Notes Book

Minimum Wage

I support abolishing the minimum wage. It is a well known principle of economics that price controls don't work. Even Richard Nixon had to give up on price controls, and he was not one to give up easily. Price controls on people are the worst kind. Government is the poorest judge of the quality of people, and tends to give deeply flawed authoritarians control over functional and productive people.

Advocates of abolishing the minimum wage make a serious mistake in not broadening the discussion about the minimum wage to a general discussion of price controls on people. That may be because many of them are in professions that are supported by government price controls such as occupational licensing, or in the case of University Professors, direct government subsidy.

As one who gave up on the college and went for the knowledge, I have no such conflict of interest.

You will get much more traction with the liberal majority by talking about removing price supports from the wages of doctors and lawyers than you will by picking on fast food workers. It would also be good to emphasize the fact that occupational licensing is much more damaging to the economy than the minimum wage. Occupational licensing has an adverse effect on the quality of the people licensed, but provides revenue for the government and lots of opportunities for graft and corruption. Personally, I would rather deal with a sub-standard hamburger flipper than an incompetent doctor, or a corrupt lawyer.

It is all well and good to castigate fiat currency, but it is better to drive home the point that government supports fiat social status, which is much more damaging to the economy and the social fabric than trying to support the price of wheat. It's terrible to let the banks create money out of thin air, but it's just as terrible to let a physician write a fiat prescription so he can make more money. Having to pay a lawyer two hundred dollars an hour to write a letter to a corporation because the corporation won't answer letters from ordinary citizens is just as damaging as central banking, if not more. The rule of lawyers has not been kind to the citizens of the world.

A document should be judged on its content, and not by who wrote it.

Government is the ad hominem logical fallacy writ large, and with disastrous results.

If we let social status be set by the free association of individually sovereign entities, then we will get a good approximation of genuine worth. And if the worth changes, the status will also change. Government assigned social status is good for life, at least in theory, and to a great extent in practice.

If social status is set by who has the best connections to the individuals who run the government, the we have set up a criminal feedback loop that can only end in disaster.

Government propaganda tells us that the people are in charge. In the USA citizens have the chance to select between the lesser of two evils every few years, It's an election where the votes counts are very probably rigged, and the debates are blatantly rigged. If you think that puts you in charge, then you probably deserve what you get. But you are also part of a rapidly shrinking subset of the population.

Last month unemployment went down because about three quarters of a million people left the workforce. They didn't do that because they thought the system was fair.

Standing in front of a room of people and yelling at them is not a good communications strategy. A relaxed and rational conversation between a small group of people is because it doesn't cut off the feedback that allows people to really understand each other, and it's a lot more entertaining The town hall meeting where each individual has the chance to ask one or two questions is marginally better, but far from optimal.

If you have a large group of people who want to make a connection with some celebrity or celebrities, here's my suggestion for the optimal format. You need a room with a small number of comfortable stations equipped with microphones and an ample supply of water. The stations should all be as equal in comfort and location as possible. Of course you also need comfortable seating for the audience. Members of the audience who wish to speak write their names on a piece of paper an put them in a container. Someone makes some very short remarks to explain the format. The celebrities take possession of some of the stations with a microphones. Someone then draws names out of the container until all the microphone stations are filled.

Whoever wants to talk can for as long as they want. If they are rude, they will not convince the audience of anything except that they resemble an expletive. Once a person is in a seat they can stay as long as they want. If they outstay their welcome, they will make a great foil for the more polite and rational speakers. If all the speakers are rude, the audience will leave. When one speaker leaves, another one is selected at random from the volunteer speakers. Rude behavior will be punished effectively by being demonstrably unconvincing.

When the celebrities decide to leave, they can, but that doesn't have to mean the show is over. The meeting can continue as long as there is interest, and anyone can enter or leave the room at any time. The medium is the message and a libertarian format sends a strong libertarian message.

Calling the event a debate frames it as a contest. That is probably a mistake. The event needs to be named something that suggests it is a search for truth, not an ego contest between individuals. Starting a fight is not a good way to convince people of anything except that you are belligerent.

If someone is using faulty logic, you need to get the audience to question the unstated assumptions of the person espousing that view. That is best done by politely exposing the logical fallacies at the root of the problem. Don't communicate from a flawed frame of reference that is not logical and consistent.