Automation and the Minimum Wage

Admittedly, libertarianism depends largely on idealism.  But the idealism we have lies in our honest solutions to actual reality; whereas the left tweaks, twists, alters, or outright invents realities to accommodate their own solutions.  Simply, all extreme ideologies are necessarily idealistic; but one fits their solutions to reality, and the other fits reality to their solution.

The problem is obvious – people aren’t getting paid enough to survive.

There are two possible solutions, but only one of which will have the desired effect of improving the welfare of American workers, particularly minimum wage workers.  Raise the wage, keep it the same, or eliminate the concept altogether.

Raising the wage depends on a reality in which employers would be willing to pay more for labor, without also cutting available jobs and/or raising prices.  Furthermore, there is an added problem: replacing man with machine.

McDonald’s stocks had a very good day when it was announced that electronic ordering kiosks would soon be a feature in some stores.  If the cost of labor is already so much that companies are considering making these sorts of investments, what will happen when we raise these costs further?

It’s a little hard to imagine, but visit a new walmart grocery shop – most of the points of sale are automated.  Ten years ago that was indeed hard to imagine: back then, they were impractical and annoying.  Now they’re easier, and presumably cheaper.  We might have a hard time holding on to these jobs altogether, regardless of the rate.

A sad reality for people of my age group, especially: our choices of employment are very limited.  Raising the minimum wage will restrict our options further.  

Raising the minimum wage has no positive outcomes in the long or short term.  In the short term, it raises prices on goods and results in less hours available to workers.  In the long term, it means restricting employment options via less available jobs and replacement of human labor by technology.

 

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