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Author Topic: Will the Left call out its own?  (Read 2400 times)

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Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2011, 09:24:46 AM »
You hit it on the head Veks,

If Walker had asked the groups to step up and take the same benefits plan as the rest of the working community and pay eased up on matching paymetns into benefit programs and accept a higher health coverage costs to help save money there would have been a lot of gnashing of teeth but that's it. He's trying to use this as a way to break unions. I've seen a bit of the same being tried down here in Florida, tying the removal of collective bargaining to cost saving measures to make the unions look 'bad'. I find the union busting tactics distressing.

I was working in a non-union shop when Lockheed took over the contract. Right off the bat they tried to roll everyone back 2 ranks by 'accident'. (When you got 12 year workers who were 30 year navy retirees that isn't smart), then they told the shop leads a week before change over that they had hired 'new shop' leads and they were to train them up, and then they tried to hijack the travel teams hotel selections (which was going to take the teams hotel bennies) AND then declared comp pay for more than 120 days outside country pay wasn't 'warranted at the same time they increased travel time outside country (ie.. doubling the number of 120 day claims that would have occured)

Needless to say I occasionally find myself a bit grateful they canned me. Even though it's nearly 2 years without a job (longest time since I was 14 years old)

Corporate greed seems to be growing (I used to joke about MBA = Masters of Business Atrocities, not so sure anymore)

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2011, 06:49:35 AM »
I find it unlikely businesses could get away with treating their workers poorly for long. Not in this day and age of 24 hour news, cell phones, Twitter and Facebook. Besides, it's a bad business model, you won't for long be profitable by abusing your workers. Does this mean there shouldn't be a safety net, some oversight, no, but the model unions is a dying breed in my opinion. I have no inherent 'right to work'. I work because I provide my employer with a skill that compliments their business and for which they fairly compensate me for.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2011, 07:29:08 AM »
I find it unlikely businesses could get away with treating their workers poorly for long. Not in this day and age of 24 hour news, cell phones, Twitter and Facebook. Besides, it's a bad business model, you won't for long be profitable by abusing your workers. Does this mean there shouldn't be a safety net, some oversight, no, but the model unions is a dying breed in my opinion. I have no inherent 'right to work'. I work because I provide my employer with a skill that compliments their business and for which they fairly compensate me for.

It worked for the coal industry, and armed revolts were required at times to get concessions. When companies have a monopoly on employment, they have gotten away with slavery. This is true of governments, as well, but in principle you can make a government accountable. Corporations at the dawn of the 20th century got away with murdering the wives and children of labor organizers, and had the US government to back them up. As bad as things may seem now on all levels - the only reason you can make a claim like that is that the value we place on life was a price paid for with a lot of blood, more than a century after this nation's founding.

Right now most of the brutal labor is done by migrant workers and prison workers. People who either don't have anyone or anywhere to turn to, or don't think they do. This includes the return of debtor's prisons to Minnesota, here, even.

While you may not have a 'Right to Work', you should have the right
- Not to have negative externalities imposed upon you without your understanding and consent.
- To be provided guarantee of payment for the services you provide your employer.
- To be mobile between places of employment.
- To be able to strike out on your own and sell your goods and services on your own.

Some of those are guaranteed on paper, not all of them in reality, especially not now. Businesses are encouraged to impose negative externalities and get away with them for as long as possible. Businesses, especially mom and pop shops, are routinely fading out of business, and not paying their workers. How do you take them to court when they have nothing?

Lack of employment mobility is a big one, and is especially brutal during hard times.

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2011, 06:24:45 PM »
It worked for the coal industry, and armed revolts were required at times to get concessions. When companies have a monopoly on employment, they have gotten away with slavery. This is true of governments, as well, but in principle you can make a government accountable. Corporations at the dawn of the 20th century got away with murdering the wives and children of labor organizers, and had the US government to back them up. As bad as things may seem now on all levels - the only reason you can make a claim like that is that the value we place on life was a price paid for with a lot of blood, more than a century after this nation's founding.

Right now most of the brutal labor is done by migrant workers and prison workers. People who either don't have anyone or anywhere to turn to, or don't think they do. This includes the return of debtor's prisons to Minnesota, here, even.

Is there an example of these sort of abuses of private sector workers in the Digital Age? I appreciate the fact that the trials and tribulations of worker rights activists in the 20th Century deserve credit for the improved workplace environments we enjoy today, I only suggest that the danger of such activities arising again, with all the manners of communication we have, is unlikely.

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While you may not have a 'Right to Work', you should have the right
- Not to have negative externalities imposed upon you without your understanding and consent.
- To be provided guarantee of payment for the services you provide your employer.
- To be mobile between places of employment.
- To be able to strike out on your own and sell your goods and services on your own.

