Thomas Sowell: Liberals hurt the poor by forcing their preferences upon them
One of the many international crusades by busybodies on the left is the drive to limit the hours of work by people in other countries — especially poorer countries — in businesses operated by multinational corporations. One international monitoring group has taken on the task of making sure that people in China do not work more than the legally prescribed 49 hours per week.
When I then found a full-time job delivering telegrams during the day, the money from the two jobs combined was more than I had ever made before. I could pay the back rent I owed on my room and both eat and ride the subways back and forth to work.
Thank heaven there were no busybodies to prevent me from working more hours than they thought I should.
There was a minimum wage law, but this was 1949 and the wages set by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 had been rendered meaningless by years of inflation. In the absence of an effective minimum wage law, unemployment among black teenagers in the recession year of 1949 was a fraction of what it would be in even the most prosperous years of the 1960s and beyond.
My personal experience is just one small example of what it is like when your options are very limited. The prosperous busybodies of the left are constantly promoting policies that reduce the existing options of poor people even more.
Wages paid by multinational corporations in poor countries are typically much higher than wages paid by local employers. Moreover, the experience that employees get working in modern companies make them more valuable workers and have led in China, for example, to wages rising by double-digit percentages annually.
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