Author Topic: Thoughts on Minimum Wage?  (Read 18594 times)

dividendman

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Re: Thoughts on Minimum Wage?
« Reply #150 on: January 17, 2018, 11:07:17 PM »
I know I've touched on this before, but laissez faire free market economics frequently lead to terrible consequences for societies. If we let the "markets" decide what people should be paid, then we'd still have workers being paid company scrip so they could pay the rent on their company housing like what we had during the horrors of the Gilded Age.
Certainly a totally free market has its problems.  Monopolies are one such problem.  Company scrip was one such problem in the past.  At the same time, however, we live in an age of unprecedented availability of information, and practices like that are much harder to pull off.  Witness, for example, all the flak Amazon got a few years back for its "churn and burn" approach to employees.

Certainly, labor laws have helped shape cultural expectations of worker conditions to the benefit of workers.  But minimum wage laws are a bit different from, say, basic safety regulations, because they literally outlaw a certain type of job, and prevent people from taking those jobs even if they fully understand that their pay is low.

Low wages can really hold a society back because cheap labor availability makes technological advancement unnecessary. Some historians theorize that the Romans or Chinese would have went much farther technologically, but never had an incentive to due to the wide availability of slaves.

Can you share a book or something that makes that hypothesis? It sounds intriguing.

talltexan

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Re: Thoughts on Minimum Wage?
« Reply #151 on: January 29, 2018, 01:33:21 PM »
You see, I was thinking that low wages allowed for businesses to retain more earnings, which meant more funds would be available to invest for expansion, so you'd see faster growth.

Jrr85

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Re: Thoughts on Minimum Wage?
« Reply #152 on: January 29, 2018, 02:06:51 PM »
I know I've touched on this before, but laissez faire free market economics frequently lead to terrible consequences for societies. If we let the "markets" decide what people should be paid, then we'd still have workers being paid company scrip so they could pay the rent on their company housing like what we had during the horrors of the Gilded Age.
Certainly a totally free market has its problems.  Monopolies are one such problem.  Company scrip was one such problem in the past.  At the same time, however, we live in an age of unprecedented availability of information, and practices like that are much harder to pull off.  Witness, for example, all the flak Amazon got a few years back for its "churn and burn" approach to employees.

Certainly, labor laws have helped shape cultural expectations of worker conditions to the benefit of workers.  But minimum wage laws are a bit different from, say, basic safety regulations, because they literally outlaw a certain type of job, and prevent people from taking those jobs even if they fully understand that their pay is low.

Low wages can really hold a society back because cheap labor availability makes technological advancement unnecessary. Some historians theorize that the Romans or Chinese would have went much farther technologically, but never had an incentive to due to the wide availability of slaves.

Certainly labor being more expensive provides more incentive to invest in mechanization (although I'm not sure how much, as mechanized processes are still usually going to cheaper than even slave labor (who still have to be fed and sheltered).  But do you really want to argue that the government should ban the most vulnerable people in the labor pool from paid work because you think it might spur investment in mechanization/automation?  I don't think I want the government making those kinds of decisions. 

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Thoughts on Minimum Wage?
« Reply #153 on: February 16, 2018, 08:25:22 PM »
You see, I was thinking that low wages allowed for businesses to retain more earnings, which meant more funds would be available to invest for expansion, so you'd see faster growth.
That is actually the basis of capitalism, that profit is reinvested into the company to expand it. However, Western society is capitalist in the same way that Russia was communist. The warping may be an inevitable development of the system, but it is a warping nonetheless.
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