Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Minimum Wage and The Balance of Power -- Labor Market Musing

Minimum wage laws are a Band-Aid. They are harmful because they amount to price-fixing. They are necessary because the balance of power in the labor market disfavors laborers.

Since I am passionate against price-fixing and passionate against systemic imbalances of power, I am passionate about brainstorming labor market reforms that dissolve demands for minimum wage laws by shifting the balance of power toward laborers. So this is a brainstorming post about labor market reforms that may replace minimum wage laws.


When I say laborers in this post, I generally am referring to workers who are subject to current minimum wage and overtime laws. That currently includes all workers who are earning less than the 25th percentile wage in the lowest region of the United States. It also includes workers who are doing other than administrative, executive, and professional work who are earning up to the 90th percentile.


Prohibit monopolizing the life of a laborer.

Enshrine in law a laborer's right to limit their hours.

Enshrine in law a laborer's right to have multiple employers.

Make invalid any contract to work as a laborer more than 1000 hours per year?

Require employers to allow at least three days unpaid leave per week?

Add to the Constitution the right to daily, weekly, monthly, and annual unpaid leave.


Enshrine a laborer's right to work simultaneously for competitor employers.

Personal boundaries

Prohibit benefits and enticements that improperly bind laborers to employers in a paternalistic relationship that is reminiscent of slavery.

Prohibit paid leave.

Prohibit benefits that suggest employer paternalism over a laborer's life such as life insurance, health insurance, accident insurance or anything else that applies to the laborer's life outside of work.

Prohibit or limit any compensation or benefits that bind labors to employers such as gift cards at the company store, time at the company resort, except as such benefits increase fraternization between labors and executives or the employee's outside marketability.

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