… is from page 65 of the manuscript of Deirdre McCloskey ‘s forthcoming volume, The Treasured Bourgeoisie: How Markets and Improvement Became Virtuous, 1600-1848, and Then Suspect:
Stopping people from taking terrible jobs – through prohibitions or protections or minimums, justified by the warm if mistaken feeling over one’s second cappuccino that one is thereby being generous to the poor – takes away from the poor what the poor themselves regard as a bettering option. It’s theft from the poor of deals the poor want to make.
Indeed so. Minimum-wage legislation and similar interventions rob the poorest people in society of options; these interventions steal from the poorest people in society the very opportunities to earn income and to gain work experience that these people need most. No amount of seminar-room theorizing about monopsony power – especially as such theorizing is done almost exclusively by tweedy and self-righteous academics who refuse to put their money where their mouths are on this matter – justifies this injustice.