For this essay we were asked to choose a chapter of the book we’ve been reading, Cliches of Socialism, and explain why the cliche is incorrect. The chapter I chose states the theory: “Moonlighting increases unemployment.” Moonlighting is a term that describes the act of someone getting a second night job on top of their normal day job. It’s also the title of a decent 80’s movie, but that’s not what this essay is about.
In the swingin’ 30’s employees were in a bit of a rut. Well, wannabe employees that is, since unemployment was through the roof. To try to assist with this, the government published new regulations. These regulations stated that any employee that works over 40 hours a week would be paid an extra 50% for their efforts. This law was supposed to inspire those unemployed to try to get multiple jobs, or at the very least inspire them to aim for over 40 hours of work a week. But the issue with unemployment wasn’t the unemployed, but the companies that refused to hire. And these new regulations only made these companies want to hire less. They were now forced to pay more for anyone working over 40 hours, so try did their best to keep their employees working under 40 hours. This limited the efficiency, as well as the innovation. On top of this they stopped hiring new people, since they had to pay more for the ones they already had. This limited the companies growth, and caused America’s depression to rage on. It raged on all the way until the 1940’s, when it was ironically stopped by World War II’s need of weapons and the demand for people to work on them.
The truth of the matter is, usually it’s innovation that causes unemployment. Companies want to pay as little for their labor as they can. So if a bright and shiny newfangled invention comes along that could cut the costs of labor in half well, lets just say the costly individual working for them will not be the companies highest priority. So the individual gets fired, the machine replaces them for cheap, and the company giddily pays less. This is how its always been, and most likely how it will always be. Blaming a companies greed and lack of employee empathy on moonlighting is ridiculous.
Moonlighting does not increase unemployment, in fact it does the opposite. It allows hardworking people to fill the demand of the night shift. True, there are people who only work the night shift, and giving the job to someone who also has a day job takes away the night shifter’s position. But such is the way of life, survival of the fittest. Survival of the employee who’s the fastest, or most imaginative, or most efficient. The employee that works the hardest should get the position, and if someone is smart and determined enough to win a second job on top of his first than he should be rewarded with the income for both. The lesser employee who would have gotten the position must look elsewhere, must settle for a less convenient job. This may seem like unemployment at first glance, but on the contrary its actually employing those that deserve it. Employment is a privilege, not a right. And as we see from the 1930’s when the government steps in to try to accommodate the undeserving companies simply stifle their employee growth. They give the jobs to machines, gears and wires that cost a lot less than flesh and blood. And that rejected, jobless flesh and blood has to go hungry, with only the light of the moon but no career to go with it.