One of the most-seen slogans at the “Occupy Wall Street” protests is some variation on this theme, declaring that everyone has a “right to a job.”
This is a curious statement in what it implies. Namely, that people who have businesses are obliged to employ those who don’t have jobs. Indeed, are required to do so, as it is the “right” of the unemployed to be employed.
In other words, the employers are enslaved to the employees.
This is the problem with entitlements. Saying that you’re entitled to something – be it a job or health care, etc. – means that you’re entitled to have someone else provide it to you. Which means that you’re entitled to what other people produce. This, apparently, is “social justice.” But how is it any different, really, than slave owners thinking they have a right to the labor of their slaves?
Employment should be a mutually-beneficial exchange of capital for labor. The employee provides valuable services, while the the employer provides compensation that is agreeable to the employee. Not everyone is always 100% satisfied with these arrangements, there are always workers who think they should get more and employers who think they’re paying too much, but in the aggregate this works. Because it’s freedom, not the systemic enslavement of one group of people because another group of people think they’re owed something.