« Milton Friedman Interview | Main | Fable of the Wasps »

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

dearieme

Is that the little Dukakis who once ran for Pres?

Quinn

Come on AJE, this is just silly, you can do better than this. I really don’t have time to go into detail, but briefly I don’t think it has been decided that the minimum wage must cost jobs; but it is undeniable that it may cost jobs.

Were the people rioting in Paris complaining about the minimum wage? No. Was their situation caused or aggravated by a minimum wage? Yes/probably/perhaps/no depending on your opinion; either way is ridiculous to suggest it was the sole factor involved.

As for…

I also think both sides in the debate accept that minimum wage laws were founded on sexist and racist principles.

So how can one support a minimum wage without either being ignorant or an advocate of eugenics?

The cloak comes off and they declare themselves as racist and nationalist.

This really is disgraceful mud-slinging and straw man building, something which is sadly becoming a feature of The Filter^, or at least your own contributions to it. Because some people may propose a minimum wage for the wrong reasons is no reason to tar everyone with the same brush.

I like reading The Filter^, but more posts along this line and I will be more than happy to stop; which I am sure is not what you intend.

Tia

You are way off the mark, Quinn. Sorry you have to leave so soon.

AJE

Sorry Quinn, but I honestly don't understand what the problem is.

I don’t think it has been decided that the minimum wage must cost jobs

Which is why I didn't say that!

Were the people rioting in Paris complaining about the minimum wage?

I didn't claim they were! I used it as an example to support my view that: "I don't think there's enough employment opportunities for young, non-white, low-skilled workers"

Take these two points together. I accepted that minimum wages won't always increase unemployment but it clearly reduces opportunities for low-skilled workers*, and I think the Paris riots is a blinding reminder that we should be looking for policies that increase opportunities not decrease them.

i.e. I reject the idea that we're rich enough to be able to put up with the negative effects of a price floor

how can one support a minimum wage without either being ignorant or an advocate of eugenics?

That question wasn't rhetorical. If it's possible to support it for a third reason, what is it? I'm honestly asking out of ignorance, not spite.

I also think both sides in the debate accept that minimum wage laws were founded on sexist and racist principles.

Don't you? Why not? Do you want more evidence? Did you read the evidence provided? Have you got contradictory evidence?

mud-slinging

They said denying them to people who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place and so I called them nationalist. I really don't see the problem. It's a deliberate policy to harm foreigners and low-skilled American's (typically ethnic minorities). How is that not racist and nationalist?

straw man

Where's the straw man? A straw man is falsely characterising your opponants argument, but the whole point of this post is to show that I agree with the logic of what they're saying!

some people may propose a minimum wage for the wrong reasons is no reason to tar everyone with the same brush

But I can't see how anyone can advocate a minimum wage without either

(a) Not agreeing that it harms low-skilled workers (typically these are the young and ethnic minorities)
(b) Accepting these effects but believing that the benefits of the policy outweigh the costs

If (a) then it's an economic argument and i've provided theory and evidence to show that it is harmful**, if (b) then race and nationalism is relevent.

Out of curiosity, when the minimum wage was adopted in South Africa it was part of apartheid - it was a concious attempt to keep blacks out of employment and pay whites a higher wage (see Walter Williams on this). Surely you'd accept that that's a racist and eugenic argument?

Regardless of the motivation behind the implementation of a policy the effect is the same. It's a policy born out of eugenics, and has been practised as racism. (This isn't blind assertion - i've provided evidence to support this claim). The economic effects are almost unanimously agreed upon.

The only reason that I can think why this post has made you consider stopping reading is because you're sympathetic to a minimum wage but resent the fact that i'm implying you're either ignorant or support eugenics.

So why are you sympathetic to a minimum wage?

* this is the first law of demand. If you reject the assertion that if the cost of labour rises then the demand for labour falls (ceteris parabus) you're denying economic science

** the evidence is scattered through the other two posts I linked to. If you want me to provide it again I can do

Quinn

Sorry, but I thought this was a really lazy post. Perhaps I made a lazy response in turn thanks to a few pints and the hot weather.

