Anorak | The silly idea of an international minimum wage

The silly idea of an international minimum wage

by | 13th, May 2013

Muhammad Yunus

MUHAMMAD Yunus has done some pretty good things in his life: the founding of the Grameen Bank led to a Nobel Prize for example. Yet this really does have to be a silly idea: the idea of having an international minimum wage:

I propose that foreign buyers jointly fix a minimum international wage for the industry. This might be about 50 cents an hour, twice the level typically found in Bangladesh.


If we actually have an international minimum wage of 50 cents an hour then everyone whose output is worth less than that loses their job. And there are plenty of places poorer than Bangladesh where 50 cents an hour would be a very attractive sum indeed and significantly above what people are earning already.

Or, if the intention is to do it the other way, that this wage should take account of various national conditions, then it’s not an international wage, is it?

The third alternative explanation of this is too stupid to even think about: that people who work for international export should get this wage but people who work in the domestic economy should not. Why on Earth should anyone distinguish among Bangladeshis on those grounds?


Posted: 13th, May 2013 | In: Money Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink