We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I'll opt for contract almost every time. The first two often precipitate a call for laws. The third still allows for the contract to be broken, but if it is broken, those who are harmed by its breaking have the option to not work with the person who broke it.
Laws don't prevent behaviors. They also frequently harm people they weren't meant to impact.
There are exceptions, of course. Property and life, off the top of my head, are areas where law is essential. But in a sense, these are contract arrangements to begin with. It's in our best interests to not take the lives of others, so most of us avoid engaging damaging behaviors which would harm others. The same is true of property. But it is important to punish people who break those laws.
Laws which are attached to creed and culture are damaging, though. While we can all agree that, culturally, sexual discrimination is wrong, but I've personally seen laws against it used improperly. By the same token laws against creed issues - such as adultery - have failed magnificently.
Sometimes, 'the invisible Hand' just works. Its mystery is part of its effectiveness.
I too would like to return to the year 1905. workplace safety laws, especially in the mines and limiting child labor, interfere with the sacred right to contract for wages, the way God Himself stated when He handed down the Declaration of independence and the King James Version (Authorized) on Mt Sinai.
Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz
Which category gives meaning to concept of "should"--custom, creed, or contract?
Back in the day, women worked in mines in Great Britain, often pulling the mine carts. And, sadly but not surprisingly, the more comely women found themselves required to be sexually available to the overseers if they didn't want the carts with square wheels and faulty brakes.
When the women were legislated out of the mines (1847 springs to mind but could be wildly inaccurate), it was for morals reasons, not because the work was too hard.
Reminds me of a union meeting back in the '60s or '70s in the USA. Was a dinner meeting. Male union bosses stood up to boast how they had "helped" women workers by limiting the amount of physical work they had to do, particularly with respect to lifting loads. Woman union rep who was there stood up, stopped the self-congratulations, and had the (female) server deposit her tray in front of the bosses. Then she called for a scale. Tray the server was carrying far exceeded the "humane" limits the male bosses had imposed on female union workers.