What was the purpose of your post, honestly? To me it seems like you are challenging people who support the minimum wage to either recant or accept that they are racist, nationalistic, sexist and supporters of eugenics. Or just stupid. I think that is little better than mud slinging.

I am actually agnostic on the subject to the minimum wage. I concede that it may cost jobs and that it may do more harm than good; but I also question the assumption that it will do harm.

Listen, I really don’t have the time at the moment to go into this, but can you accept that people can support the minimum wage and still disagree with the sentiments of Dukakis and the principles that Alex Tabarrok ascribed to the pioneers of the minimum wage? To say “how can one support a minimum wage without either being ignorant or an advocate of eugenics” is a false opposition.

In short, because someone agrees with a principle for the wrong reasons does not make that principle in itself wrong.

AJE

If i'd have said that the minimum wage "must" cost jobs and that people who supported it were "stupid" then it would have been a lazy post, but you're attributing comments I didn't make!

I was very careful about what I wrote - I acknowledged that it won't always increase unemployment, and I accepted that it isn't a massive problem. I simply argued that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Sorry, I don't see how it's possible to "question the assumption that it will do harm". It may not cause new unemployment (as I accepted) and it may not cause much harm (as I accepted), but it will cause some harm and that's all I said.

What was the purpose of your post, honestly?
Because the only way that the imposition of a minimum wage makes sense to me is if you intend to reduce the employment opportunities of low-skilled workers (typically the young, ethnic minorities, and foreign).

Therefore I am against a minimum wage and feel strongly about the fact that people who do intend to deliberately harm such workers can enact the policy (partially) by exploiting the fact that many people don't understand the economic effects.

Usually the politicians and policy-makers who advocate a minimum wage claim that it's to help people. But on this occassion they've actually admitted that the reason they want it is to hurt people.

Their cloaks came off - they're vile nationalist bastards and they made me angry.

can you accept that people can support the minimum wage and still disagree with the sentiments of Dukakis and the principles that Alex Tabarrok ascribed to the pioneers of the minimum wage?

Obviously. I thought I was very clear that it's perfectly possible to be a non-racist, non-nationalist advocate of minimum wages.

But I haven't yet encountered such a person who has read all the empirical literature on the effect of minimum wages and has a good grasp of microeconomic theory.

This whole post was based around an honest question about whether such a person exists.

because someone agrees with a principle for the wrong reasons does not make that principle in itself wrong.

I don't understand whether you mean "wrong" as in "incorrect" or "immoral". It it's the former, then you're basically disagreeing with both sides of the current minimum wage debate. If it's the latter then you're conceeding that there are immoral reasons to support a minimum wage, which is the point of this post - to remind people of the nationalist and racist nature of this policy.

Quinn

Okay, I don’t think we are going to get anywhere on this one. Maybe I will just hold my hands up and accept that I am ignorant. But I will tell you how I read you post.

First, the reference that “both sides acknowledge the economic logic that a miniumum wage, ceteris parabus, increases unemployment”. I think I misunderstood this point. I thought you were stating that it was acknowledged by all sides that the minimum wage costs jobs. If you had replaced “economic logic” with “economic theory” then I think I would have understood what you meant and agreed with you. It’s a minor difference, but I think it does change the emphasis of what you were saying. Or perhaps I just skim read far to quickly.

You then make the reference to the Paris riots; I found this simplstic. Would it be right to blame the 1981 riots in Toxteth, Brixton etc on the free market policies and lack of a minimum wage of the then Conservative government. You could do so, but I think that would also be simplistic. That was my problem there.

