Six months have passed since I first shared here at the Cafe the generous offer of experienced and proven businessman Mike Long to give free business advice to anyone who, asserting that monopsony power is rampant in the American market for low-skilled labor, is willing to put his or her money where his or her mouth by starting a business to exploit this alleged profit opportunity . Amazingly, people who are so confident in the existence of monopsony power that they are willing to risk the livelihoods of low-skilled workers by endorsing a minimum wage (which would, in the absence of monopsony power, propel many such workers into the unemployment ranks) are insufficiently confident in their assertions to put their own money and their own efforts behind their assertions.
In fact, of course, I’m not at all amazed. (I would have been amazed had someone actually taken Mike up on his offer.) I knew in my marrow that no such acceptances of Mike’s offer were on the horizon. The reason is that I know academic types: they think so highly of their powers of ratiocination and of their data-processing prowess that they feel anointed to use their theories as guides for what is so antiseptically called “public policy” but what are, in fact, officious intrusions into the peaceful affairs and choices of others. Yet despite academics’ (and politicians’ and pundits’) expressed cocksure certainty of the goodness of their plans to order others about, they really are mostly just reckless theorizers. Were they truly and prudently serious about their assertions of reality, at least some of them would – on those many occasions when such assertions imply seizable profit opportunities – actually act to seize such profit opportunities. But, as indicated by their refusal to launch businesses to hire all the underpaid workers who allegedly are abundant throughout the land, no such actions occur.
These professors (and pundits and politicians) talk cheaply. They – cowards that they are – put at risk only the money and livelihoods of others. Such arrogance-encrusted cravenness is appalling.
No one should be taken seriously whose stated rationale for government intervention implies the existence of seizable profit opportunities that, once seized, make the alleged problem shrink or disappear. Only sneers, ridicule, and discredit should greet those – such as economists who assert the existence of monopsony power to justify minimum-wage legislation – who do nothing but advocate coercive intervention whenever the problem to be rectified by the proposed intervention is one that could be, and would be, instead rectified by the peaceful and voluntary actions in the market of those who propose the intervention.
Mike Long’s offer, by the way, remains open. (For details, click on the link above.) If you wish to take Mike up on the offer, contact me. After I recover from my shock, I’ll be delighted to put you in touch with him.
I can’t help but share here again the final line of Thomas Sowell’s Knowledge and Decisions  (1980):
Freedom is not simply the right of intellectuals to circulate their merchandise. It is, above all, the right of ordinary people to find elbow room for themselves and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of their “betters.”