Minimum Wage Referendum Gets Buried in ‘Nays’

Some of our faith in humanity has been restored over the weekend,  as the Swiss referendum on whether to institute the world’s highest minimum wage has been soundly defeated. The socialists and unions have been rebuffed, loud and clear, in  a veritable landslide.

According to the Telegraph:

 

“A move to set the world’s highest minimum wage has been overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum of Swiss voters. The call for an hourly minimum of 22 Swiss Francs (£14.66) was vetoed by 76 per cent of those who took part in the poll.

Trade unions had backed the move for the minimum wage as had the country’s Socialist and Green parties. But employers and the Swiss Government said it would have made the country uncompetitive and led to an increase in unemployment.

Had the move been backed in the referendum, Swiss workers would have enjoyed a minimum wage more than double the £6.31 in Britain and more than three times the $7.25 in the USA.

Trade union campaigners said the high minimum wage would have helped lower paid workerscope with the high cost of living in Switzerland. However, Johann Schneider-Ammann, the country’s economics minister, welcomed the result, saying the alternative would have meant job losses. “Work is the best antidote to poverty,” he said.

Meanwhile the Swiss employers organisation said that it was not seeking to defend low pay, but that wages should be “realistic and flexible”.
 This was the third time that Swiss voters had rejected moves to set a minimum wage in the country.”

 

(emphasis added)

As the last sentence shows, they keep trying. However, a 76% ‘no’ vote probably guarantees that some time will pass before they do so again.

By the way, it has been widely reported that the Swiss backed an unfortunate decision to set a ‘maximum wage’ for so-called ‘fat cats’ (as to why this idea is not defensible either, see here), but this is actually a misrepresentation. What the Swiss actually backed was this:

 

“Claude Longchamp of pollsters Gfs.Bern told Swiss state television early returns in a referendum showed 68 percent backed allowing shareholders to veto executive pay proposals and a ban on big rewards for new and departing managers.”

 

(emphasis added)

In other words, the Swiss voted in favor of strengthening the rights of shareholders, specifically their right to have a say on executive compensation. In other words, it was a decision in favor of strengthening property rights.

Here is what they subsequently rejected (this was barely reported in the media, strangely enough):

 

“Switzerland has rejected a proposal to limit the salary of CEO’s to 12 times that of their lowest-paid employees, following a massive campaign by big business who spent millions in advertising against the measure.

The measure was opposed by 65 percent of voters, the government of Bern said Sunday, claiming a voter turnout of 53 percent, the highest in the last three years. The proposal was rejected by a margin of around two to one. 

“It’s a big relief,” Valentin Vogt, president of the Swiss Employers’ Association, said in an interview on Swiss national television SRF. “It’s a signal that it’s not up to the state to have a say in pay.”

 The referendum on the so called “1:12” initiative came after Swiss voters approved the so-called fat-cat initiative in March that allocates the shareholders a binding vote on top managers’ salary and blocked extra compensation such as the severance pay. 

[…]

“Today we’ve lost,” Young Socialist party leader David Roth told SRF. “But we’ll continue to fight long term.” 

 

(emphasis added)

Because the Swiss so steadfastly reject the crazy ideas of socialists who want to use the State to coerce people into acting in a manner only the socialists approve of, the place actually looks like this:

 

zurichZürich

(Photo credit: Juan Rubiano)

 

And not like this…

 

Apartment_Buildings_in_Tbilisi_(A)

Soviet era apartment blocs in Tbilisi

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons / Author unknown)

 

…or this:

 

Communist_Romania_appartment_blocks

Soviet era buildings in Bucharest – the blessings of socialism in the form of crumbling concrete.

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons / Author unknown)

 

Res ipsa loquitur, as they say … and after asking aloud whether the Swiss had gone crazy, we are hereby expressing our relief that we are able to certify their continued sanity.

 

 

 

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26 Responses to “The Swiss Remain Sane”

  • woodsbp:

    RedQueenRace: Thanks for your comments and thoughtful questions.