Then we get the references to the beliefs of the progressives such as the Webbs and again I think the problem here as one of emphasis. You say it is accepted that “minimum wage laws were founded on sexist and racist principles”. I took this to mean that when minimum wage laws were introduced it was for racist and sexist reasons, e.g. that was Labour’s motivation when they introduced the law in 1997, which I doubt; I now think you meant that some historical advocates of the minimum wage had sexist / racist intentions, but if that was your point I don’t think that it was very clear. Then you said that the minimum wage is “grounded in eugenics”; do you mean that eugenics was part of the progressives’ motivation? In that case I think there is a better way of putting it because to me “grounded” means eugenics is inextricably intrinsic to minimum wage theory, which I reject. Also, even if one acknowledges the economic theory, that doesn’t follow that you know it will be harmful in practice; after all, economic theory suggests a minimum wage will raise unemployment, yet you accept this may not be the case. So I think you can support the minimum wage because you question the harm it does (the gap between theory and practice) and also you reject the eugenicists’ argument out of hand.

Then to the NY Times article. You state that his article “acknowledges that an economically literate non-racist can't support minimum wages.” It does nothing of the sort. You are right to feel angry reading what Dukakis and Mitchell have to say, but they only speaks for themselves. They could have easily said, “cut social security and Americans on welfare will be forced to do the jobs currently filled by illegal immigrants”. Following their argument would that not also make economic sense? Would that make welfare cuts in themselves intrinsically racist? Also, you say “the cloak comes off and they declare themselves as racist and nationalist” and “it's refreshing for minimum wage advocates to cut out the rhetorical bullshit about wanting to help the poor, and actually admit that it's a policy for racists and nationalists, and the uninformed”. Again, I read this as a sweeping generalisation aimed at supporters of the minimum wage, which from your later comments I take it you didn’t mean; if you had said more specifically that “Dukakis and Mitchell declare themselves as racist” then I think that would be a clearer point.

So, a large part of my objections is probably down to my misunderstanding you. Whether that is because I skim read lazily, or you weren’t clear enough, I cannot tell. I suspect a combination of both, but I think it is possible to read a different emphasis on what you have written depending on your viewpoint.

As for your last comments…

“I don't understand whether you mean "wrong" as in "incorrect" or "immoral". It it's the former, then you're basically disagreeing with both sides of the current minimum wage debate. If it's the latter then you're conceeding that there are immoral reasons to support a minimum wage, which is the point of this post - to remind people of the nationalist and racist nature of this policy.”

I meant immoral. If your post was to highlight the nationalistic views of some minimum wage advocates then that is fine; but I question where the current minimum wage debate is. I think the debate is still about what the effect of a minimum wage will be. You and Michael Dukakis agree on those effects and so in this case there is no debate about the minimum wage, just a debate about nationalism. I would propose that most advocates of the minimum wage would not agree with Dukakis and so his opinion in itself is irrelevant; and we're back where we started.

“But I haven't yet encountered such a person who has read all the empirical literature on the effect of minimum wages and has a good grasp of microeconomic theory.”

Well I certainly haven’t read all or even much empirical literature. As for my grasp of economic theory? You decide. But if it is a choice between being ignorant or racist then I’ll be stood in the corner of the room with my back to the class.

Costa

Quinn you've summed up there exactly why I stopped reading most of the things on this site. Even the stuff I largely agree with on here I don't find reasoned arguments in their defence but mudslinging at anyone who might think anything different. It's depressing.

AJE

Thanks for the response Quinn, I have a clearer understanding now of where the problems were in my original post, and I've noted your comments.

Replacing "logic" with "theory" is a minor difference (to me they mean the same thing) and it wasn't my intention to claim anything other than the point you agree with, so thanks for pointing it that they can be interpreted differently.

Would it be right to blame the 1981 riots in Toxteth, Brixton etc on the free market policies and lack of a minimum wage of the then Conservative government

*If* you believe that those policies were having an effect on those people and *if* at the time, I was advocating even greater free market policies because "the labour market can take it" then you'd have every right to point to Toxteth and Brixton. Definately.

You say it is accepted that “minimum wage laws were founded on sexist and racist principles”. I took this to mean that when minimum wage laws were introduced it was for racist and sexist reasons, e.g. that was Labour’s motivation when they introduced the law in 1997, which I doubt

I had originally written “minimum wage laws are founded on sexist and racist principles” but changed "are" to "were" to try to make it clear that I was referring back to the original laws and not claiming that minimum wages are still - always and everywhere - being adopted for sexist and racist principles.

