Legal Environment of Law – Paper 1, Spring 2009
“Effects of government bailout of General Motors as viewed by two contrasting government control views”
This report is based on the notes I took listening to a debate I overheard from two of the presenters, Jurgis and Equality, at a business seminar I attended. The topic of the debate was the need for the government to provide more assistance to General Motors, who already received stimulus payments but due to the economic recession, is still in peril.
Jurgis had the socialistic view that the more government involvement and influence the better. Jurgis believed that employers, working conditions, and the positions themselves should be regulated by the government. Equality had an opposing view of capitalism, and the need to limit the involvement of the government and let the economy work itself out. Equality felt there was enough support for the employees without need for any more mandated by the government.
In conclusion I agree with many of the aspects Equality presented. General Motors was already given assistance; they need to be given the chance and motivation to try to rescue themselves. In history it’s been proven that the economy will right itself, government involvement has a tendency to make the situation worse.
While attending a business seminar on the impacts of further oil shale development in the United States, I became fascinated with two contrary presenters. Jurgis promoted the thought that we need more laws and government control to protect us from ourselves. Equality had a laissez-faire view of government involvement. Equality felt that the government should have limited power and control over the people and marketplace. After the seminar I noticed Jurgis and Equality having a conversation and decided to tag along and listen to their conversation. Jurgis and Equality were discussing the government bailout of General Motors and the proposal for additional money needed; since the first extension period is almost up and the first disbursement of funds did little to help General Motors. Due to the economic recession people have stopped buying new cars and General Motors has not yet sold their December production. Jurgis argued that the government must intervene to protect employee’s jobs and welfare by instituting more laws and regulations to protect the workers as well as providing economic subsidies. Jurgis said that if General Motors should be allowed to fail then the loss of jobs will pit man against man, something Jurgis knows about. “In Russia, there were rich men who owned everything” [ (Sinclair, p. 113) ] Jurgis argues that without regulation and control with regard to the employee than the conditions he suffered through in Russia will return. I remembered from my business law class that before unions and regulation, “Workers, often women and sometimes children, worked 60 to 70 hours per week and sometimes more, standing at assembly lines in suffocating, dimly lit factories, performing monotonous yet dangerous work with heavy machinery” [ (Samuelson, p. 403) ], we do need some form of workplace regulation. Equality disputed the need for increased government help and regulation, every man should work to achieve for himself, not the common good. Equality said that he was once told “Many men in the Homes of the Scholars have had strange new ideas in the past… but when the majority of their brother Scholars voted against them, they abandoned their ideas, as all men must” [ (Rand, p. 73) ], this kind of mentality only suppresses the people, it doesn’t help them. He doesn’t want to return to a society that has no respect for individualism, only what benefits the whole. Equality fears that if we allow the government some control over General Motors, its workers, and operation, then eventually more and more control will be given until every aspect of life and even death is controlled. Jurgis told...