With more and more activists pushing for a $15 minimum wage, and more and more states heading in that direction, research is being done to prove or disprove whether higher minimum wages have negative effects. Of course, research is not supposed to be done to prove either way; its supposed to see what the effects are, not focus on good or bad. In any case, studies have been conflicted for years, which has given both sides ammunition, and new research out of Seattle, which recently began raising its minimum wage to $15 has just added to this. One study shows no ill effects, another shows some workers are losing pay and hours (PDF). The reason for all this uncertainty is there are so many variables involved.
As most libertarians know, Frederic Bastiat was a classic liberal writer and politician in a sea of post-revolutionary socialists. One of his most famous and distributed works is Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (That which is seen and that which is not seen). The essay contains twelve subessays discussing various topics relevant to 1840 and even today, regarding “well-intended” ideas (that which is seen) that have unproductive effects in application (that which is not seen). While libertarians begin to expose the problems of government intervention, and are well versed in economics, there are still many things that simply cannot be explained at first glance. And most libertarians are at a complete loss in arguments when the rely on simple logic. The problem is that the interactions of billions of different individuals is exceedingly complex. Even many axioms that are generally true have exceptions. This is what is really not seen. Continue reading