Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Evils of Liberalism, No 37: Minimum Wage Laws

If the discipline of economics has shown anything, it is that supply and demand are brought into balance by adjustments in price. Therefore, fixing the price of labor or anything else, is a sure way to produce a surplus or a shortage.

But who among those who expect to benefit from a legally imposed high minimum wage knows anything of economics? And who among the political class advocating a high minimum wage give a damn about the saps who will be put out of work if their proposal is implemented? It’s moral uplift and votes that they’re after, not the general welfare.

The problem of those whose labor is not worth a living wage will always be with us. Over the course of history this problem has been solved in various ways. Most commonly, of course, through privation and misery, which had the beneficial side effect of reducing the success of the least successful in raising more of their own unsuccessful kind.

Today, in the West, we are squeamish about the limitation of poverty through starvation, but since the government takes half our income, we are mostly reluctant to engage in personal philanthropy on a scale having a significant impact on the incidence of poverty. Thus we demand that the government eliminate poverty, which it attempts to do through a combination of welfare and minimum wage laws, the latter increasing the demand for the former.

But there is another approach that governments of the rich countries can take to the elimination of poverty. That is through a national economic policy that protects home industries with tariffs and protects the home labor market through strict immigration control.

The virtue of the nationalist approach is that (a) by retaining basic manufacturing industries such as shoes, textiles, car parts, and electronics assembly, a home market is created for the higher order industries such as machine tools and robotics that are required in support of lower tech manufacturing; and (b) by excluding floods of Third World immigrants you have some hope of retaining your national culture, language and religion, and even of ensuring the existence of your own racial posterity.

Liberals, of course, hate everything listed under (b) and hence endlessly muddy the water by urging an increase in the minimum wage, helicopter money or anything but a program to ensure every able-bodied person the dignity of a job.

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