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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Strike Or Lockout?

Stephen Colber had the Jets' coach on for an interview. He referred to the labor dispute as a "strike" and not a lockout.

I noticed that the mainstream media frequently makes a similar gaffe, calling it a strike and not a lockout.

It's an important distinction. Who is the aggressor? In a strike, the players are the aggressors, demanding concessions from owners. In a lockout, the owners are the aggressors, demanding concessions from workers.

In the NFL, the owners are demanding concessions from players. The players would be happy to sign a contract that had the same terms as the last one.

However, labor law and antitrust law makes it too risky for the owners to play the season without a contract. If the players were unionized, they could play most of the season and then strike at the end, as the baseball players did once. With antitrust law, the draft and free agent restrictions might be illegal. The State legal system is so inefficient that a full ruling will take years. A simple question of "What labor practices are illegal?" takes years for the inefficient legal system to answer.

If the State legal system could make a ruling in a week or two, this whole lockout issue would have been resolved by now. Instead, it's stuck in legal limbo. A simple question of "Is this legal or not?", and State judges can't give a straight answer.

State labor law encourages brinksmanship negotiation. There is no incentive to make concessions until the last minute. If the players raise their offer 10% and the owners only move 2%, that will be held against the players in later stages of negotiations. The owners may have made huge concession demands initially, so they can compromise and make a better offer.

If negotiation is "Take the midpoint of both offers!", then the incentive is to make an aggressive initial offer and not budge until the last minute.

The NFL/player negotiations are not a true free market negotiation. It's entirely determined by the State, via labor law and antitrust law. The player's aren't free to start their own competing league, because the State protects and subsidizes incumbent businesses.

I was disappointed to see the mainstream media spin the NFL labor dispute as a strike and not a lockout. The owners are the ones demanding concessions. Due to the nature of the State, there will be no meaningful progress until the last minute. State law explicitly encourages brinksmanship negotiation, due to a non-free market.


Anonymous said...

>A simple question of "Is this legal
>or not?", and State judges can't
>give a straight answer.

This is a very true statement.

A friend of mine spent tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees, yet the first judge in his case failed to say what the law was. The result of that is the poor man had to pay to two appeals. In the end both sides failed to gain anything. Only the lawyers won a vast amount in fees.

Simon Singh spent a couple of years of his life and hundreds of thousands of pounds on court cases. I can't remember the details but it took years to work out whether something he wrote down was either a comment or the truth with respect to a libel claim.


Anonymous said...

OT: here is some documentation for you:,0,1269191.story

Book review: 'The Psychopath Test' by Jon Ronson

FSK said...

I saw him on the Daily Show. I wonder if insiders are now more seriously aware of the psychopath problem.

He had a huge error. He said "a couple percent of CEOs and politicians are psychopaths", compared to 1% in the general population. I'd put the number at close to 50%, plus lots with severe parasitic tendencies.

There's another severe error in his book. "Psychopath serial killer" and "psychopath (Madoff or Chuck Schumer)" are two different personality types.

A really successful psychopath can easily psychologically manipulate people. He doesn't need to resort to violent crime. The criminals are people who want to be evil, but have the wrong personality type.

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