How much power should the courts have in affecting the relationship between employers and employees? This country was built on the philosophy of Laissez Faire…. leave them alone. Under that philosophy, we built railroads, skyscrapers and a vast industrial economy that has made us the envy of the industrial world. Entrepreneurs were able to get rich or go broke based on their own talent and luck, and workers could choose their professions and become successful by their own hard work.
On the other hand, entrepreneurs became fabulously wealthy on the backs on the workers. Miners were routinely killed in dangerous mining conditions so the owners could become even wealthier. There was a case in the 1920’s in which a young boy was required to work late at night cleaning machines. He spilled a little cleaning fluid, and it dripped on a mouse hiding under the machine. The mouse ran under a gas radiator. The flame of the radiator caused the mouse to catch on fire, and it ran under the machine which blew up due to the flammable fluid being used to clean. The boy was killed; The employer hired another boy to take his place. No, I didn’t make that up.
Under what circumstances, and to what degree, should the government be able to step in and dictate the relationship between an employer and employee?