This note is to an angry young man who describes Bernie Sanders as his and his girlfriend’s “hero” and as “the only candidate following humane economics.” Sigh.
Mr. Claudio Morello
Thanks for your e-mail.
You find my arguments against a $15 per hour minimum wage to be “totally uncompelling” because “labor is not a commodity like bread and electronics.” In your view, “labor should not be subject to the bloodless laws of economics.”
I get this sort of comment all the time about it being wrong, even inhuman, to treat labor as a commodity subject to the laws of supply and demand. I generally have two responses:
- For the guy who was just pushed out of a 10th story window, I am sure a more "humane" law of gravity would see him wafted gently to earth -- but all his wishing for such an alternate reality is not going to have it happen.
- Forgetting public policy for a moment, to the extent that you (the commenter) relies on other people hiring you to stay alive in this world, I can think of few things that would improve your well-being more than attempting to develop a basic understanding of why your labor might have more or less value to someone else. Refusing to do so, or even refusing to acknowledge that your labor has some sort of economic value at all, would be like trying to launch rockets to mars while refusing to acknowledge the rules of celestial mechanics. . Refusing to even think about why labor (and skills) might or might not have value in different situations seems to be a recipe for pretty low earnings over time.