The Minimum Wage vs. The Edict of Maximum Prices

Andrew Stephens, Monday the 9th of February, 2009

I This post was automatically imported from my old blog. It may look a little weird since it was not originally written for this format. see today that the minimum wage is going to rise from $12 to $12.50 this year. This is something I support, not only to keep up with inflation but also because it puts more money into the lowest section of the economy - always a good move in a recession.

The minimum youth wage is going away, also something I support if only to stop the half-baked student protests that used to break out occasionally. Instead there is now a "new entrant wage", which is almost the same thing but will mostly apply only to students in part-time work. 16 and 17 year-olds in full-time work will quickly step up to the full minimum wage. I can't imagine this will stop young workers getting exploited, but it is a step in the right direction.

But enough back-seat economics, here is how things were done in ancient Rome - with an edict. It's interesting to see how the relative value of things has changed - meat and clothing were many times the price they are now in proportion to the average hourly wage.

Nowdays, an Edict of Maximum Prices seems like a poor way to deal with economic woes. Luckily in this enlightened age nobody would try such a tactic.