I try not to be all politics all the time, but it inevitably sneaks in there from time to time because it is a great interest of mine. And it happens to have a lot to do with this cartoon. Bear with me here:
Why is someone hired? Why is anyone hired? It is because someone needs labor that he cannot perform or is not willing to perform himself. He pays a price that he considers less valuable than the time or effort it would take to perform the labor. Conversely, the one performing the labor considers the payment worth more than the labor he performs. If he does not agree with the terms, he can negotiate or search for employment elsewhere.
This is the human aspect of capitalism. So long as there exists a government to protect from force and fraud, it is the system that is the most fair of any other economic system that has ever existed or been theorized. The reason I say most fair is that there is no perfectly fair system. That is because fairness is always subjective. Who gets what? How much? What’s the criteria? No matter what, someone would get the shaft.
Capitalism is the most fair because of the invisible hand of the market. The market determines the value of a good or service. This is more efficient than any attempt to discern the value of a good or service from afar. To do that, one would have to be truly omniscient.
The government is the only legitimized use of force. Every action taken by government has the barrel of a gun backing it up. However, the government is not omniscient. When it comes to the market, they are just as clueless as the rest of us. When individuals enlist the force of government to influence the market, they are upsetting the delicate balance of the market by influencing the value of goods or services artificially. This inevitably leads to unintended consequences.
In particular, the use of market force in terms of the relationship between employers and workers is the issue at hand in this cartoon. When government is used to compel employers to act against the interest of the business at large (example: pay workers higher wages), the market as a whole begins to suffer (example: not as many workers can be hired).
This cartoon was specifically about the “soak the rich” attitude, or the idea that the employer doesn’t deserve his wealth as much as the laborer, during the time of the big labor unions such as the Knights of Labor. While labor unions aren’t a function of government per se, they can often have the same effect, even when they don’t actually enlist the force of government (as they often do). While basic protections make sense, such as protection against force and fraud, the market knows what is best for the market, not the government. To help the most people in the best possible way, Capitalism is the only way.
That’s my spiel. Now to the cartoon. I thought it will be simple to draw, but drawing the bars on the jail cell took much longer than I expected. Drawing a straight line is not easy. I’ve learned my lesson and have begun using an index card when I draw straight edges in my cartoons. The logo on the sign is that of the Knights of Labor, if you are wondering. Also, what is it with me and my “bad guys” having mustaches?
Tomorrow’s cartoon is less politically charged as the last two, because it covers a historical event that really has nothing to do with anything going on right now. Be thankful.