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Anorak | The Sympathetic Fallacy Of The Minmum Wage

The Sympathetic Fallacy Of The Minmum Wage

by | 11th, August 2007

SEE the donkey? Must be hard being a donkey. But how do you know? You can’t know. It is a donkey. You are not (probably).

In Sympathy is a failure of imagination – It’s absurd to put yourself in someone else’s shoes – Jamie Whyte writes:

Philosophers call the projection of your own sensibilities on to things that do not share them the “sympathetic fallacy”. It is popular with pet owners, many of whom believe themselves to be the recipients of animal love. But the fallacy is not restricted to thinking about animals. It also pollutes our reasoning about other people, often causing mutually beneficial, voluntary transactions to be mistaken for exploitation or coercion.

And so to employment:

You cannot help people by preventing them from engaging in voluntary transactions. If a Bangladeshi wants to work in a clothes factory for 20p an hour, then chances are that this represents a good deal for him. Those who lobby to prevent the import of the clothes that he is “exploited” to make are not helping him. Giving him enough money to think it no longer worthwhile to work for 20p an hour would be an act of generosity. Running his employer out of business because cheap labour offends you is an act of selfishness.

It’s not always good to give generously…



Posted: 11th, August 2007 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink