Leonid Bershidsky, “A Basic Income Is Smarter Than a Minimum Wage”
April began on a high note for the “Fight for $15” movement in the United States: California passed a law to increase the statewide minimum wage to $15 over the course of the next six years, and New York struck a deal for a $15 minimum in New York City and its suburbs. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the largest minimum wage increase in eight years went into effect on April 1.
However, at the same time as many were celebrating these breakthroughs, Berlin-based author Leonid Bershidsky published an article in which he argues that a minimum wage has some substantial drawbacks — especially when it comes to integrating immigrants into a society — and that a basic income is a much smarter choice for alleviating poverty.
In a country with a high minimum wage, according to Bershidsky, immigrants “are at a disadvantage because of poor language skills and educational backgrounds that are often incompatible with the host countries’ labor market requirements. No one wants to hire them at a high minimum wage, especially when locals are readily available. Instead of working for social justice, high minimum wages create an extra barrier for the integration of the least socially secure people into society. Such barriers can result in ghettos, rioting and the recruitment of disenfranchised immigrant youths by terrorist groups.”
Bershidsky believes that a basic income, in contrast, is likely to allow immigrants to “integrate faster than they are doing now, because labor markets will be livelier and less forbidding.”
Read the full article here:
Leonid Bershidsky, 1 April 2016, “A Basic Income Is Smarter Than a Minimum Wage,” Bloomberg View.
Image credit: The All-Nite Images, NY (via Wikimedia Commons)