But what was Labour's motivation? I'd say it was a concession to the trade unions who'd funded their election success, and the intention there is to benefit union members at the expense of non-union members (again, typically foreign). So I would say that it was adopted in 1997 for nationalist reasons.

I then used "grounded" because I'd already used "founded" and thought it could be used interchangeably (and avoid repitition). Maybe I should have just stuck with "founded" throughout. I'm not sure, but I do accept your point.

"I think you can support the minimum wage because you question the harm it does (the gap between theory and practice) and also you reject the eugenicists’ argument out of hand.

That only makes sense if you believe that it does good, and to believe that you need a theory that explains how it works. As i've said throughout, I haven't heard that theory, but am all ears and hope someone can point out what i'm missing.

Then to the NY Times article. You state that his article “acknowledges that an economically literate non-racist can't support minimum wages.”

I deliberately put the word "can't" in italics to emphasise that this was my personal impression from reading the piece. I wasn't claiming it was proof, I was claiming that it is such strong evidence I really can't see how an alternative argument can be right - and remember - this is within the context of me specifically asking for that argument to be made.

Would that make welfare cuts in themselves intrinsically racist?

That's a very good point but I've been careful not to call minimum wages "intrinsically" racist. If, in your example, welfare cuts have historically been proposed by people seeking to deliberately hurt foreigners, then yes I would say that that policy has a nationalist nature.

Again though I think you've attributed a stronger argument than I was making.

if you had said more specifically that “Dukakis and Mitchell declare themselves as racist” then I think that would be a clearer point.

True, but I did make sure that I wasn't claiming that minimum wages were for racists, but for "racists and nationalists, and the uninformed". Throughout this I've never claimed that all advocates are racist, merely that one faction - and a very important faction - are.

If i'd only had said "Dukakis is racist" then I wouldn't have been making my point. You and I don't care whether Dukakis is racist - i've got no interest in just launching a personal attack. My aim was to use that fact to make a general point about the nationalist nature of minimum wages.

I think the debate is still about what the effect of a minimum wage will be. ... I would propose that most advocates of the minimum wage would not agree with Dukakis

I think we need to make a distinction here between the public debate and the policy debate. If you mean public debate I agree entirely. But I think that the policy debate is less open, and the higher up the ladder of influence you go (of people advocating minimum wages), the more this turns from an economic debate into an ethical one.

The reason I made this post was to show that there is a disjoint between the public and the policy debates, and the people who are actually implementing minimum wages are more similar to Dukakis than yourself.

My hope is that the evidence that demonstrates a consistancy from the original progressives, through South Africa, right up to the USA today, should make the general public question what the motives of their spokemen really are, and hopefully also question their advocation.

I meant immoral
I'm glad you do accept that there's an immoral reason for supporting a minimum wage, because I don't think that the general public realise that.

As for my grasp of economic theory? You decide.

You've always struck me as having a very strong knowledge about these issues, in a refreshingly down to earth way. But I can't decide because you haven't made an argument in favour of minimum wages, you've just expressed doubts about the arguments against. I think i've conceded that all those doubts are valid, but "let the second singer sing".

It just doesn't seem to make sense to disagree with virtually the entire economics profession unless you have a better alternative.

AJE

Costa: I'd hoped that you would enjoy the fact that i'm (somewhat) uniquely opinionated, and have the technical training and writing skills to communicate that.

Alas, if that's not to be then I'd hoped that you'd appreciate my attempts to discuss important issues (and host a debate on them), and would share your own thoughts on where you disagree with me. Then I can learn from our differences in the same way I learn for those who do challenge what I say.

But if you're too depressed to even bother disagreeing, but simply leave an unreasoned and mudslinging comment of your own.... What am I supposed to to say to that?!

Quinn

Sorry to resurrect this one if you want the debate to move elsewhere, but I just want to make a few points.

