Yale: your degree in capitalism

You can't handle the truth
    By David Bookstaber

headshotWould you like to pay more for worse service? A lot of Yalies would. I don't know if it's just Bleeding-Heart Rich Kid (BLEHRK) Syndrome, but in my time here I've heard an awful lot of support for anti-capitalist ideologies coming from the sector that most heavily bears the costs of these ideologies: students.

Capitalism is about efficiency. It works by providing a free system of incentives that reward better service and lower prices. For those of you who don't believe in capitalism, I'd hate for you to miss out on an important facet of your education. Yale presents plenty of great examples of why you are wrong.

Does anybody out there still think universal health care is a great idea? If you want to know what that would be like, even in its ideal embodiment, try taking your next illness to University Health Services (UHS). We've all heard the horror stories about the two-hour wait just to see a nurse who tells you she can't prescribe cough medicine unless you check into the infirmary.

What is inherently wrong with UHS? Their profit is in no way tied to their service. Their employees don't make any more money if they see more people or do a better job treating them, so there's no incentive not to let the waiting room fill up while they take their time in back rooms joking about how many pregnancy tests they put their last appendicitis patient through. Of course, private practitioners have every reason to provide fast and competent service to those who can afford it, because it makes them more money. Thus, the beautiful circle of capitalism is complete—people have an incentive to produce better services because then they can afford better services. Don't like the sound of this? Then get used to UHS.

Example two: labor unions, at least in the New Haven incarnation, are all about thwarting capitalism. Locals 34 and 35 stand out in their ability to rob students of both money and service. While they extort dues from disenfranchised student dining hall workers, these unions have managed to secure exorbitant wages for unskilled blue-collar workers. As a result of their machinations, the University has been shackled into accepting substandard service while passing on unreasonable fees to students.

Just compare the cost and quality of commercial eating establishments with the dining services that union labor provides the Yale campus. It's pretty clear that, even in New Haven, non-union, free-market service gives everyone more for less. Any student in his right mind would rather keep the sums paid through the school to these unions and instead hire his own cleaning service and eat every meal at a real restaurant, pocketing the difference.

I don't understand why students have always supported these unions—why BLEHRKs insist that a select few union employees deserve a "living wage" that's often triple the minimum wage. Who do they think pays for this? We do. BLEHRKs eagerly transfer other people's money into union members' pockets—whether it's their parents' money or financial aid paid for with taxes and other students' tuition. Little do they realize that they're funding a sort of lottery in which those lucky or dirty enough to make it into union jobs hit it big, while other workers compete for an even smaller pie. There are only so many resources out there, and unions do a great job of taking as many of them as possible while producing as little as possible in return.

This brings me to the other union specter looming over Yale: GESO. There are hordes of qualified people who would love to get paid for graduate studies at Yale. But apparently if you give them an inch, they'll try to take a mile. The lucky few who get in lament their tragic plight and try to secure even more benefits. Imagine how much worse Yale could get if graduate students unionized and we had to pay even more for worse TAs. Believe me, it would happen. It's what unions do.

I know there are BLEHRKs out there who think unions are an essential safety net for the oppressed working class. In reality, however, the benefits of anything that disrupts capitalism are illusory. What you give to the groups earning inflated union wages is taken away in greater measure both from the unlucky masses without inflated wages and from those paying more for worse service.

Contrary to the opinion of the communists in our midst, it's fine to reward the wealthy for the services they provide. That's why we have more services than less capitalistic societies have. It's also why BLEHRKs have time to complain in the first place.

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