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The Racist Origin of the Minimum Wage — Deirdre McCloskey

This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Christopher chomchom 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

  • #9676
    Learn Liberty

    Minimum wage laws were invented to protect the “Anglo-Saxon” race from competition. Prof. Deirdre McCloskey explains the authoritarian roots of Progressivism.

    See Original Video Post

  • #9924

    I remember learning this, but I’m not sure when or where. I am fairly sure it was not in school, though. This is one of those things that is a liberal view today that the seedy history is glossed over.

  • #10056
    Greg L

    While what Prof McCloskey is sounds probable I’m looking for the proof to back this up. If I do a Google search the top result is https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/minimum_wage

    The purpose of the minimum wage was to stabilize the post-depression economy and protect the workers in the labor force. The minimum wage was designed to create a minimum standard of living to protect the health and well-being of employees.

    Everything else from the front page resembles the same progressive terminology.

    It would be appreciated if someone provide links to sources which back up the statements made by Prof McCloskey.
    Bonus if you can find an article which is presented in a manor that can be read and comprehended by the mass public and is not such that it would immediately rejected by those in favor of the minimum wage as being biased (ie overtly libertarian, conservative, or anti-progressive).

  • #10282

    Here is the source for the Seager article that is shown in the video… I obtained a pdf of the article from my university’s library (took them a couple days to locate it) as I couldn’t locate a free copy online. It is a pretty good read if you are interested in this topic, although I wouldn’t say that it fully supports the claims made in the video (some quotes, yes; but in whole, not so much).
    Seager, H. R. (1913). The minimum wage as part of a program for social reform. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 48, 3-12.

    Here is the source to one of the quotes by Sidney Webb, an English economist and co-founder of the London School of Economics, which is shown briefly in the video:
    Webb, S. (1912). The economic theory of a legal minimum wage. The Journal of Political Economy, 20, 986.

    Additionally, a review by Royal Meeker, future Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics under Pres. Woodrow Wilson:
    Meeker, R. (1910). Review of cours d’economie politique. Political Science Quarterly, 25(3), 543-45.
    -A relevant quote from this article, “It is much better to enact a minimum-wage law, even if it deprives these unfortunates of work. Better that the state should support the inefficient wholly and prevent the multiplication of the breed than subsidize incompetence and unthrift, enabling them to bring forth after their kind.”
    -The whole article isn’t particularly relevant, but the above quote is, and being from a politically well-connected person of the time…

    There are a lot more sources available, but remember that the ones before the minimum wage were written in the early 1900s, so hoping that they be ‘presented in a manor that can be read and comprehended by the mass public’ may be a bit much to aim for…

    If you would like some modern sources that discuss some of the detrimental effects of minimum wages check out:
    Meer, J., & West, J. (2013). Effects of the minimum wage on employment dynamics. Retrieved from economics.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/files/events/Meer_West_Minimum_Wage.pdf
    Clemens, J., & Wither, M. (2014). The minimum wage and the great recession: evidence of effects on the employment and income trajectories of low-skilled workers. Retrieved from econweb.ucsd.edu/~mwither/pdfs/Effects of Min Wage on Wages
    Employment and Earnings.pdf
    The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Team (2016). Report on the impact of seattle’s minimum wage ordinance on wages, workers, jobs, and establishments through 2015. Seattle, WA: University of Washington.

    I used the above references in an assignment for school (hence the formatting) and copy/pasted them here, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to search for them based on the given info.

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