Workers, referred to sometimes by terms such as “laborer” and “employee,” are those in the economy who make money by selling their time and energy, i.e. their labor, for money. This group includes self-employed people as well, as the self-employed sell labor for money. They are typically compensated in the form of salaries, commissions, benefits, and bonuses. These people play a crucial role in the economy.

“Employees are important to businesses because they enable those businesses to operate and offer valuable knowledge that helps businesses become successful. They are loyal to a company if they believe that they are treated well, another factor that enhances a company’s success.” –


Benefits to Society

Workers are of benefit to the economy. They provide all of the physical work needed to operate the businesses and other institutions that society needs to function. These individuals

  • operate machinery
  • lead organizations
  • maintain equipment
  • prepare food
  • and do much more

In addition to directly benefiting society through their labor, they indirectly benefit society in other ways. Workers are the single largest source of tax revenue for the government, according to the Mercatus Center. These individuals also purchase the goods and services that businesses provide, thus consumption keeps the economy stable and growing.


free enterprise laborers



It is important to know that workers are not exploited in free enterprise. These people are only able to sell their labor if a) they are willing to sell their labor, and b) someone else is willing to buy their labor. The necessity of consent of both the selling and buying parties ensures that the compensation is high enough for the worker to provide for oneself to an acceptable extent, and low enough for the buyer, whether that be a business, financial institution, or the government, to be able to afford the labor.

“Without labor nothing prospers.” – Sophocles

Workers give life to the economy. Automation will bring drastic changes to the way that these individuals live, possibly eliminating much of the size of this group of people. But as for now, many workers are needed to uplift the economic system. To read about related topics, visit the page “How the Free Enterprise System Works.”