    Unfortunately, I do not know who you are, nor what you are, so my replies to you will be brief – and most like somewhat inadequate. I hope this is OK.

    “Think carefully upon this.” is a common philosophical admonition. That’s all. Apologies if anyone thought otherwise.

    Your # 8. Agreed.

    Thanks for the update on PT’s economic philosophy. Not a fan of. Put me in the team with: von Schmoller, Veblen, Samuelson (the 1948 version), Galbraith pere, Frederick Soddy, Georgescu-Roegen, sort of folk. If I want a good laugh I’ll read Mises, Hayek and Friedman Do folk actually take these guys (no gals?) for real? Appears they do. That Free Market theory is a hopeless intellectual jumble. If I need a genuine reality check: Albert Bartlett.

    A Living Income: a virtual, philosophical concept. “The monetary income required by a single individual to purchase their necessaries and some comforts.” Incorporating this definition as a characteristic of your thinking in no way implies any specific or particular means to putting it into effect.

    This is a discretionary activity (but Hans and rodney might find it useful also): Google, ‘Metabolic Charts’, let me know if you regard the charts as ‘complex issues’. I know that they are.

    There are numerous Constitutional and legislative protections for real and virtual, fixed and movable personal property assets. Extend to include ‘Labour’ in its generic, not particular sense, as a personal private property asset. Might find that a great many of those ‘labour laws’ you refer to, become redundant. I submit that its worth a trial on a “Suck-it and see.” basis. If it fails, then so be it: repeal the legislation. What’s to lose?

    No one, whenever, wherever, however has a ‘right’ to a waged-labour position. Its a societal concession – given I presume, because it has some proven, positive effect.

    Again, thanks for the comments and questions. Apologies if my replies are somewhat terse and inadequate. You can always come back. Pater must be pleased to have so much commentary traffic on his website. At least I hope so.

    @ No6: Insightful and useful critique on my writing style. Thanks, again.

    Cheers, Brian.

    • RedQueenRace:

      ” If I want a good laugh I’ll read Mises, Hayek and Friedman Do folk actually take these guys (no gals?) for real? Appears they do.”

      Hmm. After criticizing other comments as juvenile you write this? You are using dismissal tactics, which provide no support for anything. Not only are these dismissal tactics, they are phrased in a belittling manner, something to which you have objected here. That is hypocrisy.

      “That Free Market theory is a hopeless intellectual jumble.”

      No one will take you seriously unless you put up an argument for why this is so and defend it. Again, just a simple dismissal. Nothing backing it up.

      “There are numerous Constitutional and legislative protections for real and virtual, fixed and movable personal property assets. Extend to include ‘Labour’ in its generic, not particular sense, as a personal private property asset. Might find that a great many of those ‘labour laws’ you refer to, become redundant.”

      Again, the specifics are dodged so I have no idea what you are thinking. Which personal property asset protections need to be extended to cover labor as well? Provide a couple of examples.

      “A Living Income: a virtual, philosophical concept. “The monetary income required by a single individual to purchase their necessaries and some comforts.”

      From what I have read so far, it appears to pretty much be along the lines of what I thought it would turn out to be. So, how do we define “necessaries” and “comforts?” They will vary from individual to individual. An individual’s state of health can have an enormous impact on the “necessaries” portion of their monetary income needs. If the individual cannot acquire sufficient income from where does it come?

      I strongly suspect this all comes from a school of thought that implicitly or explicitly erroneously equates money and wealth, as well as believing that economies are driven by spending. From what has been presented I see this going along the lines of debt jubilees, MMT and other “something for nothing” proposals. I may be mistaken on this, but that is at least partly a function of having little to work with and having to fill in a lot of blanks.

      • RedQueenRace:

        Oh, and since you wrote: “Thanks for the update on PT’s economic philosophy,” does this mean you were unaware of it?

      • woodsbp:

        Thanks again for your comments. Lot to consider. I assumed PT’s original commentary on the Swiss referendum and those 3 images was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but with some seriousness also.
        Unfortunately, his later response seemed to indicate that he may have a more ideological set of beliefs than what I first imagined. I was taken aback by the latter commentary.

        I’m serious about those authors. Having read them, I am not empathetic to their ideas and beliefs. Not my glass of tea. Its when you compare/contrast them with other authors that their ideas seem quite far-fetched – in respect of human behaviours. But then they were writing in a particular time, and in a completely different social, political and economic embedding. Context is crucial to developing some understanding – if you can.

        However, incorporating someone else’s ideas and beliefs, so that they are now characteristic of your own thinking, hence your behaviour, is an entirely different matter. I believe both Smith and Keynes were useful – for their times, and in the context of a specific set of Political Economy circumstances. But not now. Which means, one has psychologically re-orientate. Very difficult.

        “No one will take you seriously unless you put up an argument for why this is so and defend it. Again, just a simple dismissal.” Agreed.

        I’m not wholly convinced that I want (or need) to be considered ‘serious’. Its ‘warm’ – in principle, but carries quite a sizable psychological ‘price tag’. However, if I were composing a 10,000 word essay, I would indeed need to adduce plausible arguments.

        Your penultimate para is significant. Those are insightful and searching questions. Its too easy to get completely bogged down in argumentative discussions about the details. That’s the job of our politicians – and they are welcome to it. I’m not trying to dodge any of the issues. I just find them both complex and confusing.

        Your final para is embarrassing. Do I merely have a 25 watt illumination? You may be correct. I’ll have to withdraw and reflect on that. Constructive critique should not be wasted. Perhaps we may get a future opportunity to go over some of your comments and queries. Lots to mull over. Thank you.

        Brian.

  • jimmyjames:

    Rodney gets it right ..

    The referendum coming up for the Swiss to vote on a 20% gold weighting to underpin the chf will be interesting .. of course the politicians/bankers are dead set against it .. but the people it seems are a lot more savvy in Switzerland than in most parts of the western world .. as to what gold actually is ..

  • rodney:

    The call for an hourly minimum of 22 Swiss Francs (£14.66) was vetoed by 76 per cent of those who took part in the poll.

    The poll was 100% about the minimum wage and it was thoroughly rejected.

    Labour is not property, but a service sold in the marketplace, and it gets its fair market value when governments stop intervening or favouring fat cats. If the entrepreneur pays too little, his workers will depart to the competitors.

    The other point lost on some poor misguided souls is that the nominal wage is Not the real problem, but the huge inflation in the price of basic necessities.

    Well done with the three images Pater, they exemplify the failure of socialism very clearly.

    • woodsbp:

      “Labour is not property, but a service sold in the marketplace …”

      Wrong! You may indeed believe its a ‘service’. However, my ‘labour’ belongs to me – just as much as my life is my private property, which I am at liberty to defend if I were threatened with violence. I may ‘choose’ to provide my private property, to engage in a service (waged-labour) because the economic paradigm of the state I reside in necessitates that I need an income if I am to be a ‘useful’ member of that society. My private property is NOT an economic service nor an economic commodity to be bartered, trucked or sold. Think carefully on this.

      “… and it gets its fair market value when governments stop intervening or favouring fat cats.”

      What IS the function of government? Why do we even need a government? Think carefully on this.

      “If the entrepreneur pays too little, his workers will depart to the competitors.” Will they? That statement is as long as a piece of string of indeterminate length.

      Brian.

      • Hans:

        Wood, is it possible to buyout your private property?

        • woodsbp:

          Hans, Useful question. No. Its inalienable. You may rent it. Same as one may rent a property or land or a piece of equipment. The legal ownership of the property, and the responsibility of the owner to ‘maintain’ the property in ‘good working order’, remains with the owner.

          The lessor and lessee will – I hope, agree mutually acceptable contract terms. Laws are available for either party to seek redress in the event of a significant dispute. Of course many individuals actually do not ‘rent’ themselves out to others, but engage in some form of waged-labour for their own monetary benefit. Some may even labour for themselves for no monetary benefit at all.