I deliberately put the word "can't" in italics to emphasise that this was my personal impression from reading the piece.

Another misunderstanding then. I read italics as emphasis, not to suggest this is a personal view. Sorry.

But what was Labour's motivation? I'd say it was a concession to the trade unions who'd funded their election success, and the intention there is to benefit union members at the expense of non-union members (again, typically foreign). So I would say that it was adopted in 1997 for nationalist reasons.

I have little time for unions, and I agree the minimum wage was introduced as a sop to them, but I think it is wrong to therefore call it a nationalist policy. Unions selfishly and blindly look after their members “interests” regardless of nationality; I think there is much wrong with their attitude and actions, but unions can cover sections of the workforce that are mainly provided by immigration. But that is a minor point, and another debate.

But I can't decide because you haven't made an argument in favour of minimum wages

Fair point; and as I said I am agnostic on the issue, which gives me great room for manoeuvre to disagree with both sides and skirt the blame. I recognise the danger that a poorly implemented minimum wage would lead to unemployment; but that could be said of any poorly implemented policy. Most articles I read criticising the minimum wage blankly state that it will cost jobs, and this is something I have in the past questioned. I am interested that you have stated that it need not cost jobs, but still assert that it must have some other negative effect.

The main attraction for me in a minimum wage is that it prevents employers from paying below a reasonable level. I know you will counter that in a voluntary exchange both sides are better off, but for an employee it can be a Hobson’s choice (I actually once took a commission only job where I was worse off than the dole). I think I have covered this elsewhere before, but I think it is possible that because you are increasing the wages of the very poorest in society, those with the greatest marginal propensity to consume, you could actually greatly boost the aggregate demand in the economy. I have mentioned this elsewhere before and not obviously been contradicted – or maybe I didn’t understand the criticism – so feel free to kick that theory into the long grass.

I wasn't claiming it was proof, I was claiming that it is such strong evidence I really can't see how an alternative argument can be right.

I don’t think it is evidence, just a viewpoint. Here is an alternative. Dukakis doesn’t say just how many white Americans are actually choosing not to enter employment because of a low minimum wage. Are there many? Of those, how many would actually choose to work if the minimum wage went up from $5 to $8? Some, especially those stuck in a benefits trap, but equally I suspect that many people who choose not to work now would have the same mindset regardless. Then take the employer; would you rather employ an eager immigrant who would work for $5 anyway, or a white American who has only scraped himself off his settee because the wage has gone up a bit? Take these points together and I think that Dukakis’s fine theory may fall down a bit; in fact, the unintended consequence could be that the poorest, immigrant workers in the US could suddenly find themselves with a nice little pay rise.

Again, feel free to pull my theory to bits, as I’m sure you will; that’s why I wrote it. I accept that it is all ifs, buts and maybes. If there is reams of empirical evidence that suggests that I am wrong then fair enough, but usually it seems it is difficult to disentangle cause and effect in such reports. I have a feeling that the reason many/most economists argue against the minimum wage is because it contradicts basic economic theory; but then there are circumstances (giffen goods, veblen effect) that do.

Quinn

PS. In the above comment I referred to “white Americans”; I meant indigenous Americans, or even just Americans. It was a pretty stupid phrase to use.

Basically, I was trying to use a term to draw a distinction between immigrants on the one hand and the Americans Dukakis was referring to in his article on the other. I was going to say “native Americans”, but that is clearly wrong. So, motivated by the fact that I took Dukakis to mean that a minimum wage would be a tool to prevent dark skinned types from entering the country I used the term “white Americans”; but that is clearly inaccurate and could give entirely the wrong impression to the one I was trying to make.

Apologies for any misunderstading.

AJE

Thanks for those comments. For what it's worth it's the writer's responsibility to be understood rather than the reader's responsibility to understand.

I think I understand now where we differ - and those points warrant seperate discussions - but i'm glad that you've cleared things up.

