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Question: Would killing the minimum wage help?
Yes
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Author Topic: Would killing the minimum wage help?  (Read 8495 times)
LastBattle
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July 10, 2011, 08:33:46 PM
 #21

Right and as a business owner I would like to outlaw competition so I can charge whatever I want.

I'm not making the argument that underbidding is always wrong. I'm just making the argument that it is not always right, by claiming that the libertarianist argument that if two people want to make a deal without externalities then the rest of the world should GTFO, is not applicable, since there are externalities.

Personally, I think that the interests of the negotiating parties should be weighted carefully against the interests of the third parties, and that the current trade offs (min wage, but monopoly illegal) are well thought out.


Externalities are irrelevant. I am sure there are engineers who wish that there were very few engineers by law and that they were able to charge extortionate amounts of money for their labour, but that would be contrary to the efficient allocation of resources provided by the marketplace. Likewise, I am sure those working slightly above minimum wage like having less cheap competition to drive their wages down, but then the difference would be made up in cheaper goods and the lack of unemployment.

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July 11, 2011, 07:22:39 PM
 #22

I'm just making the argument that it is not always right, by claiming that the libertarianist argument that if two people want to make a deal without externalities then the rest of the world should GTFO, is not applicable, since there are externalities.

In this case, externalities are irrelevant. You only have the right not to be negatively affected when it's damaging you or your property physically. You don't have the right to a liveable wage.

not having a liveable wage would damage me physically
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July 11, 2011, 07:35:40 PM
 #23

I'm just making the argument that it is not always right, by claiming that the libertarianist argument that if two people want to make a deal without externalities then the rest of the world should GTFO, is not applicable, since there are externalities.

In this case, externalities are irrelevant. You only have the right not to be negatively affected when it's damaging you or your property physically. You don't have the right to a liveable wage.

not having a liveable wage would damage me physically

You have the right to the ability to earn a living wage (I cannot force you to work for less) but not the right TO a living wage (you cannot force me to pay you more)

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July 11, 2011, 07:40:11 PM
 #24

"You have the right to the ability to earn a living wage (I cannot force you to work for less) but not the right TO a living wage (you cannot force me to pay you more)"

It doesn't change the fact that undercutting min wage would damage me physically
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July 11, 2011, 07:43:31 PM
 #25

"You have the right to the ability to earn a living wage (I cannot force you to work for less) but not the right TO a living wage (you cannot force me to pay you more)"

It doesn't change the fact that undercutting min wage would damage me physically

And? Taxing me to pay for your grandma's hip replacement damages me physically and you don't seem to mind that.

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im3w1l
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July 11, 2011, 07:46:58 PM
 #26

But I DO mind! I think it is bad that this is so. But the good that she receives is greater than the harm that you receive (IMO).
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July 11, 2011, 07:49:56 PM
 #27

But I DO mind! I think it is bad that this is so. But the good that she receives is greater than the harm that you receive (IMO).

Crazy thought: You negotiate your own salary, and pay for your own grandma's surgery, and I'll stay the fuck out of your pocket if you stay the fuck out of mine. Deal?

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July 11, 2011, 07:53:05 PM
 #28

It doesn't change the fact that undercutting min wage would damage me physically
The problem is, a rule that you can't do things that harm other people would eliminate almost everything we could ever do. Almost every action creates winners and losers. If I buy a Ford and not a Honda, Ford wins and Honda loses. What if Honda is doing really badly and is in danger of bankruptcy -- should we start requiring people to buy Hondas even if they're more expensive and they like them less? (And have crappy transmissions that fall apart right after the warranty expires due to a manufacturing defect, but I digress.)

You can't hold people responsible for that kind of indirect physical harm. Otherwise, nobody could ever do anything. Think about how many professional buggy drivers, saddle and whip manufacturers, horseshoe makers, and the like were harmed physically by the introduction of the automobile. Should we have banned it?

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im3w1l
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July 11, 2011, 08:05:13 PM
 #29

Quote
The problem is, a rule that you can't do things that harm other people would eliminate almost everything we could ever do.
exactly.