Some of those are guaranteed on paper, not all of them in reality, especially not now. Businesses are encouraged to impose negative externalities and get away with them for as long as possible. Businesses, especially mom and pop shops, are routinely fading out of business, and not paying their workers. How do you take them to court when they have nothing?

Lack of employment mobility is a big one, and is especially brutal during hard times.

I'm not sure I know what you mean by 'negative externalities'. Can you give me an example?

Employment mobility? Can you be more specific? There is no one stopping me from resigning my position tomorrow and taking up a job with another company. Who says I can't do that?

Are you saying if my employer chose not to pay me for the past two weeks of work, I would have no viable, legal recourse? Are you saying they only pay me at their leisure and whim?

I ask these questions not with sarcasm but with curiosity.

Online Oniya

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Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2011, 07:04:29 PM »
Employment mobility? Can you be more specific? There is no one stopping me from resigning my position tomorrow and taking up a job with another company. Who says I can't do that?

There is, however, the fact that very few places have those jobs available for you to step into.  You have every right to resign your position whenever you want, but what if there's no one else hiring for your qualifications?  You get skipped over as 'overqualified', and you sit on your butt arguing with unemployment because you left your job voluntarily - despite the fact that your employer made your working conditions bad enough for you to want to quit.

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2011, 07:57:46 PM »
There is, however, the fact that very few places have those jobs available for you to step into.  You have every right to resign your position whenever you want, but what if there's no one else hiring for your qualifications?  You get skipped over as 'overqualified', and you sit on your butt arguing with unemployment because you left your job voluntarily - despite the fact that your employer made your working conditions bad enough for you to want to quit.

Well, this is all rather hypothetical from my perspective. I wouldn't personally quite a job unless I had something firm to go to. Not just firm but actually offered a position elsewhere before I put in any kind of resignation. I can only presume this would be a responsible course of action as I have not only my own welfare to think of, but an obligation to my son, i.e. court ordered child support. I've worked in difficult job environments before, largely personality clashes, but nothing so awful I was left no choice but to quit on the spot.

I've worked fast food, temp jobs, assembly jobs, did a tour in the US Navy, and since worked in the tech field. The last twelve years spent as a database programmer at a law firm. I have no degree, only a GED, and no industry certifications but have somehow managed to remain employed since I was 18.

Perhaps I'm just 'fortunate'. Not everyone is so fortunate I guess. I don't say that with a snarky tone. I'm sure it is true.

Online Oniya

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Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2011, 08:17:23 PM »
It's a sobering wake-up call, in all honesty.  It used to be that there were certain places that were always hiring (possibly due to high turnover from crappy working conditions, but whatever).  Now you have people with college and post-graduate degrees sometimes, tripping over themselves to put in an application at the local gas station and McD's - and the people that have those jobs are putting up with anything their employers dish out, just so that they can keep the job and feed their families.

In that kind of job market, there is no 'job mobility'.  You cling to what you have with your very fingernails.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2011, 09:07:42 PM »
Is there an example of these sort of abuses of private sector workers in the Digital Age? I appreciate the fact that the trials and tribulations of worker rights activists in the 20th Century deserve credit for the improved workplace environments we enjoy today, I only suggest that the danger of such activities arising again, with all the manners of communication we have, is unlikely.

Migrant workers and private prison labor, in the United States, are the most egregious examples. Only the latter is technically legal, but in many cases the former amounts, effectively, to slavery.

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I'm not sure I know what you mean by 'negative externalities'. Can you give me an example?

A negative externality is a cost imposed on a party who did not agree to have that cost imposed on them. Pollution and spam are probably the two most common examples you are familiar with. For pollution, the quality of life of those who experience it is directly impacted (inhaling toxins), or indirectly affected (e.g. all of the Gulf Coast fisheries that had their summer ruined by the spill). Most of the cost of spam is paid for by the recipient, for example. Elliquiy is also subject to thousands of hacking attempts per day. I have to pay for the bandwidth used in those attacks, that is an externality I have to pay because some script kiddie wants to build their botnet.

Calculating the cost of externalities can be very complex. For example, global warming is not a major concern due to sea level rise directly. Rather, seaside aquifers become brackish or saline, forests can't 'move' fast enough for the rate of change in weather, fish don't all migrate fast enough, plankton don't either and we are experiencing a mass dieoff, and so on. The cost of salt poisoning aquifers alone is already enormous.

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Employment mobility? Can you be more specific? There is no one stopping me from resigning my position tomorrow and taking up a job with another company. Who says I can't do that?

