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What Libertarians Don’t Understand

I once put out a video concerning the idea that low-skilled workers are only worth minimum wage. This is a notion crudely adapted from the wisdom of Milton Friedman by your pub counter advocates of liberty on the internet. In short, the market doesn’t value these folks enough to pay them more, hence the limited wage levels.

My point in the video was that wages actually come down to the jurisdiction in question. Companies aren’t paying sweatshop laborers $7.25 per hour because they can, but must give at least that to Americans by law. If the minimum wage were repealed, it is questionable that they would continue paying the same rate.

I also noted that these jobs are in some cases highly-demanding and emotionally-draining (retail customer service), or integral to the profit model of the company (Dominoes delivery driver). They might not require exorbitant skill sets, but they provide tremendous VALUE.

As I expected, a horde of libertarians descended on the comments section. They began with the furious “That’s a strawman!” volley, because no one likes seeing their talking points dissected.  

Others claimed I was wrong because the wage is determined by the replaceability of the worker/skillset. In their mind, the manual laborer is not worth more money because a new worker can easily be found, whilst a lawyer or doctor require advanced training.

They are absolutely right, and that’s the problem with Libertarianism. We can all sit here with smug attitudes and remark, “Oh just learn to code!” as though the economy should be merely built on some Darwinian mad dash. People have lives beyond competitive ambitions, and this flippant approach is destructive to their well-being.

Suppose for a second the libertarian position is implemented in a non-strawman way. Since our freedom-lovers collectively support the unrestricted moment of goods and services, there is nothing to stop migrants from underbidding jobs and creating a “race to the bottom” where wages decline and standards of living shrink. They can just live twenty people to an apartment and squeeze out the native citizens. Easy as pie.

Arrogance and superiority complexes don’t deceive. If we are to maintain the nation-state with any degree of dignity, we cannot allow free access to increasingly-cheaper labor. That way lies the path of poverty.  

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Why Entry-Level Jobs Require Experience

We’ve all seen it before: a job listing on Indeed or LinkedIn calling out energetically to recent graduates and folks ready for an entry-level position. If you’re like most people, you rushed to scroll down and apply, amazed that a company would offer you the opportunity to use your undergraduate degree and get trained while making money.

Until you saw the requirements:

– Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university; Master’s degree preferred.
– 5-7 years progressively responsible experience in a leadership role.
– Considered subject matter expert on industry-specific standards.
– Provable experience saving children from starvation and eradicating cancer.
– A motivated and enthusiastic personality.

At this point you probably felt confused. How on earth could an entry-level position require a chunk of a lifetime in experience? Was this conception or something?

In reality, what you stumbled upon is a perfect illustration of the modern economic paradox: You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. Cool beans, huh?

The simply reasoning behind this dynamic is as follows: corporations don’t want to pay you what you’re worth. They’d prefer that you work like a dog for low wages and poor benefits, because “At least we’re giving you a JOB.”

Let’s turn back time for a second. During the 1990s, hiring, managers began aggressively pushing the “professionalized managerial workforce” mantra, a program designed to bottleneck the careers of people with plenty of experience but no degree. This effectively kneecapped people in early-to-mid stages of their work life because they could not advance without a certification.

The broader impact market made young people panic, sending them to college in droves to ensure they would be employed. It also LOWERED the value of people with existing degrees, allowing their starting salaries to be suppressed.
So here we are in 2019, with the Bachelor’s degree viewed as the new high school diploma, and companies still atavistic in their attempts to cap pay. The question is, what can you do?

Answer: be willing to walk away. If you have qualifications that hold high market value, refuse to settle. You’re liable to hear stuff like “This is the opportunity of a lifetime to learn and grow at 45k!”

That’s cute. But it is not acceptable. Keep a firm hand. The corporate apologists will try to shame you into believing you’re worth nothing, and training is too costly. Or the bottom line is crying.

In that case, you can’t afford to work for them.

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Alright Everyone

As many of you know, I am in the process of winding down my presence on YouTube due to the futile outcomes of the algorithm. I have resolved to build up this blog as an added (and likely more sustainable) armory of information for future generations. The greatest challenge ahead is getting the page to look attractive and click-friendly. I am not particularly enthused by WordPress so far, but we shall have to see where things go from here.