Quote
You can't hold people responsible for that kind of indirect physical harm. Otherwise, nobody could ever do anything. Think about how many professional buggy drivers, saddle and whip manufacturers, horseshoe makers, and the like were harmed physically by the introduction of the automobile. Should we have banned it?
You can recognize it as something undesirable, while still sometimes allowing it, and sometimes not, depending on the magnitude of the good and bad effects
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July 11, 2011, 08:20:25 PM
 #30

There are many reasons to support repealing minimum wage laws, but as to the OP question, "Would it help?" I'm really not convinced that it would.

The biggest issue facing our economy is not inflexibility of labor, it's malinvestment of capitol. Allowing workers to sell their labor more cheaply might create more jobs or even (inshallah) lead to diversification of the economy and a revivial of the manufacturing sector, but the more likely short-term effect would be slashing of wages for workers in struggling communities, increasing dependence on government services and general poverty, and, as always, opportunities and excuses for subsidized business interests to pocket the difference.

What I like about this scenario is that it increases incentives for workers to opt-in to microbusiness, homebrew community development and solidarity; what I dislike about this scenario is the general indifference to unnecessary suffering.

Now, long-term, yes. Minimum wage laws are bad, and aren't needed in a libertarian society in any case. But in the short term, would it help? I would have to see some convincing evidence to believe that the good would outweigh the bad.

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NghtRppr
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July 11, 2011, 08:42:51 PM
 #31

not having a liveable wage would damage me physically

Let me rephrase that. You only have the right not to be negatively affected when it's directly damaging you or your property physically.
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July 11, 2011, 09:24:52 PM
 #32

You can recognize it as something undesirable, while still sometimes allowing it, and sometimes not, depending on the magnitude of the good and bad effects
Except it's not undesirable. It just happens to have negative effects on one person. The net effect on everyone is a plus.

Sometimes it makes sense to reduce the effects of the harm. Using the example of people who lost their jobs due to the introduction of the automobile, minimum wage laws would be like a tax on automobiles to keep their price too high to allow them to compete with carriages. The bad way is to try to prevent the transaction rather than reducing the harm it does. Helping those harmed directly, for example by retraining people whose jobs were eliminated by the introduction of the automobile would have been much more sensible.

Minimum wage laws are in the bad category -- the aim to prevent the transaction rather than helping those harmed. It's important to understand that the only way a minimum wage law helps someone is if it prevents someone else from working at below that wage when that other person who have preferred to do so. That is, we help Jack make more money by preventing Jim from hiring Jeff for less than Jack is willing to work for. If we want to help Jack get higher wages, we should do things to make Jack's labor more valuable (such as supporting him while he works for low wages to build experience and references) and leave Jim and Jeff alone.

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July 11, 2011, 11:32:33 PM
 #33

The minimum wage is in place so that people can earn enough money from a standard 40 hour/week job to have a basic standard of living.
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July 11, 2011, 11:35:43 PM
 #34

The minimum wage is in place so that people can earn enough money from a standard 40 hour/week job to have a basic standard of living.

And what of the people who earn $0/hour as a result of the minimum wage?

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July 12, 2011, 03:31:44 AM
 #35

Nancy Pelosi has interns on her staff making no wage at all except possibly a tiny stipend. The rationale is that they are gaining valuable work experience that will allow them to attain gainful employment later. Why she can't see that the same principle applies to those who's productivity level is lower than the minimum wage is beyond me.   

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July 12, 2011, 05:47:42 AM
 #36

Problem with the lack of a minimum wage is that the situation looks increasingly more and more like slavery.  As the race to the bottom prevails, if markets are left unfettered, even below subsistence levels of pay can be maintained with costs externalized to whatever social safety net (be it political or religious) may exist.

The idea that 50% of the people think there shouldn't be a minimum wage means one of the following to me:
1) People are unbelievably cruel and hateful and believe that there is nothing wrong with slavery by any other name
2) They are millionaires and also think that there is nothing wrong with slavery and grinding poverty due to their oligarchical disposition
3) They are trolling
4) They have no historical, political or economic understanding outside a Milton Friedman book
5) They believe in no fundamental value for human life and whatever you can get out of someone you should

I really don't see any other options for this.  Please post them here if you know of any even partially legitimate sounding reason for the elimination of the minimum wage that isn't the most obvious, flagrant and hideous face of class warfare by the top 0.1% against the rest of society.

I'll keep my politics out of your economics if you keep your economics out of my politics.