1) Not everyone in this country lives in a major metropolitan area where jobs are relatively plentiful.
2) Health insurance is tied to employment, which is the major factor discouraging entrepreneurship in the United States. Two years ago I lost two thousand dollars worth of contracts for want of affording a $300 hospital visit.
3) I'm guessing you've never signed a non-compete agreement, or been forced to.
4) Tying benefits directly to seniority rather than merit. This is, partly, a union problem, but also relevant to many companies.
5) And of course the job market as it is now - being stuck in a situation where there is no other job available.

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Are you saying if my employer chose not to pay me for the past two weeks of work, I would have no viable, legal recourse? Are you saying they only pay me at their leisure and whim?

In some parts of the country, cases are being delayed by up to three years because of Republicans obstructing judicial appointments.

So for certain definitions of viable, depending on how long you can do without your last paycheck, and whether whoever owes you actually has anything to give you.

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2011, 10:53:34 PM »
Migrant workers and private prison labor, in the United States, are the most egregious examples. Only the latter is technically legal, but in many cases the former amounts, effectively, to slavery.

Migrant workers, as well as illegal immigrants I'll grant you. In either case these people should not be taken advantage of (well no one should) but they are especially vulnerable. This recently happened in our neighborhood, with Chipolte. There are a number of possible remedies, all of which move beyond the subject of this post I am sure. It wouldn't think it's rule however, rather the exception.

Quote
A negative externality is a cost imposed on a party who did not agree to have that cost imposed on them. Pollution and spam are probably the two most common examples you are familiar with. For pollution, the quality of life of those who experience it is directly impacted (inhaling toxins), or indirectly affected (e.g. all of the Gulf Coast fisheries that had their summer ruined by the spill). Most of the cost of spam is paid for by the recipient, for example. Elliquiy is also subject to thousands of hacking attempts per day. I have to pay for the bandwidth used in those attacks, that is an externality I have to pay because some script kiddie wants to build their botnet.

Calculating the cost of externalities can be very complex. For example, global warming is not a major concern due to sea level rise directly. Rather, seaside aquifers become brackish or saline, forests can't 'move' fast enough for the rate of change in weather, fish don't all migrate fast enough, plankton don't either and we are experiencing a mass dieoff, and so on. The cost of salt poisoning aquifers alone is already enormous.

What does spam, global warming and seaside aquifers have to do with what we are discussing? Which granted, has now moved beyond the subject of the post, but if we are talking about the relative quality and security of a union job versus a non-union job, I have no idea what you're referring to.

Are you referring to workplace safety? Granted, working as I do for a private non-union company I don't have at my disposal a third-party to oversee the means and manner of my work environment, no one, least of all my employer or management wishes to work in an environment any less than comfortable and safe.

Quote
1) Not everyone in this country lives in a major metropolitan area where jobs are relatively plentiful.
2) Health insurance is tied to employment, which is the major factor discouraging entrepreneurship in the United States. Two years ago I lost two thousand dollars worth of contracts for want of affording a $300 hospital visit.
3) I'm guessing you've never signed a non-compete agreement, or been forced to.
4) Tying benefits directly to seniority rather than merit. This is, partly, a union problem, but also relevant to many companies.
5) And of course the job market as it is now - being stuck in a situation where there is no other job available.

In some parts of the country, cases are being delayed by up to three years because of Republicans obstructing judicial appointments.

So for certain definitions of viable, depending on how long you can do without your last paycheck, and whether whoever owes you actually has anything to give you.

1. True, I can't argue with that but that has always been the case, and likely will remain so. Do you suggest there is a remedy to controlling the flow of populations and where people chose to live?
2. I'm all for the ability for people to be able to buy health insurance from any provider regardless of employment or state.
3. No I haven't. But then no one forces you to sign anything. You always have a choice. Granted your choices might be limited, but you do have a choice. A coerced contract would be tantamount to blackmail, no?
4. I've not seen institutionalized and sanctioned tenure/seniority benefits anywhere I've worked. When I think tenure I think teachers, and professorships. Unions.
5. Certainly true, but employment and economies rise and fall with times. This will pass. If only our leadership, the government would be willing to rip the proverbial band-aid off rather than inch, by inch.

Nothing you describe resembles my reality. That doesn't mean my reality is everyone else's certainly but I assure you I was most certainly not born with a silver spoon in my mouth nor afforded any special gifts or talents. Rather, at the age of 16 I was told to 'not come home' and spent the next few years going from foster home, to group home, to shelter, until I joined the Navy and pulled myself together. Now I make 67K a year with nothing more than a GED at back.

The point of this is, how is it I can do this, but so many others cannot? More to the point, without the 'benefit' of a union I've managed to make a reasonable enough living absent any 'right to work' or third party looking out for my interests?

Offline Vekseid

Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2011, 10:25:40 AM »
Migrant workers, as well as illegal immigrants I'll grant you. In either case these people should not be taken advantage of (well no one should) but they are especially vulnerable. This recently happened in our neighborhood, with Chipolte. There are a number of possible remedies, all of which move beyond the subject of this post I am sure. It wouldn't think it's rule however, rather the exception.

A lot of clothing with 'made in the USA' is made using prison labor, as well as a lot of manufacturing in general. Our tax money effectively subsidizes these industries. People get strung up on drug or debt charges, or in the case of one judge out East, outright imposing unlawful sentences for kickbacks from the prison company.

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What does spam, global warming and seaside aquifers have to do with what we are discussing? Which granted, has now moved beyond the subject of the post, but if we are talking about the relative quality and security of a union job versus a non-union job, I have no idea what you're referring to.

You asked for the definition of a negative externality and examples.

For an example related to employment, there are millions of examples - any workplace hazard that is not made clear to you when you sign up, or that you are effectively coerced into accepting. Sorry if that seemed like a tangent. More relevant examples - the eleven workers who died when the oil rig blew up in the Gulf, their families, and every business they were patronizing, because of company carelessness. Mine workers in general fought for union rights, in part, because of the hazards of their work.


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Are you referring to workplace safety? Granted, working as I do for a private non-union company I don't have at my disposal a third-party to oversee the means and manner of my work environment, no one, least of all my employer or management wishes to work in an environment any less than comfortable and safe.

This entirely depends on where you work, and the value of you and what an accident would damage versus the value of whatever you are bringing in is and how replaceable you are. What do you do? Now compare that to crab fishermen, where they don't even have to worry about disposing of the body.

Note that does not necessarily mean crab fishermen are facing negative externalities. "My job is not to get you home safe, my job is to get you home rich." The lack of safety is inherent in their wage. This is not necessarily true when, for example, blacks face artificial barriers to obtaining transportation and living arrangements elsewhere, and thus have a comparatively limited number of options for employment.

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1. True, I can't argue with that but that has always been the case, and likely will remain so. Do you suggest there is a remedy to controlling the flow of populations and where people chose to live?

Well no, it's much better now than it was when it was legal to refuse to sell black people a residential property in a neighborhood. Those laws might not be necessary any longer, but they were at one point.

There is also a need for a better mass transit infrastructure. This is slowly being corrected by market forces, but this sort of thing is a good example of when a government can smooth a transition.

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2. I'm all for the ability for people to be able to buy health insurance from any provider regardless of employment or state.

That is not a solution. There is no reason for an insurance company who provides something that everyone benefits from to exist - that is, by definition, the role of government. It is actually looming national defense issue with the spectre of bioterrorism (and one of the reasons post offices are required to operate even when there is no seeming need for them).

An efficient market requires a large number of providers and a large number of consumers. Insurance companies are exempt from antitrust regulations, and operate as monopolies or otherwise engage in open price fixing and gauging. They are regardless in very limited number, and this makes the efficient market hypothesis not applicable. There is no market based solution.

Health care is also very much a public good - that is, the quality of one person's health impacts everyone they interact with.

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3. No I haven't. But then no one forces you to sign anything. You always have a choice. Granted your choices might be limited, but you do have a choice. A coerced contract would be tantamount to blackmail, no?

The legal term is unconscionable provision.

It's important, when you consider this aspect, to take into account that not everyone is educated, literate, or thinks as critically as they should. Or that sometimes people are desperate. And when it comes time, they may not understand they have legal remedies, or may not be able to afford a civil procedure.

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4. I've not seen institutionalized and sanctioned tenure/seniority benefits anywhere I've worked. When I think tenure I think teachers, and professorships. Unions.

Was where I worked, and it wasn't a unionized position. The seniority benefits union members got there were atrocious, though, but only part of the company was unionized.

Tenure is a separate concept from unions. It is supposed to make sure that an educator can express an opinion without fear of political retribution, whether from donors, officers of the University, or politicians. That probably needs to be re-thought on a more general level, but the freedom of academic expression is more important than the freedom of the press. At least in their subject matter, professors at least know what they are talking about.

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5. Certainly true, but employment and economies rise and fall with times. This will pass. If only our leadership, the government would be willing to rip the proverbial band-aid off rather than inch, by inch.

We're in a liquidity crisis. That requires an influx of capital to the general populace, which shows no sign of occurring any time soon as the Democrats are too cowardly to try and the Republicans certainly won't. About the only thing that might happen to correct that is the meaningful rise of an alternative currency.

