Geoff just wrote about the natural market working best in providing for employees.
That said, we live in a time when there are some businesses and employers that do exploit. Some companies spend millions to lobbyists, so they can get tax breaks or opportunities from the government. We’ve lately seen companies that, in having huge losses, paid huge salary and benefit increases to a select few, while laying off workers.
I am not for a huge government program to regulate business. Such actions usually do more harm than good, such as being implicit in the cause of the Great Recession.
Government involvement has caused businesses to send jobs overseas, delay hiring more people, and spend almost 1/2 trillion dollars a year just in figuring out their taxes. Now that government and business are in cahoots with each other, we can see corruption taking a very ugly turn, impoverishing many Americans through fraud and defrauding. Having the feds pay farmers not to grow crops, or to require that 40% of our corn crop be used as fuel, enriches a few people, but increases prices at the store for the rest of us, and risks hunger in the long run.
Isaiah warns of the princes of Israel stealing from the widows and poor, grinding their faces in the ground, buying up all the land until there is none for the average person (very important in ancient Israel, where inheritance was tied to land).
So, we need to avoid forcing companies into a square hole, while encouraging them to choose good things.
While the robber barons were better than the Czars and their serfs, we can see that there are levels of good and evil, not just black and white. There is a good, better, best. We can seek to improve things, but need to do so in wisdom. When one picks up one end of the stick, the other end is also picked up. Choices by our federal government have often, in the long run, hurt not only the American people, but the world. Our current recession has brought many areas of the world into a Depression. We have a sniffle, they catch a cold. We catch a cold, they get cancer.
History shows that Federal intervention tends to cause corruption and problems later on. Twiddling with welfare has destroyed families, especially among African Americans, and has led to so many youth joining gangs, being raised without a Dad, etc. Woodrow Wilson’s tinkering helped lead to WWII and the Bosnia/Serbian war 70 years later. Government’s tinkering in housing and banking has led to the current recession, and continued tinkering has caused a very sluggish recovery, which may drop back into another recession in 2013.
The reality is government has to stop trying to be the savior, and instead encourage people to create businesses and employ people and work for employers in a Christ-like way. Elder L Tom Perry noted years ago that if everyone produces more than they consume, there will be plenty for everyone. But it requires changing our reasons for doing business: not for greed and making tons of money, but to improve the lot of us.