Friedman: In one month in 1978 60,000 illegal immigrants were arrested on this stretch of the boarder. But believe it or not, the boarder patrol estimated at nearly 200,000 found their way through to places like this in northern California where there was work waiting for them.

Illegal Mexican immigrants are not cheap labor around here. Many earn more than the minimum wage law demands. They can do so because farmers need many extra hands during the harvest season and there is a shortage of domestic labor available. Jill Hammond and her partner run a farm that produces plump California raisins.

Jill Hammond: There’s pending legislation which would make it illegal for farmers to hire undocumented workers. And supposedly it would impose a $1,000 fine per worker on the farm, I can’t imagine that it would actually go through. If it did there’d be a full scale farmers revolt around here.

Victor Bedvian: Matter of fact, last year there was quite a bit of activity in the Kermin area which is about 15 miles west of Fresno. Many of the farmers banded together and as much as we warned the boarder patrol to stay off their property. They were going to back that up with guns I’m afraid. They were very upset about it and because their situation was desperate. They needed the workers and they needed the work to be done now. And the boarder patrol was interfering with that as they saw it.

Friedman: Violence by employers to assure the availability of workers is no more justifiable than violence by trade unions to assure their members jobs. But violence is one of the things you are very likely to get when you try to prevent a deal between people who have jobs to offer and people who are looking for jobs. 15 years ago the economy of Spartanburg, SC was stagnant. It depended on peaches and cotton. Wages were lower than the national average and unemployment was higher than the average. Then, dramatically, the picture changed. The people in Spartanburg decided to make their town a center of free trade. They did this by using a new right to work law, eliminating many restrictions on labor. The city council cut taxes to the bone. They advertised the fact that Spartanburg was a place worth investing in.

By any standards, let alone Spartanburg’s, the result was revolutionary. Industrialists came from Germany, Switzerland and all over the world to build factories to set up plants. The workers of Spartanburg clearly benefited from the new industries. The first to notice were the people who owned and ran the traditional industries.

M.L. Cates: In terms of the business, it has been a problem for us. It means we’ve got to be on our toes, we’ve got to be sure we’re providing a good work place that we are providing good jobs and what have you, and that we are running as competitively as possible. I think that on the worker’s point of view, this is certain to provide them with more opportunities to, for a market for their product, their labor, their expertise.

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