Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Old Boys' Club

BACK IN THE DAYS, business was an old boys' club, run by a bunch of cronies who were in cahoots with each other.

I use the term 'boys' because they were overwhelmingly male, 'old' because they were middle-aged and older, 'cronies' because they were on very friendly terms with each other, and 'in cahoots' because they probably fixed prices.

Nowadays, business is young, vibrant, competitive, and increasingly feminine.

By 'young', I mean that it is difficult for an older person to find a decent paying job; 'vibrant' in that businesses fail at an alarming rate and jobs are insecure; 'competitive' in that businesses compete mainly on price leading to low margins and terrible service; and 'increasingly feminine' in that it turns male workers into eunuchs.

Back in the days, businesses were stable, prices were stable, jobs were stable, parishes were stable, and families were stable. All of these are of course related, for these are all factors in society at large.  A society in harmony will change slowly, and smoothly, and will remain stable as well as it can in times of trouble. A society that changes suddenly and chaotically, or swings quickly between extremes is discordant. Discord leads to destruction.

"You have to pay your dues" was an old phrase, often used in business. A young man had to show loyalty to his employer, work hard, work his way up the ladder, and then, eventually, he would have it made. He would eventually earn good pay, a good pension, and of greatest importance, job security. He paid his dues while young, and when he got older, he would get his reward. At that point, life was good: the young guys would do all the work, while he would just supervise and then take the afternoon off for a game of golf with his cronies. By this time, he would be able to afford a nice home for his wife and kids, and have plenty of money put away for retirement.

This all changed in the U.S. in the 1970s. Young married women, having few or no children, grew bored with the life of a housewife (understandably so) and instead sought careers outside of the home. There they came in direct contact with the old boys' club. A 25 year old young woman would see that she had to work twice as hard as a 45 year old man who earned twice as much as she did, and yet got little credit or (especially) financial recognition for her efforts. Thus came the doctrine of "equal pay for equal work".

According to the new doctrine of work, everyone, young, old, male, female, is to be paid equally if they do the same job. This is felt to be a great victory for social justice. Except that it is a great failure of social justice, and instead marks a greater concentration of power in the hands of the wealthiest individuals and government. For young women did not get their pay increased to the level of their older male colleagues, but rather the older males had their pay lowered to the level of the young women.  The laws of supply and demand work swiftly and without mercy.

The concept of Social Justice comes out of the Catholic Church, and though the phrase now has a Marxist flavor, it is a universal doctrine not associated with political ideology.  A core moral doctrine of social justice is that a worker ought to be paid enough to comfortably support his family, and that all levels of society ought to be able to organize in order to ensure that this occurs.

This does not mean "equal pay for equal work", which as we see, actually leads to the injustice of forcing people into the workforce in order to ensure a comfortable living.  Normally, a man works while the woman takes care of home and children, although there are situations where this is impossible, and the system ought to take care of these problems.  A youth, without responsibility, ought to be paid enough to support himself comfortably, while a worker with children ought to be able to support his whole family comfortably.  This most certainly does not mean that they all must be paid the same.

"You have to pay your dues" implies that a young worker will eventually get into the club; for that is part of the deal:  loyalty goes both ways.  He earned his cushy job in middle-age and has a right to it.  Likewise, the young man must work hard for little pay and show loyalty to his employer; for that is also a part of the deal.  He will get high pay eventually, and that happens just when he needs it the most.  And if a young man has paid his dues, and if he can no longer work, then it is the responsibility of his employer or industry to take care of his family in a comfortable manner.

We now have political fights at the highest level of government over minimum wage laws and unemployment benefits instead of letting all levels of society — public, private, local, regional, industrial — deal with the problem of good pay.

Under the natural law, it is both the right and the duty of all levels of society to pursue social justice including a just wage; excess federal government control may be unjust, due to its remoteness from local society as well as its inherent political instability.  A crucial component of this is the necessity of businesses and employees to self-regulate their industries to ensure stability — which means competing more on quality and service than on price, although monopoly must be avoided: a sizable number of companies must be included with stable ownership and control.  Only an industry that is not tearing itself apart can afford to pay its people well.  If an industry does not self-regulate, the federal government will want to regulate it instead.

A harmonious society is an adult society and is most concerned with supporting families.  The last thirty or so years have been fun, but now it is time to get back to the serious business of life.  Men, you know what you have to do.

I hereby proclaim the reopening of the Old Boys' Club.  Local chapters shall be organized in all towns and neighborhoods across America, where you can meet with your cronies for good cheer.  Membership dues are very expensive, but the benefits are equally impressive.  We take care of our own, and we always generously help out a fellow member in need.

Youths wishing to join the club must realize that full benefits of club membership only come with time, hard work, and loyalty.  We are not an exclusive club, and you have the right of membership and its eventual benefits, but you must also strictly follow our guidelines, and of course, pay your dues to remain a member in good standing.

A note to my lady readers:  have you ever wondered why your man is so whiney, unambitious, and (shall I be blunt) unmanly?  Now you know.  Please consider allowing him to be a man!

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