It's not theft, it's capitalism!

Ezra approvingly cites Atrios saying:

I'm always surprised how many people fail to be sympathetic to striking workers simply because they perceive them to be "well-paid." Certainly one can always find a more worthy cause, a more desperate case, someone more "deserving." But ultimately this is about whether management gets to screw workers, and that's something we can all be concerned about whether it's janitors, Hollywood writers, or even millionaire baseball players.

The main issues for the WGA are rather simple - when the studios repackage their work until the end of time in new and exciting media formats, how much residuals should they get (if any). If you fail to "sympathize" with striking writers, you think that management should just expropriate the value of their work forever. In other words, you sympathize with management.

This is rather a creative use of the word "expropriation". The writers have a contract. They are selling a product--the right to their work--to the studios. The writers would like to sell this product on more generous terms; the studios would like to buy it on less generous terms. If either party is dissatisfied with the terms, it can refuse to enter the transaction. No one is stealing from anyone else, except in the sense that the shopowner I purchased eyeglasses from yesterday "expropriated" several hundred dollars from me, when I would much rather have had the eyeglasses for free.

I don't have a dog in this fight; I think both the companies and the writers are entitled to negotiate as hard as they like. I'm betting on the writers, though. How many more reality television programs and Law and Order reruns can America consume?

I'm also upping my Netflix subscription. Luckily, I haven't even started Lost or Babylon 5 . . .