          You replied to #6 as follows; “Its quite a complex issue.” This is not a facetious nor dismissive comment: its factually correct. There are several different issues – moral, philosophical, sociological and economic. They may be deeply entwined, and you need to carefully pick them apart to see how they ‘fit’ together. One size does not fit all, nor simple linear comments suffice.

          Brian.

          Brian.

          • Hans:

            Thanks for your reply, Brian.

          • RedQueenRace:

            Just read through this one more carefully.

            Wood, what rodney said was not wrong, imo. But I see why you object. You are thinking of “sell” as in “transfer ownership.” But that is not always the case.

            Selling a service does not transfer ownership of that service. What the “buyer” “owns” is the output of that service. For example, I was formerly a software developer. I “sold” my labor in the form of software development services to my employer (who also paid to enhance my capabilities in that regard). They did not own my ability to labor as a software developer, nor my enhance capabilities, but they did own what I produced. A plumber can sell me his services but what I “own” is the result of what he has done, not the service itself.

            Also, since labor cannot be “sold” while physical property can it would seem to me the same laws do not necessarily satisfactorily apply. But as I have stated before, you have left this at a too abstract level to date.

            • woodsbp:

              “What are you trying to do with me?” My poor old brain is already in a right tizzy. Maybe I should have stuck to reading the comic strips in my local newspaper, and enjoyed my morning coffee and croissant on the veranda, and watched a pair of robins feed their chicks (they built their nest in the middle of my outdoor workspace).

              I would reply, but your longer comment above leaves me with the very uncomfortable belief that I may be spouting a complete load of hogwash. Thanks, again.

              Brian.

    • woodsbp:

      rodney, those images are pathetic – if you consider that this site is meant to offer serious public commentary. Not the silly, juvenile stuff you would encounter on one of those social media sites. What was the name of that garment ‘sweatshop’ that collapsed, killing over 1000? Or that mine in Soma: 300 dead. They might make for inconvenient images of …………….. (fill in blank yourself).

      And, for what its worth Socialism has not failed (Communism sure), but not Socialism. Now remind me how many billions – or is that trillions of dollars, yen, pounds and euro of taxpayers money that have been given out to support a particular ‘industry’? That would NOT be Social Welfare? Naw, not a chance! “Go pull my other leg rodney, its go a bell on it!”.

      Brian.

    • Hans:

      Rodney, should we not call it maximum wage?

  • woodsbp:

    Peter, if I accused you of peddling nonsense, what would you reply? The following? Hardly!

    “Because the Taxpayers so steadfastly reject the crazy ideas of capitalists who want to use the State to coerce people into acting in a manner only the capitalists approve … …”

    The debate is NOT about a Minimum Wage Peter – as you well know, but about the principle of strengthening the property rights of individuals to their own labour. Individual persons being private, so also is their personal labour. Though that was obvious. Appears not.

    Your misuse of those three images is juvenile stuff.

    Brian

    • “….as you well know, but about the principle of strengthening the property rights of individuals to their own labour. Individual persons being private, so also is their personal labour. Though that was obvious.”

      That is not at all ‘obvious’. You have a very warped view of what constitutes property rights. Minimum wage laws are a coercive intrusion into people’s ability to freely and voluntarily enter into contracts of their choosing. Minimum wage laws are as anti-liberty as it gets. Rent seeking by socialists is in no way better than rent-seeking by business.

      Moreover, what about the many unskilled laborers that would become unemployable at the new minimum wage and lose their jobs? And this is leaving aside here for the moment that salaries in Switzerland are on average already higher than the proposed minimum wage (which means, those employed at wages below it are indeed unskilled workers who would be extremely vulnerable to such laws).
      And there are many more negative effects associated with minimum wages than just the forced unemployment of low-skilled workers. In fact, the negative effects can be traced in a great many directions, as Walter Block once described:

