In Praise of Low Wages

The boom of the freelancer economy, temp economy, and service sector is part of a growing trend where people are being paid for the value they truly create, instead of the inflated wages of the pre-2008 economy. This helps restore the equilibrium between labor and capital, which until recently was too skewed in favor of labor. Lower wages translates into lower prices and a higher standard of living. The growth of temp work has far exceeded total payrolls:

While this should be a cause for celebration, the first liberal rule of discourse is to get people emotionally worked up over something, and all logic goes out the window.

The CEO of McDonald’s makes $13.8 million per year up from $4.1 million. That’s a difference of $9.1 million. McDonald’s employs 400,000 workers at a median wage of $7.73 an hour. Although it’s not accurate let us assume they work 40 hours per week. If McDonald’s were to raise their employees pay to $15 an hour, the yearly cost of that raise would be over $6 billion. Although the real number they say closer to $4.5 billion. $9.1 million doesn’t make a big difference. $4.5 billion sure does, and this would be reflected in the price of all the menu items.

This comment below from lion’s blog is especially prescient and echos what we’ve written about earlier about how IQ and success closely linked, and how restricting STEM worker immigration is economically counterproductive.

The average prole doesn’t have the IQ to be a computer programmer, so it’s not easy at all. I scoured a message board of programmers and they all self-reported their IQs being 130 to 150s. Then many would simultaneously deny that IQ is meaningful, ha! 120 is probably the minimum just to qualify as a code monkey.

Lion is right about programming being a difficult profession. It’s a great lifestyle for someone independent and in the top 1% of intelligence, but anyone with an IQ below 130 will not survive. Some Indian will eventually be able to replace them with an internet connection from the other side of the world. Programming is a cutthroat meritocracy. Become a doctor.

There’s a reason why silicon valley is desperate for foreign Jews, Indians and east Asians. You and I have as good a chance of playing wide receiver or point guard as proles have of meeting the nation’s demand for STEM workers.

In the smartist era not everyone can have a good paying, self-actualizing job. Lower income workers should feel good knowing they are helping the economy by not getting paid too much.