Of the many lessons learned from 2020, the value of free markets in making workplaces safer is an important one. As The Week outline, the requirement for personal safety and just in time deliveries, and the fact that bureaucracy has prevented proper testing, has made the case for libertarian principle-driven
policy being dominant when it comes to keeping people safe. Underpinning this system are the various powers of litigation that have, ultimately, been instructive in upholding the fundamental freedoms that a libertarian society relies on.
Legal frameworks and libertarianism
Already, workplace health and safety is a contentious area. The multiple layers of bureaucracy and bloated legislation that CDC and OSHA hold over American employers often ends up with the government being favored, or the lawsuit being dropped altogether due to the complexity of trying to litigate effectively. This is a balance that needs redressing to make the victim, whether workplace or employee, whole, following a physical or monetary loss. Indeed, legal experts FVF Law note the need for properly litigated cases that give justice to the right party, rather than just putting the burden on one party or siding with the bureaucracy and money gathering of state apparatus. In short, the emphasis is being shifted from questionable regulatory frameworks and towards the law and how it can be used as a balanced force for good in matters of immutable human rights.
Technology is one area of human progress in which libertarian ideals have undoubtedly been shown to supercharge new innovation. This is obvious in the likes of Silicon Valley, where technological ecosystems have been grown organically in what is, for all its faults, perhaps one of the closest approximations of libertarian values at large in the USA. This technology is steering health and safety; the use of free big data in workplaces is, according to Open Access Government, inspiring new AI-powered workplace safety systems that seek to pre-empt risks ahead of them becoming more potent. To remove risk is to improve health and safety, meaning this sort of technology holds great promise.
The remote worker
Perhaps the greatest boon to work place health and safety is the advent of the remote worker. Removing a whole host of risks from the workplace in a esoteric sense, the remote worker phenomenon is also curious in that it could only have come about from the free market. The internet, housing, sustenance, amenities, electricity and the software they need to securely connect? All made possible only through an open and free market. FlexJobs estimate there are now 3.2% remote workers, with up 50% working away from the office at some point. This is a huge benefit for safety, and puts the health of workers back into their own hands and away from meddling regulations.
Removing risk from the workplace, then, is easiest when the worker can stay at home. This is being readily achieved with greater frequency every single day. American workers will benefit from this libertarian-inspired boom.