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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cheap labor

You know how economists are always reminding us there ain't no such thing as a free lunch? I think there's a corollary: there ain't no such thing as "cheap" labor.

Cheap labor and cheap quality, via iSteve.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on reparations for African-Americans, via NPR.

Can anybody tell me how we come out ahead importing cheaper workers with darker skin to do work we can't be bothered to figure out how to automate or how to increase output with the extant labor force? Don't we just end up paying for the increased public goods, conflict management, welfare, etc.?

By the way, this doesn't translate into an argument for a fifteen-dollars-per-hour minimum wage. At that wage rate, fast food workers will be humanities majors overseeing a bank of robotic hamburger assemblers. And the current workers in those name-tag jobs will be unemployed.

Another topic where, alas, I repeat myself.

2 comments:

Socially Extinct said...

Reducing headcounts in the corporasphere is a tangible cost-cutting move that rings resoundingly utilitarian to the shareholders (a good thing, of course). They feel they're getting the best bang for their buck. All this nonsense about 2nd-, 3rd-, 4th-removed hidden costs down the line don't concern myopic greed.

lannes said...

Reparations to descendants of American slaves has already been paid -- in blood, not money. The
blood of thousands of white Civil
War soldiers who died to free them.