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Nothing you describe resembles my reality. That doesn't mean my reality is everyone else's certainly but I assure you I was most certainly not born with a silver spoon in my mouth nor afforded any special gifts or talents. Rather, at the age of 16 I was told to 'not come home' and spent the next few years going from foster home, to group home, to shelter, until I joined the Navy and pulled myself together. Now I make 67K a year with nothing more than a GED at back.

You were given public shelter, took a public job, and take advantage of public mobility. These are things you benefit from.

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The point of this is, how is it I can do this, but so many others cannot? More to the point, without the 'benefit' of a union I've managed to make a reasonable enough living absent any 'right to work' or third party looking out for my interests?

Most of it is just gross ignorance, though your own personal health is a factor - you qualified for the Navy, after all, and gained from that experience.

One of my worst clients - actually I will flat out call them the worst - runs a payday loan company. Those companies, by any reasonable market expectation, should not exist. But they prey on the ignorant, the desperate, and the paranoid. Charging 12% fees to transfer money, %400 interest rates, and so on. The owner was staunchly conservative, of course, but wasn't interested in paying the debt he owes me. But he makes his living by driving others into debt and collecting from them.

So as for 'special benefit'
1) Were you ever denied a bank account after you got out of the Navy, without doing something silly?
2) Do you at least understand basic math enough to know what 25% monthly interest rates mean? You don't have to work out the compound.
3) Did you have the benefit of being raised in a household that did not tell you banks are evil and should not be dealt with under any circumstances, or at the very least, had the benefit of being wise enough not to believe them?

Life experience matters. Knowing where and how to find what you need matters. Critical thinking and a good general awareness of the world matters.

It's hard to put a value to that. It applies to a lot of fields - paying for the promotion and server work I've done for Elliquiy - rather than doing it myself - would cost a couple thousand dollars per month. Instead I make a bit each month, because people see my experience and hire me out of the blue for it.

I know it's hard to feel sympathy for people who refuse to learn. But I do not believe this means that they should not have the opportunity.

Online ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2011, 05:57:56 PM »
So as for 'special benefit'
1) Were you ever denied a bank account after you got out of the Navy, without doing something silly?
2) Do you at least understand basic math enough to know what 25% monthly interest rates mean? You don't have to work out the compound.
3) Did you have the benefit of being raised in a household that did not tell you banks are evil and should not be dealt with under any circumstances, or at the very least, had the benefit of being wise enough not to believe them?

I don't have the energy to reply in kind to everything you've said here, but I did read it and will consider it and my entrenched positions on long held beliefs. I appreciate the feedback.

I've never been denied a bank account. Though I have been turned down for a personal loan. And rightly so in retrospect, I had no business taking out a loan and only sought to remedy a financial issue that had more to do with my then poor financial habits than any true emergency.

I am in fact a bit leery of banks, but only in large part because I'm a bit of a control freak and paranoid when it comes to my finances. Just prior to this financial mess I got out of debt, completely. No credit card debt, no car loan, no mortgage, no nothing. I intend to keep it that way.

Have I benefited in my past and today from public services? Yes, just like everyone does. But I've never had the benefit of a union led advocate, and have managed just fine. Again, my experience isn't the same as everyone else's but I can't imagine my circumstances are so very different from a large number of people. As far as the Navy goes, that was a contracted service. The Navy chose to feed, shelter and provide me with a fair wage, and in return I agreed to work for them. After my contract enlistment expired, I could either re-sign or leave. I chose to leave. Same goes for unions I suppose, no one is forced to join a union, although they have large influences over certain fields.

Anyways, where I am sure we disagree is that unions are some sort of panacea to the woes that ail our country. I firmly believe competition and innovation are our way forward, both of which in my opinion, unions stifle by design and function.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Will the Left call out its own?
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2011, 06:57:18 PM »
Where have I said unions are a panacea?

What unions solve is where and when the employment market becomes non-perfect.

That is, when there are a limited number of employers, or a monopoly on employment in a given mobility region, wages get driven down to sustenance levels - effectively slavery.

The converse is also a major problem. When there are a lot of people seeking a service, but the only providers are through a guild which owns an effective monopoly for providing that employment, costs soar. To the point where it can threaten entire economies - like health care in the US.

Unions are a valid solution to a real problem which does, occasionally, occur. You don't necessarily even need extreme examples - workers banding together to say "You either fix this condition in our employment or we all quit." - for example. The working body has equal leverage with the employer - in theory - because they have the talent. Or at the very least, the disruption they can cause would at least be weighed against the cost of behaving.