25 September 2015

Minimum wage, maximum interference

A legally imposed minimum wage is a violation of the principle that individuals should be able to contract with one another in whatever way they choose.

As with other welfare legislation, once a principle has been violated, even if only in an apparently minor way, the initial violation facilitates further advances in the same direction, and is likely to lead to such advances.

Once the principle against a minimum wage was broken in the UK (in 1999) it became relatively uncontroversial to increase the level. Initially the minimum wage was £3.60 per hour; currently it is £6.50, and is about to rise to £6.70. Adjusting for inflation, it has increased by about 30 percent.

The minimum wage concept is now being used for a different purpose than the one for which it was intended. The government is proposing to increase the rate to £7.20 in 2016, rising to at least £9 by 2020, as a way of reducing dependence on state benefits. The objective of decreasing state expenditure may seem laudable, but doing so by further damaging people’s ability to contract on terms that suit them is morally and economically questionable. It is likely to mean the destruction of certain areas of activity.

For example, some home care organisations are saying that it will make the provision of home visits impossible, because visitors will have to be paid rates* that are unviable.

I appeal for financial and moral support in improving my position.
I need people to provide moral support both for fund-raising, and as temporary or possibly long-term workers. Those interested should read my post on interns.

* See for example ‘Living Wage could harm home care sector’, BBC News, 27 July 2015.