Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Solution To Exploitation Is Not Oppression

Imagine for a moment that you're a recent immigrant from, say, Laos. You speak little English, if any at all. Finding a newspaper in your native tongue, you see an advertisement for a job painting nails. Alas, it turns out that there are apprenticeship requirements, and that for the first few months of the job, you actually pay your employer for the privilege of working there.

Naturally, the New York State Department of Labor gets wind of this and magnanimously offers to raid your employer and others like it on your behalf. How thoughtful of them. The salon owners are presented with an easy-to-understand offer: pay your workers more, or face prison.

You are now out of a job.

Moreover, you remain nearly unemployable. Perhaps you can turn tricks to keep food on the table and a roof over your head, or maybe you can start slinging rock. It's pretty unlikely that this sort of ham-handed intervention will accelerate your march toward independence and property ownership though.

Being an immigrant already sucks. Compounding the difficulty with well-intentioned, paternalistic oppression adds injury to insult.


h/t ClarkHat

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?