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July 12, 2011, 06:07:36 AM
 #37

As the race to the bottom prevails, if markets are left unfettered, even below subsistence levels of pay can be maintained with costs externalized to whatever social safety net (be it political or religious) may exist.
Ahh! So now we have the real argument -- we need a minimum wage to prevent other laws from screwing things up. There is no screwed up regulation that can't be fixed by more regulation of something else, right?
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I really don't see any other options for this.  Please post them here if you know of any even partially legitimate sounding reason for the elimination of the minimum wage that isn't the most obvious, flagrant and hideous face of class warfare by the top 0.1% against the rest of society.
Fixing prices is not within the legitimate moral authority of government, whether for labor or for anything else. Forcing me not to work for $1/hour (if I would prefer to) is no morally superior to forcing me to work for $1/hour (if I would prefer not to). It is telling someone what they cannot do, and backing it up by force, that makes people into slaves.

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LastBattle
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July 12, 2011, 06:12:49 AM
 #38

Problem with the lack of a minimum wage is that the situation looks increasingly more and more like slavery.  As the race to the bottom prevails, if markets are left unfettered, even below subsistence levels of pay can be maintained with costs externalized to whatever social safety net (be it political or religious) may exist.

The idea that 50% of the people think there shouldn't be a minimum wage means one of the following to me:
1) People are unbelievably cruel and hateful and believe that there is nothing wrong with slavery by any other name
2) They are millionaires and also think that there is nothing wrong with slavery and grinding poverty due to their oligarchical disposition
3) They are trolling
4) They have no historical, political or economic understanding outside a Milton Friedman book
5) They believe in no fundamental value for human life and whatever you can get out of someone you should

I really don't see any other options for this.  Please post them here if you know of any even partially legitimate sounding reason for the elimination of the minimum wage that isn't the most obvious, flagrant and hideous face of class warfare by the top 0.1% against the rest of society.

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----

Many reasons, most of which have already been covered. But, to reiterate:

-If a person wants to work for a low wage, then that is no one else's damn business, and any individual that tries to prevent them from working by force for "their own good" is thoroughly evil and should be, situation depending, strung high from a street light or taken behind a building and shot. This really ought to be enough, but it seems certain people can't get out of the collectivist mindset.
-The "race to the bottom" idea is idiotic. As the somewhat more rational supporters of the minimum wage noted, the only people who would have even a chance of "racing to the bottom" would be those already working minimum wage, and most of THEM are either working very simple jobs that pay poorly regardless or are using the job to gain experience for a springboard to a better job. Yes, the wages for some would go down. No, this would not result in everyone being paid ten cents an hour in dangerous situations.
-The minimum wage is a huge block to employment. You say a person being paid less than $10 is like a slave, but a person making NO MONEY because the minimum wage blocks them from getting a job at all is better off? As I mentioned above, many people get these low paying jobs for the experience to ultimately get better jobs. But those same people can't get aforementioned jobs if there is a minimum wage making it unprofitable for a company to hire them, leaving them with the paradox of needing experience to be seen as worthwhile for hiring, but needing to have experience to get the job to get experience. This issue would not exist with no minimum wage (indeed, for all of the problems of the 19th century, unemployment because of a lack of experience was not one of them; a poor man could get a job in a factory or a railroad and, through a lifetime of hard work, eventually find himself managing the route or the factory).

Make no mistake, it woudn't solve everything. There are still regulatory barriers, central banks, etc in the way. But it would at the very least alleviate unemployment in a huge way, especially among students and the youth looking for jobs.

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July 12, 2011, 06:17:42 AM
 #39

(indeed, for all of the problems of the 19th century, unemployment because of a lack of experience was not one of them; a poor man could get a job in a factory or a railroad and, through a lifetime of hard work, eventually find himself managing the route or the factory).


Hmmm. I think we are talking about different versions of history here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead_Strike
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July 12, 2011, 06:37:18 AM
 #40

(indeed, for all of the problems of the 19th century, unemployment because of a lack of experience was not one of them; a poor man could get a job in a factory or a railroad and, through a lifetime of hard work, eventually find himself managing the route or the factory).


Hmmm. I think we are talking about different versions of history here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead_Strike

Pretty ironic that you would mention Andrew Carnegie, but whatever.

This is irrelevant. The strike had nothing to do with unemployment because of a lack of experience. The only unemployed were the ones who the union was blocking from getting jobs.

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