Labor in the Letters


I wish to comment upon a January 13, 2007 letter to the editor in The Washington Post.  It reads as follows:

“Three Jan 8. letters commented on the economic views of George F. Will’s Jan 4 column, “The Right Minimum Wage.”  None cited his comments that reveals his lack of respect for workers. He said, “labor is a commodity.”

Labor is done by human beings.  Regarding labor as a commodity was supposed to have ended with the Emancipation Proclamation.”

 This letter is evidence of media bias, although given its quality and substance I am unsure of the direction of the bias.

 George Will is not showing a lack of respect.  Labor is a commodity because in this instance it is a homogenous service that varies little with the person providing the service.  Specifically ones humanity, all our likes, dislikes, thoughts and dreams, has little effect upon ones ability to flip burgers or make change.  Labor is a commodity because at the entry level, where the minimum wage will most likely apply, for any individual there are a potential six billion replacements.

The consequence of the minimum wage is that as unskilled, commodity, labor becomes more expensive, people will substitute into machinery and skilled labor.  The legislation will have destroyed the jobs of the very people it was supposed to help.



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