My standard parable on minimum wage increases: a young person looks at the wall of adulthood in front of him/her. On the other side are organized gardens and abundance, self-esteem and recognition. A ladder stands in front of the wall. The young person is about to start the climb, when an officious person comes along, cuts the first few rungs off the ladder, and says, “There! Now you will get paid more even though you have no experience and no one knows what kind of worker you’ll be.”
The minimum wage started as a tool to keep down competition, to keep poor people from undercutting pay rates. Of a piece with the same era’s unions and guilds that prevented black people from working in many occupations.
The ultimate fix for all the rent-seeking efforts is an amendment adding freedom of contract to the Bill of Rights, which is unlikely to happen soon. The public favor for such micromanagement comes from cartoon views of villainous employers (and landlords and businesses, etc) as the only game in town. Virtually no one lives in one-employer, one-landlord towns — choice is everywhere. Finding new work for the large number of people displaced by automation and competition goes a lot more smoothly in a free and flexible labor market. Maybe the economy has to collapse under the weight of regulation before the cartoon view is overthrown?
This post was motivated by this post at Sarah Hoyt’s site, which is a good read.
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations
[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]
Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”
Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.