      “Thus, for example, a praxeologist deduces that, ceteris paribus, a legally mandated minimum-wage greater than the market clearing wage rate would result in reduced quantity demanded for labor in that market, with consequent less employment. He would also note that the ‘‘lucky’’ ones who were able to secure the remaining employment, if there were any such, would be employed at the higher, minimum-wage rate. He would determine that the employers who provide less employment at the minimum-wage rate than at free-market-wage rates are worse off, else they would have paid the minimum-wage rate without the intervention. Similarly, he would conclude that those workers who would have been employed at free-market-wage rates but are not employed at the minimum-wage rate are also worse off, else they would have been willing to work at the free-market rates. He would also infer that some of the workers employed at the minimum-wage rate, but employed for fewer hours than they would have been at free-market-wage rates, might also be worse off. Additionally, because of increased labor expenses, prices of the goods produced with this labor would increase.
      Fewer of these goods would be purchased. Those who were priced out of the markets for these goods would suffer. They would then necessarily, save in the case of literal hoarding (i.e., actually putting money in mattresses or burying it in a jar, or some such), spend their money on some other good(s).
      This would cause the prices of these other goods to increase, which would make the other buyers in those markets worse off. Moreover, the higher labor expense would cause employers to seek to substitute now relatively cheaper resources for labor. This would have an additional depressing effect on employment in the affected industries. Those who otherwise would have kept their jobs will not receive the non-remuneration benefits of employment; e.g., development of good work habits and various types of on-the-job training. The loss of such benefits would harm them, especially with respect to future employment opportunities and income. The effects could be traced further and in all directions.”

      As to my choice of pictures, it is highly relevant to showing the different long term outcomes of socialistic and capitalistic modes of production. So-called democratic socialism is indeed a bit better than communism insofar as it has discarded a number of Marxian tenets, such as demand that all means of production must be forcibly nationalized (which makes a rational economy impossible), but it retains enough of the authoritarian features of Marxism and what is, not to put too fine a point on it, execrably bad economics, that it must be denounced at every opportunity. The fact that ‘middle of the road’ socialism indeed holds sway in most modern-day regulatory democracies guarantees their eventual demise (the ‘argument from existence’ – ‘it exists, therefore it works’ – is misguided, as the economic collapse of the former Eastern Bloc has shown). There is in the end only the choice between free market capitalism or full-scale socialism. The ‘third way system’ exists, but the difference between it and full-scale socialism is mainly that it will take longer to consume the capital accumulated by our forebears.
      Switzerland and other countries/places (such as e.g. Hong Kong) that have largely refrained from putting socialistic ideas into practice are the richest places on the planet. This is no coincidence, and my use of these images serves mainly to drive the point home: namely that socialism fails and free market capitalism succeeds.

      • woodsbp:

        Pater, thanks for taking the time to reply.

        If I commented that you and I may have diametrically opposed views on a few things – that would be correct. I am not attempting to convince you, or any other person that my views, beliefs, opinions or ideas are valid. And no one should try that out on me either.

        I am NOT commenting on min wages. I an referring to an entirely different concept, that of a Living Income. So, I have no comment to make on the economic situation in Switzerland, or any other place. It is what it is.

        Capitalism, Socialism or any other sort of ___ ism is a set of beliefs and practices which are embedded in a physical, economic paradigm – Permagrowth. And strange as it my seem, the ends sought by the two aforementioned ___ isms, are identical. And neither will be, nor can be ‘successful’. Its the means to those ends which are somewhat different. And therein lies controversy and dispute: the values we attach to the beliefs which compose our individual mindsets. Ideology, might be a useful term here.

        Pater, your choice of images is, in my opinion, inappropriate. But I read what you write. And as I said, how about some images of Capitalism Rampant. I think they might be quite disturbing to some souls.

        I come here to this site because you do seem to have a good grasp of things. But in this particular case, your usual satisfactory standard has slipped. Such as this:-

        “You have a very warped view of what constitutes property rights.”

