The Racist Origin of the Minimum Wage — Deirdre McCloskey

Release Date
February 13, 2017


Economics Poverty & Inequality

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

    1. How to get your progressive friends to understand the minimum wage (blog post): Emily Skarbek suggests that explaining the historical context of the minimum wage will convince many of its proponents that it’s a bad policy. 
    2. Minimum Wage Is A Cruel Policy For Poor People – Learn Liberty (video): Don Boudreaux argues that the minimum wage hurts the very people that it’s intended to help. 
    3. Open Letter: Minimum Wage Laws Are Immoral (blog post): Howie Baetjer argues that the minimum wage isn’t just a bad policy, but immoral. 

Deirdre McClosky:
One of the things that my friends on the left think is just grand is the minimum wage. 100 years ago, the minimum wage came into being in the United States, state by state, and it’s declared purpose was to keep immigrants, women, Blacks, and Chicanos out of the labor force. To drive them out entirely. Newspaper editorials, economics profession, they all said, “Oh boy, this is good for the Anglo-Saxon race.
Dave Rubin:
Right. Basically because those people would be the ones qualified to … Those were good jobs to have.
Deirdre McClosky:
Those were good jobs, and you just take all those people out, and then the only people that are left are northern Europeans. It was a terrible, terrible thing.
Dave Rubin:
What did they think was going to happen to the other people?
Deirdre McClosky:
They literally said they’re going to die out. How women are going to die out, I don’t quite understand, but they … These were people in favor of immigration closing immigration, in favor of segregation. Woodrow Wilson famously would not have a great black scientist to the White House. So it went. Modern liberalism was conceived right from the beginning in this authoritarian way, and it’s still … Even though my friends, the liberals, liberals in the American sense, have this assumption that people who are not progressive are just bad people. Why would you listen to Hitler? They don’t listen to arguments that you or I make. They don’t get that what they’re actually about is authoritarian control over other peoples’ lives.