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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is this recent Facebook post by Bob Higgs:

When you hear someone complaining that someone has stolen or might steal his job, you know you’re hearing nonsense. Your job is not a stealable thing. It is a contractual relationship entered into by you and your employer. This contract can be violated or enforced, but it cannot to stolen or shipped overseas. Get a grip.

DBx: Indeed so.

Anyone who insists on thinking of his job as a property right to which he is entitled, in a manner similar to his entitlement to a piece of land, a car, or a beachball that he acquired lawfully, commits a fundamental error. Such a person – call him Jones – should also believe that when he hires a plumber to fix his household water pipes he, Jones, thereby grants to the plumber a property title to some portion of Jones’s annual income, or at least a title to first-right-of-refusal to be hired to satisfy all of Jones’s future plumbing needs.

Yet Jones – quite rightly – doesn’t think this way. Jones and no one else supposes that by his or her shopping today at Safeway, Safeway thereby gains a property right in serving all of that person’s future grocery-shopping demands. No one supposes that if I hire Joyce today to cut my hair that Joyce thereby acquires the right to prevent me in the future from hiring anyone else to cut my hair: my hiring Joyce today to cut my hair does not bestow on Joyce a property right to any portion of the stream of income that I’ll pay in the future to have my hair cut.

And the same is true when 3M, GM, MGM, or any other business employs workers: none of these workers thereby gains a property right in his or her job.

Each person is free to bargain to try to get such a right contractually, but because no employer will agree to grant such an entitlement free of charge, observation reveals that almost no workers value the possession of such an entitlement highly enough to pay for it. And so just as Jones has no property entitlement to, say, that Mercedes-Benz that Jones chose not to pay for, Jones has no property entitlement to his or her job.