Monday, September 15, 2008

labor "exploited" again...

Front page news from Chris Otts in the C-J that "volunteers" at Valhalla for Ryder Cup this weekend will pay $220 to work the event.

This is obviously an outrage-- a clear example of "exploitation": workers earning far below the minimum fact, negative wages!

Of course, this is one example that illustrates a broader concept, putting the lie (golf puns intended) to most accusations of exploitation. Exploitation can only be defined objectively in contexts where workers have few choices-- facing monopoly power in the hiring process with firms.

In many cases, lefties see low wages and start moaning about exploitation. But assuming reasonably competitive labor markets, low wages are indicative of low market productivity-- where productivity goes well beyond worker skills to the supply and demand for labor, the technology applied to the labor, and the legal institutions which make that labor more/less productive and attractive.


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