Nildkayamma

最大級の値下げ!アウトレット商品の通販^^ニューバランス スニーカー・ニューバランス 574・オニツカタイガー スニーカーが全て半額以下! - www.gnchchockey.org,大人気な名ブランド大特集!ディーゼル 財布, サムソナイト スーツケース, トゥミ トートバッグ, ポーター アウトレット, オロビアンコ バッグ大特価!今だけ送料無料!- www.fincasalvaje.com, 【送料無料】ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド バッグ 新作&ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド 財布 メンズが日本一セール開催中!ヴィヴィアン 長財布も低価格実現!安心のオンラインヴィヴィアンウエストウッド アウトレット店舗。- www.donmorrismusic.com, オロビアンコ アウトレットお客様満足度No1!大勢流行 オロビアンコ バッグ メンズ、 オロビアンコ 財布 メンズが衝撃価格で登場!- http://www.getuktickets.com/, バーバリーブルーレーベル・ディーゼル 時計 メンズ・コーチ 財布 新作など人気ブランド盛りだくさん 毎日新着公開 送料0円☆- http://www.teamkaputt.com/,ミュウミュウ アウトレット店館では、ミュウミュウ 財布 新作 2013やミュウミュウ バッグ 2013 新作が最大87%オフ!!- http://www.rediscovergreeneville.com/, 《最安比較》↑注目度の高いセリーヌ celineバッグ 新作 2013、セリーヌ 財布 新作【最安値挑戦中!】- http://www.quantumlegacydesign.com/>http://www.quantumlegacydesign.com/, 最低価格と最高の品質を持つセリーヌ celine,セリーヌ バッグ 新作 2013 激安が新しく登場いたしました! セリーヌ 財布 新作も大幅に増え、品質も大自信です。お客様に更に多様な選択いただけます。お気にいる商品をご自由に!
yopulation, thirty zillion human being habitants? http://www.teamkaputt.com/>バーバリーブルーレーベル ディーゼル 時計 メンズ http://www.teamkaputt.com/c-8_9.html>DIESEL シューズ,a hundred ninety million Marinaro lamb? http://www.rediscovergreeneville.com/>ミュウミュウ バッグ ミュウミュウ 財布 新作 2013 ,Grab any kind of Armani, Navegante will probably be made from Hawaiian Marinaro the biggest wool producing nation on the planet. http://www.quantumlegacydesign.com/>セリーヌ バッグ セリーヌ バッグ 新作 2013 http://www.quantumlegacydesign.com/セリーヌ-トートバッグ-c-4.html>セリーヌ トートバッグ,There is nothing better as compared to Navegante, http://www.gnchchockey.org/>ニューバランス 574 オニツカタイガー アウトレット http://www.gnchchockey.org/c-2_3.html>シュプリーム キャップ・ハット,question almost any Italian or Savile Short period custom? ポーター 財布 http://www.fincasalvaje.com/>トゥミ トートバッグ http://www.fincasalvaje.com/ディーゼル-ディーゼル-財布-c-24_34.html>ディーゼル 財布,Australiaz healthy method of organization procedures evolved into visible http://www.donmorrismusic.com/>ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド アウトレット ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド バッグ 新作 http://www.donmorrismusic.com/vivienne-westwood-トートバッグ-c-9.html>Vivienne Westwood トートバッグ,at the 2100 Olympic Games haled as the very best tidy ever sold. http://www.getuktickets.com/>オロビアンコ 時計 オロビアンコ 時計 http://www.getuktickets.com/オロビアンコ-長財布-c-2.html>オロビアンコ 長財布,An example of precisely how significantly these people decide to try doing along with business.
http://www.gnchchockey.org/ ニューバランス スニーカー
http://www.fincasalvaje.com/ トゥミ バッグ 2013
http://www.donmorrismusic.com/ ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド 財布
http://www.getuktickets.com/ オロビアンコ バッグ
http://www.teamkaputt.com/ バーバリー アウトレット
http://www.rediscovergreeneville.com/ ミュウミュウ アウトレット
http://www.quantumlegacydesign.com/ セリーヌ 財布 新作

The comments to this entry are closed.

The Filter^ PROJECTS










Analytics