(L120 & 125) The Broken Window Fallacy: Minimum Wage Requirements

Why wouldn’t someone voluntarily offer you a job at twice today’s minimum wage?

Story time! Let’s say that a small business opens up selling handmade jewelry and other goods in the middle of a New Hampshire town. Let’s also say that the current minimum wage in New Hampshire is $10.00 an hour. At this rate, the business owner can really only afford to hire 5 employees (in total). So the owner hires his employees, and business is alright; they are new in town, so large profit margins and excessive foot traffic are not to be expected.

After about 6 months of being open, business is rapidly growing. The owner is finally getting out of the red, and into the black! There is so much business in fact, that the owner needs to hire more workers just to keep up. He decides to add 2 more people to the team; it won’t quite cover all of his needs, but because of the high minimum wage, it is all that he can afford right now.

The night that he interviews for his two new employees, a woman comes in asking for nearly $20.00 an hour. Her skills are extensive, and she would be able to bring brand new products into the shop without any training whatsoever. Not only would she save him time, but she would make him money! He thinks back on his other employees; no prior knowledge or skills, no new ideas, nothing even nearly as valuable as this employee would be worth to him. If it were up to him, he would be paying his employees exactly what he deemed their skills to be worth; maybe that would mean $8.00 an hour for a cashier, $8.75 an hour for an opener and a closer, etc. However, since he was forced to overpay for their basic services due to government intervention, he cannot afford to hire this valuable and worthwhile prospective employee.

In short, he is in need of two more workers. He would be able to afford both the above average woman and another cashier/clerk if it was not for minimum wage requirements. With these requirements however, he must choose between superior product and a shortage of man power, or basic work and enough workers to scrape by. In the end, a shortage of workers is just not something that a business (owner) can afford, and so he must kiss this great opportunity goodbye. This issue could have been completely avoided had he and the employees been able to come to an agreement on a fair hourly wage without government intervention or mandate.

When an owner is forced to pay someone more than they’re worth, they lose out on opportunities to hire higher quality employees for a greater cost. This is the broken window fallacy; the seen and the unseen. While we do see that an average worker is being paid very well, we do not see that a better worker is being paid less than they deserve or not being hired at all (because of the average worker’s forced wage).

Advertisements

(L55) High Bid Wins or First Come, First Served?

In what area of your life would you prefer ‘first come, first served’ to ‘high bid wins’? Why?

Well, in my current situation first come first served is more convenient for me than high bid wins because, quite honestly, I am nearly broke and I have more time than money. Convenience however does not always equate to morality, and so I would have to say that I would always prefer high bid wins. My reason for this is that by deciding first come first serve should be the standard of the market, I am penalizing people who’s time is more valuable than their money.

A high bid wins standard throughout the market would be comparable to (something along the lines of) a six-flags line for a ride. There would be two lines alongside one another; one where time is less valuable so the wait is longer and the price is cheaper, and one line in which you can pay more for a shorter wait. This is a more fair, and  free market based system of serving customers because it favors both people who have more money, and people who have more time. Nobody is penalized or excluded.

Another example of this would be online shopping. Nobody waits in line to shop on the internet, they just pay and wait for their product to be shipped. At checkout however, there is an option to pay more in order to have the product shipped faster. The idea of high bid wins, otherwise known as priority shipping, is not condemned in society because it is private. However should this system be applied in public, people who have been trained their whole lives to wait in line become outraged, as they feel their have been cheated or treated unfairly by this high bid wins system of market freedom.

(L25) Government Funding & Income Inequality Debunked

1.) What are the arguments for and against government science funding?

The two main arguments for (and against) government science funding are this:
1. Claim: Because there is no profit in basic science, there is no chance it will ever be privately funded.
Response: In reality, 90% of new research stems from previously existing technology, and basic/academic science research only accounts for 10% of new discoveries and technologies. Also, when looking back in history, one would find that despite the fact that Britain had no government funding for science, and there was substantial government funding for scientific research in Germany and France, they both consistently lagged behind Britain.
2. Claim: Private firms cannot claim exclusive profits from scientific discoveries, and so they will not get involved in funding scientific research in the first place.
Response: Firms are known to trade laboratory space to scientists
for the up-keep on the latest knowledge in the scientific community. This is done by having scientists working in their lab space agree to attend conferences, saving everybody time and money by keeping scientists from having to spend all their time in libraries reading previous studies rather than doing their own (in the labs). Basic/academic science has been funded by foundations, private university endowments and private industry in the past, not to mention being extremely more generous than government funding has even been.
On another note, government funding has been 
the well known cause of the politicization of scientific research in may cases; it also stifles opposing claims and approaches, causing a clog in the free-flowing wealth of information and communication between scientists that is so crucial to the discoveries we have already, and are yet to discover. 

2.) Is “income inequality” a problem, in your opinion? Why or why not?

Income inequality is not a problem in my opinion, because the real issue affecting income is economic freedom. This is proven by looking at the fact that no matter what country you live in, the bottom 10% of earners will earn 2.6% of the country’s total income. (As of 2011) in less free countries, 2.6% of the countries total income was equal to about $932; however, in more economically free countries 2.6% was equal to an average of about $10,556! According to these statistics, people residing in “unequal” countries are earning more, because these countries are the ones that are the most economically free.