AT THE RISK OF entering into a “pen pal” communication through your magazine, I need to respond to the letter from Joel Stern headlined “Stern rebuke repeated” (31 July). First, I must thank him for subtly acknowledging that he didn’t provide the correct facts in his initial letter.
Second, the reduction in trade union labour in the United States might be due to a change in the macroeconomic policy from the Sixties to the current, or perhaps it’s because the US as a country hasn’t signed the International Labour Organisation’s Conventions on Collective Bargaining and Freedom of Association. It’s easier for US companies to exploit labour in Eastern countries, where minimum wages aren’t prescribed and the “free market determined wage” keeps those employees in the poverty trap.
Third, thanks for referring me to the important work by Walter Williams. It makes for interesting reading, especially the fact he opposed the increase to the minimum wage in 2006 at the time, while five winners of the Nobel Prize for Economics (Kenneth Arrow, Stanford; Lawrence Klein, Pennsylvania; Robert Solow, MIT; Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia; and Clive Granger, California) supported the increase, saying the value of the last increase in 1997 had been fully eroded.
But perhaps we should just accept that economists get it wrong most of the time.
CEO, MISA trade union