Friday, January 07, 2011

Wise Words on Minimum Wage, Jim Buchanan edition

While the ignorant and those with their own hidden agenda are out celebrating the imminent introduction of minimum wage in Hong Kong starting this May, I dig out this reader's opinion by my former teacher Jim Buchanan to share with you to celerbrate (?!) the occasion:


"The inverse relationship between quantity demanded and price is the core proposition in economic science, which embodies the presupposition that human choice behavior is sufficiently rational to allow predictions to be made. Just as no physicist would claim that "water runs uphill," no self-respecting economist would claim that increases in the minimum wage increase employment. Such a claim, if seriously advanced, becomes equivalent to a denial that there is even minimal scientific content in economics, and that, in consequence, economists can do nothing but write as advocates for ideological interests. Fortunately, only a handful of economists are willing to throw over the teaching of two centuries; we have not yet become a bevy of camp-following whores."

James Buchanan Wall Street Journal 1996

Here is a story on HK's minimum wage:

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international-business/Hong-Kong-OKs-minimum-wage-law/articleshow/6180516.cms

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