        You sure about this? My home? My farm? My income? My savings? The interest earned on my savings? My college qualifications? My professional experiences? What I am adamant about is that my person – and any manual or intellectual labour I might wish to engage in (whether pro bono or waged) is my private property – my labour is not an economic commodity nor an economic service. Without a sentient being to drive and direct the labour, … Eh! Oh yeah, we have these robot thingies. Please think carefully on this. Its quite a complex issue. Thanks.

        Brian

        • No6:

          Brian

          It would help me understand your ideas if your writing style was less circumstantial and more goal directed. At present I simply don,’t understand what your view point is.

          • Hans:

            #6, here is your and my answer – “Its quite a complex issue.”

            • rodney:

              Pinky: “How confused can people get when they can’t think clearly?”

              Brain: “Come on Pinky, don’t you see, it’s quite a complex issue”

              Good one Hans!

              • woodsbp:

                Seems I have p*ssed off a couple of ‘jokers’ on this site. I regard that as a somewhat positive development – even if their terse comments are quite juvenile. Better some attention, than none! Thanks lads – you are lads?

                And, rodney and Hans, for what its worth. Pater’s initial reply to me, and those three quite inappropriate images in his original offering, may indicate that he may have a Free Market ideological bee buzzing about in his head. If that is correct, and he can settle that question himself, it may ‘colour’ his thinking!

                Brian.

          • woodsbp:

            Thanks No6: I’ll endeavour on that. Its sort of a habit.

            Economic theory posits three factors of production, land, capital and labour (I’d actually add a fourth – energy). Economists develop complex mathematical expressions (Econometrics) to model the likely contributions of land, capital and labour to production.

            In order to use the maths expressions, economists have to ‘assume’ that each of these three factors is divisible into a quantifiable ‘unit’. Land, into square meters, capital into currency units, labour into individuals.

            Now, the first two of these factors are inert: the third is not. And this is where the difficulties start to arise. Economic research has shown time and time again, that you cannot model the economic behaviours of sentient humans, using the logical premises of economics (eg: so-called law of Supply and Demand). Humans are gregarious, highly social and plain damned quirky. They have extensive and quite varied moral and social frameworks. Lets just admit, that human individuals are so varied, that attempting to model them according to some semi-quantitative economic theories – is ludicrous.

            Unfortunately, this inconvenient fact is of no consequence whatsoever to neo-classical economists who posit the existence of a Free Market (or: The Efficient Market Hypothesis). And attempting to point out this inconvenience, is likely to fetch you some quite unpleasant criticism (see PT’s contribution above). Worse, your questioning of their theoretical underpinnings will only make them more entrenched in their beliefs. So, you leave-well-enough-alone.

            Returning to the three factors of production. There may be either Constitutional or legislative protection (or both) for private property (eg: land and capital). They are protected against arbitrary confiscation and theft. Furthermore, owners of property are legally enabled to alienate their private property – in an outright sale or by way of a lease agreement. Any monetary proceeds from a sale or rental income are automatically considered private property – hence some of the problems associated with the imposition of taxes!.

            However, labour is a very different matter indeed. There may be both Constitutional and legislative safeguards against the arbitrary arrest and detention, and assault, upon the person. But ‘labour’ – which is an intrinsic, inalienable and immutable attribute characteristic of individual, unique, indivisible, sentient human persons has no specific private property ‘rights’ and protections, similar for both land and capital. Why?

            Dead folk can’t labour. But robots can!

            Any help?

            Brian.

            • RedQueenRace:

              “Any help?”

              Nope. Not for me, anyway. Sorry.

              For example, you used the term “Living Income” in one of your posts but failed to define what it means to YOU.

              You wrote: “I am NOT commenting on min wages. I an referring to an entirely different concept, that of a Living Income.”

              The only way I can reconcile them as entirely different concepts is by assuming that you are saying if someone cannot earn an LI, the state will step in and provide it (at the expense of others). Otherwise I fail to see how wages can be completely severed from income. But with no definition of what LI is and what is needed to provide it people are left to guess at what you mean. As you wrote, “they have extensive and quite varied moral and social frameworks.” Add to that they don’t have the same thought processes either and playing “guess what this ‘concept’ means to this person” is not fun and usually leads to much wasted time establishing a common frame of reference. A search pulls up article links but I do not want just a link. There may be numerous variants and at any rate I want to know what YOUR interpretation of it is.

