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Other Theoretical Frameworks

In: Restoring the Middle Class through Wage Policy

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  • Oren M. Levin-Waldman

    (Metropolitan College of New York)

Abstract

There are other ways to think of the minimum wage. One approach is to ask whether the minimum wage could lead to greater productivity as an efficiency wage. Another approach is to ask whether the minimum wage constitutes a serious civil rights issue because to pay workers low wages may be tantamount to stealing. On a more philosophical level, is there not a conservative argument to make in favor of the minimum wage because better-paid workers would enable them to be more autonomous. These more philosophical concerns when added to the efficiency argument raise the question of whether a minimum wage perhaps paves the way toward government ultimately serving as employer of last resort, whereby the wage paid at job sites would become the effective minimum wage. And yet, the minimum wage may well be a step toward the concept of a universal basic income (UBI), which would not only replace the minimum wage but redefine the very nature of work. As problematic as these approaches may be politically, a minimum wage does force us to grapple with the implications of a minimum wage broader than commonly supposed. Ironically, the idea of the minimum wage as a middle-class issue may represent a middle of the road, and perhaps be the most feasible politically.

Suggested Citation

  • Oren M. Levin-Waldman, 2018. "Other Theoretical Frameworks," Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, in: Restoring the Middle Class through Wage Policy, chapter 0, pages 161-195, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:bifchp:978-3-319-74448-3_6
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-74448-3_6
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