The Minimum Wage and the Cause of Democracy
Review of Social Economy, 2003, vol. 61, issue 4, 487-510
Too often the minimum wage is conceived of as a small policy measure that will be of benefit to only a small segment of the labor market while imposing costs on another segment of the labor market. Unexplored, however, are the larger philosophic questions that such a small measure may actually raise. One such issue is the relationship between the minimum wage and democratic principles. In this paper I argue that the minimum wage furthers the ends of democratic society in that low-wage workers may achieve greater equality of standing with their piers to the extent that income inequality is at all lessened; their autonomy as individuals is enhanced through higher wages, which in turn enables them to claim the benefits of citizenship and participate more effectively in the democratic process; and it fosters greater economic development in that it raises the overall structure of a region and perhaps the productivity of that region.
Keywords: minimum wage; democracy; equality; autonomy; empowerment; voice; citizenship; economic development (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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