The intentions of those that preach the minimum wage are noble. Who isn’t interested in helping those folks who are the poorest among us? What person that we would care to associate with could not help but have feelings of sympathy for people who struggle to make enough money to eat, to cloth themselves or pay rent?
No one. Not one single person I know would brush those feelings away.
However, with that said, the singing of the platitudes of the minimum wage has to end when the effectiveness of those laws are considered.
And the result? The verdict?
The truth is this:
Labor –NOT the laborer– but labor is a commodity as surely as copper, land or oil is. And when a commodity is priced above it’s productive use, people will stop buying it.
For example, if I have job that needs to be done and the machine that will complete that job costs $15 an hour to run, no one will run that machine if he can only get $10 an hour of productivity. In fact, productivity of MORE than $15 an hour is not enough to guarantee the machine will run. For example, I could elect to keep my $15 an hour an put it in a bank account safe from loss and earning interest.
But the point remains. When the cost of “gitten’ it done” is more than the gitten’ is worth, the labor is idled.
And even the labor understand this:
NEWCASTLE, South Africa — The sheriff arrived at the factory here to shut it down, part of a national enforcement drive against clothing manufacturers who violate the minimum wage. But women working on the factory floor — the supposed beneficiaries of the crackdown — clambered atop cutting tables and ironing boards to raise anguished cries against it.
“Why? Why?” shouted Nokuthula Masango, 25, after the authorities carted away bolts of gaily colored fabric.
She made just $36 a week, $21 less than the minimum wage, but needed the meager pay to help support a large extended family that includes her five unemployed siblings and their children.
Miss Masango gets it. She understands the value of her labor. She knows that she is unable to trade her time and skills for $57 a week. She can only get $36. And she is WILLING!
The people protecting her are putting her out of work. They are making her life worse.
The women’s spontaneous protest is just one sign of how acute South Africa’s long-running unemployment crisis has become. With their own industry in ruinous decline, the victim of low-wage competition from China, and too few unskilled jobs being created in South Africa, the women feared being out of work more than getting stuck in poorly paid jobs.
Wanna know why “too few low skilled jobs are being created in South Africa”?
They are over priced.