Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The minimum wage and eugenics, 2

Continuing what I wrote yesterday, Alfred Benedict Wolfe, a professor at Oberlin college, wrote the following: (Page 278)
But if you wish to reduce the marriage rate, give young women economic independence, so that they will not be tempted to marry simply to escape long hours of hard work at low pay, which has to be turned into the family coffers.

Progressive contempt for the family unit goes back well over a century. Wrapped up in discussions of eugenics and the minimum wage is this. He's only speaking theoretically, but these people have known for a long time that the way to empower government is to assault families through devious means. He continues:

Humanitarian consideration aside, the strongest argument for minimum wage legislation for women, is that it will help them toward economic independence, and be one element in the reduction of the birth rate.
The general toning up of industry that would result from universal minimum wage legislation would be noteworthy. If the inefficient entrepreneurs would be eliminated so would the ineffective workers. I am not disposed to waste much sympathy upon either class. The elimination of the inefficient is in line with our traditional emphasis on free competition, and also with the spirit and trend of modern social economics. There is no panacea that can "save" the incompetents except at the expense of the normal people. They are a burden on society and on the producers wherever they are. The real question is whether the inefficient are less burden if we permit them to be employed at low wages and thus tend to fix the wages of the normal workers at the same low level, or whether they would be less burden if we definitely prohibit the employment in industry of any person who can not earn a standard wage, and set such persons aside for special treatment much as we do backward children and subnormls in the schools. 4

Footnote 4 is interesting: he cites Fabian socialist Sidney Webb. The effect that Fabianism has on liberal minded people is rather obvious once considered. Unless A.B. Wolfe was an actual Fabian, that might be considered as well.

But this is important, particularly when it can be shown to be a pattern among academics, because academics is who in a lot of ways drive the thought of the country. Now, Wolf may be forgotten in the history books, but note the journal. The AEA is still with us today. In the day this was written, it carried weight.

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