Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Help the Mises Institute of Canada Blog out, Bob Murphy!

I forgot to mention that Bob is also going to be coming out with a post on the Mises Canada blog on the minimum wage... and they really need his thoughtful suspicions of the quasi-experimental literature!

Currently they have a post up on the minimum wage seeking out "the world-view behind minimum wage advocacy". I'll give you a hint... it starts with "M" and ends with "arxism"!!!!

Now I would be the last to argue that most supporters of the minimum wage ground their views in a thoughtful consideration of what theoretical and empirical economics has to say (although some do). But do we really have to reach for Marx to talk about this? I don't think they're supporting it because of Marxist theories of power and property either.

Hurry Bob! They need you!


  1. Really?? Some of my liberal friends have been pointing to this article the last couple days. And many have posted similar links in the past.


    I think this perspective is a lot more prevalent than you realize.

    1. I've got bona fide Marxists in offices down the hall from me... I don't think I'm likely to underestimate the population, but I could be wrong.

      Certainly it's not driving the opposition. Let's say this - far more proponents of the minimum wage have a decent grounding in Econ 101 than are coming from a Marxist perspective. Would you agree with that?

      I imagine someone's counter-argument is that Marx is lurking under the surface - that they aren't consciously inculcating Marx. I think that's a stretch too, but of course that one is harder to argue one way or the other.

  2. I thought you were implying that Marxism/socialism is not a major part of the thinking on the left.

    "Certainly it's not driving the opposition. Let's say this - far more proponents of the minimum wage have a decent grounding in Econ 101 than are coming from a Marxist perspective. Would you agree with that?"

    I agree with that as far as most of those with the ability to actually influence policy. Not so much among Joe average. Most left leaning people I know see minimum wage as an oppression issue and to an extent it is sold that way politically.

    To me the big question is why more entrepreneurs aren't creating jobs that utilize $15/hr workers. And why are fast food workers averaging 29 instead of the 22 of two decades ago. It seems to me that the problem is people not escaping starter jobs rather than starter jobs not paying a living wage.

    1. I was talking Joe average. I suppose we disagree.

      I'm not saying they've gone through Neumark and Wascher or Dube or Meer and West. I'm saying they took economics in college and have a decent intuition for it and support the minimum wage, knowing the textbook economics of the question and thinking throught its implications for their position.

      That group of people in the country as a whole is bigger than people who think in terms of Marxist views of property and power.

      You are moving the goalposts when you talk about "an oppression issue" I fear. But I'm not sure what you mean by that.

    2. Yes definitely on your last paragraph. This is the point I was making the other day - that we should really be focusing on labor demand policies, not raising mandated wages.

    3. Yeah, we seem to disagree. I think you are overestimating the typical college graduate's understanding of Econ 101. My experience has been that people see the economic case against the minimum wage as an odd theory made up by people getting paid by the Koch brothers.

      We agree that the Marxist views of property rights is a small subset of the country.

      I wasn't trying to move the goalpost. Oppression is actually an Arnold Kling concept (Three Languages of Politics) about left framing of issues that seems pretty accurate. The Marxist view is a subset of the larger oppression view of things. Law and order is a frame of conventional right and anti-minority sentiment is a subgroup of that perspective. There may be a little bit of the marxism "lurking under the surface" influence just like there is some prejudice lurking under the surface of immigration reform on the right, but I see the major perspective as being more about "those rich people taking advantage of poor people" similarly to "those lawbreakers getting amnesty".

  3. I think the lack of second tier job creation goes back further than the demand slump and also before the ACA. I would be interested to know if there are fewer entrepreneurs (perhaps many are taking the corporate career path instead) or another possibility that entrepreneurs are focussing on creating businesses that require less labor.


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