Paradise for workers? Australia invents the minimum wage

We used to be known as a paradise for workers, for all sorts of reasons. One was the world’s first legislation for the minimum wage, back in 1907. Much of the rest of the world followed our example, although we’ve usually been in front with the level of the minimum wage. Currently, it stands at $16.87 an hour.

However, it’s always been a target by the capitalist bosses at the big end of town. It curtails productivity, they cry; it increases unemployment, since there is less money to go around. The last point is complete crap, as even The Economist admits. There’s no evidence that it raises unemployment and a good amount to show that it lowers unemployment, at least within a capitalist system. Which explains why there seems to be a push to raise the minimum wage in the USA from its current parlous level.

Meanwhile, here in the land of Oz, the Productivity Commission has suggested dumping the minimum wage. Yes, the bosses are having another go, although they really should be up front about why: it lowers their profit margins.

Back to the workers paradise. If they had been serious about that 100 years ago, they would have set a maximum wage as well.


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