Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Price - and Cause - of Skilled Labor

I think this story on the rapid increase in labor rates for skilled workers around the world illustrates at least two important points.

First, for anyone who still has honest doubts about the power of capitalism and egoism vs statism and altruism (i.e. of trade vs aid) to improve the lives of all involved, this shows not only that only capitalism enables production and wealth, but also how quickly it occurs, e.g.:
IT directors in Poland can cost companies more than $100,000 a year. That approaches Silicon Valley levels.
Similarly, given the freedom which is the essence of capitalism, employees can and do quickly move around to seek new and better paying employment -- a fact which belies the "exploitation theory" of economics which so many leftists promulgate incessantly as an argument for the institution of statist policies.

Secondly, I think the story underlines the under-appreciated fact that a commitment to engage one's mind is the essence of a productive person (a.k.a. a good worker) and that this type of commitment is rare because it requires choice, effort and a sustained reality-focus. Thus just having a large body of educated workers to draw from doesn't necessarily translate to an unlimited pool of cheap and skilled labor as so many (materialist) economists would have us believe. (This is not meant as a disparagement of education, education of some type is of course necessary for most skilled jobs, but moral character is both a prerequisite for benefiting from education -- and more importantly it is the fundamental quality which determines a man's value, including his value qua worker.)

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