              “My private property is NOT an economic service nor an economic commodity to be bartered, trucked or sold. Think carefully on this.”

              I don’t know about “carefully,” but I did think about it a bit and I’m not sure what you mean. YOU do the bartering or “selling.” Or not. Are you saying you need laws against you doing that?

              Actually, I suspect this is going to boil down to how “limited” folks are in terms of providing their labor because they need a job as others aren’t going to simply hand over what they need to survive. But since I do not know I need you to clarify.

              “In order to use the maths expressions, economists have to ‘assume’ that each of these three factors is divisible into a quantifiable ‘unit’. Land, into square meters, capital into currency units, labour into individuals. ”

              The Austrian school, of which Pater is an adherent, is not a mathematical-model-intensive school and I can’t see them defining labor in units of individuals. That makes no sense. Labor, as is the case for capital, is not some homogenous blob from which the necessary amount can be plucked to do whatever needs to be done.

              “But ‘labour’ – which is an intrinsic, inalienable and immutable attribute characteristic of individual, unique, indivisible, sentient human persons has no specific private property ‘rights’ and protections, similar for both land and capital. Why?”

              One might ask what in the world all the labor laws in the US and Europe are for, but then once again you do not define what these “private property” rights are for labor. You’re talking in circles because no one can be sure what this stuff means to you. What is my “labor characteristic?” There are jobs I could perform and jobs I could not. These are not the same for all individuals. So you’re hinting at something more fundamental than that but don’t define what that is. What is the intrinsic labor characteristic that needs protecting, what protection is needed and why?

              “Dead folk can’t labour. But robots can!”

              This makes it sound like this intrinsic labor characteristic is a ** right ** to a job that provides a “Living Income,” whatever that means. But there’s no telling from your posts to date. There’s much hinting at an issue deepness and complexity with nothing more from you than “please think carefully about this.” That is a “talking down” tactic that implies superior enlightenment without actually having to say much of anything.

      • I think this debate is who works for an amount at or below the minimum wage? The implication is that it is widespread among 40 year olds with kids in school, when in fact it is mostly entry level jobs or in places where the cost of living would allow it. If we got the government out of a lot of industries that touch us all, there would be a lot of things affordable, with a little charity from those that can help and want to.

        Today, what is the minimum wage other than a number. It is only a matter of time before the statists steal the purchasing power of the currency and what was decent becomes substandard. The real minimum wage is zero or the skills of many remain near zero because they don’t get work skills. Half the 16 year old kids aren’t worth 10 cents, much less $7 an hour, until they realize they aren’t worth the money. Then they work on what they need to do to keep a job. Kids priced out of the market become adults with little in the way of job skills. College doesn’t prepare people to go to work. Neither does high school, grade school or any school. At best it tells the person they need to show up at a certain time.

        Another thing about low wages. The person drawing them learns how to manage his money. We hear about massive savings rates in places like China. I doubt it is true for the masses, as there just isn’t that much left out of a $5000 annual income in a modern society. There isn’t a lot free in China, from what I read.

      • timlucas:

        Hello Pater.

        You wrote:

        “There is in the end only the choice between free market capitalism or full-scale socialism. The ‘third way system’ exists, but the difference between it and full-scale socialism is mainly that it will take longer to consume the capital accumulated by our forebears.”

        Is this right? Surely a small tax system which redistributes within strict limits would be workable? There is the consideration that it is highly probable that the state is needed with its monopoly on violence in order to enforce market-friendly laws. Unless one is an unfettered anarchocapitalist – which I don’t believe you are – then I think that this statement takes it too far….

        P.S. I quite like the colour of the Bucharest flats and I’m sure that they’d look better if they were captured at sunset, set back from a lovely river…….! I also like the way the state-planned centre of Paris looks….

        Best wishes,
        Tim Lucas

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