Monday, April 03, 2006

Monday 3rd April

As one might expect from where it is, Tim's column at Tech Central Station isn't very good. Essentially he wants to explain why economists are 'right-wing' or 'classically liberal'. His conclusion, "Economists are right-wing because, on economics, the Right is right".


Why? Because:

In other words, if you study a science then it can't really be all that much of a surprise that you learn something of that science. And if economics is indeed a science then there are such things as correct answers, ones that will be recognized by all practitioners of that very same science.

So what is the best example of a 'correct answer' that this 'science' gives us? The minimum wage, which apparently economists don't believe in, and liberals do. Tim notes:

the essential point being that rises in the minimum wage almost certainly have a detrimental effect on the incomes of those who receive them, for if you raise the price of something then people will buy less of it.


Minimum wages. Bit of a let-down, eh? For a start there are loads of economists, particularly outside the US, who do support minimum wages. Second, this idea of if you raise the price of something then people will buy less of it is sounds much like those famed "Laws of Supply And Demand", which get more press coverage than the Laws of Gravity, though no-one seems to know what they actually are. It would be equally as obviousin this example to assert that if you raise the salary of someone you'll get a better quality worker. It's not trite to note that workers aren't pieces of coal, and their pay is not irrelevant to thir work. Indeed if raising the price of something means people buy less of it, and in the case of labour this means that 'it almost certainly has a detrimental effect on the incomes of those who receive it', then it's been a pretty desperate last 20 years for CEOs in the United States. Which obviously it hasn't.

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