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最低工资法令 (下)

(2009-07-22 20:52:58)
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最低工资

杂谈

分类: 一课经济学
2
A nice problem, moreover, will be raised by the relief program designed to take care of the unemployment caused by the minimum wage law. By a minimum wage of, say, $2.65 an hour, we have forbidden anyone to work forty hours in a week for less than $106.[5] Suppose, now, we offer only $70 a week on relief. This means that we have forbidden a man to be usefully employed at, say, $90 a week, in order that we may support him at $70 a week in idleness. We have deprived society of the value of his services. We have deprived the man of the independence and self-respect that come from self-support, even at a low level, and from performing wanted work, at the same time as we have lowered what the man could have received by his own efforts.
此外,实施旨在处理好最低工资法导致失业问题的救济方案,还会引发出令人费解的问题。比如,法律把每小时最低工资定为2.65美元,表明劳工一周工作40小时而工资低于106美元的,统统为法律所禁止。{书后注5:最低工资现在是每小时4.25美元。按每周工作40小时计算,单单工资成本,雇主就要负担每周170美元一个人。}再假设现在的失业救济金标准是一周70美元。这意味着,我们宁可每周花70美元去养活一个闲人,也不肯让人尽其所能去挣得周薪为90美元的工资。最低工资法剥夺了社会享有这部分人的服务所创造的价值,也剥夺了这些人凭自力更生而拥有的独立与自尊。与此同时,我们降低了他们本可以通过自己的努力而得到的收入。

These consequences follow as long as the weekly relief payment is a penny less than $106. Yet the higher we make the relief payment, the worse we make the situation in other respects. If we offer $106 for relief, then we offer many men just as much for not working as for working. Moreover, whatever the sum we offer for relief, we create a situation in which everyone is working only for the difference between his wages and the amount of the relief. If the relief is $106 a week, for example, workers offered a wage of $2.75 an hour, or $110 a week, are in fact, as they see it, being asked to work for only $4 a week—for they can get the rest without doing anything.
只要救济金标准还低于一周106美元,就会带来上述后果。然而,把救济金提得越高,则其他方面的后果就会越糟。如果救济标准调到一周106美元,那么对于许多人而言,工作与不工作的收入一个样。更进一步说,无论救济金标准高还是低,都会造成了这种局面,即:每个人努力工作,挣得的只是工资与救济金之间的差额。举例来说,假设每周的救济金是106美元,某劳工每小时工资是2.75美元、即周薪110美元,那么该劳工实际上只是在为每周4美元的工资而工作。因为他不工作也能领到106美元。

It may be thought that we can escape these consequences by offering “work relief” instead of “home relief “; but we merely change the nature of the consequences. Work relief means that we are paying the beneficiaries more than the open market would pay them for their efforts. Only part of their relief-wage is for their efforts, therefore, while the rest is a disguised dole.
也许有的人会认为,我们可以通过提供“工作救助”而不是“家庭救济”的办法来避免上述结果,;但这只是换汤不换药。工作救助意味着我们付给受惠劳工的工资比市场上付给他的工资高。因此,他们领取的救助性工资,只有一部分是劳动报酬,其余则是变相支付的救济金。

It remains to be pointed out that government make-work is necessarily inefficient and of questionable utility. The government has to invent projects that will employ the least skilled. It cannot start teaching people carpentry, masonry, and the like, for fear of competing with established skills and arousing the antagonism of existing unions. I am not recommending it, but it probably would be less harmful all around if the government in the first place frankly subsidized the wages of submarginal workers at the work they were already doing. Yet this would create political headaches of its own.
有必要进一步指出,政府以工代赈安排的工作必然没有效率,其效用也很成问题。政府不得不搞出一些再就业工程来雇用技能最差的劳工。它不能着手于培训人们木工、泥瓦工或是类似的手艺,因为他们担心那么做会导致与目前的熟练工人的竞争,甚至引发工会之间的对抗。虽然我不主张搞补贴,但是如果政府首先公开地对那些处于边际生产水平以下的工人进行直接的工资补贴,或许从总体上看,它所造成的损失可能会小一些。可这样做却会有政治麻烦。

We need not pursue this point further, as it would carry us into problems not immediately relevant. But the difficulties and consequences of relief must be kept in mind when we consider the adoption of minimum wage laws or an increase in minimums already fixed
这个问题就此打住,再谈就跑题了。请记住,在我们考虑实施最低工资法,或者提高最低工资时,我们一定要认识到实施救济的种种困难和后果。{脚注:1938年,当美国所有制造业的平均工资是每小时63美分时,国会制定的最低工资限额只是每小时25美分。1945年,当所有工厂的平均工资提高到每小时1.02美元时,国会制定的最低限额为每小时40美分。1949年,当所有工厂的平均工资提高到每小时1.40美元时,国会将最低限额提高为每小时 75美分。1955年,当所有工厂的平均工资提高到每小时1.88美元时,国会将最低工资限额提高到每小时1美元。1961年,当所有工厂平均工资提高到每小时2.30美元时,国会将最低限额提高到每小时1.15美元,1963年再提高到1.25美元。长话短说,1967年最低工资增为1.40美元,1968年为1.60美元,1974年为2.00美元,1975年为2.10美元,1976年为2.30美元(那时所有私营非农业生产就业者的平均工资是4.87美元)。1977年,当非农工人的平均工资达到了每小时5.26美元,最低工资也提高到每小时2.65美元,附加条款规定在此后三年中要相继增长进一步提高。于是,随着普遍的小时工资的提高,最低工资法的提倡者认为,法定最低工资水平至少应到相应地提高。尽管是最低工资在随市场工资进行提高,但总有人构建最低工资立法提高了市场工资水平这一迷信。}{书后注6:在黑兹利特上述脚注之后,最低工资又增加了三次:在1981年增至3.35美元,1990年为3.80美元,1992年为4.25美元。每一次最低工资的增加,伴随着失业增加(尤其是少数族裔的年轻人失业)与新增就业机会的减少。(理查德·维德(Richard Vedder)和洛厄尔·盖洛维(Lowell Gallaway)的〈联邦最低工资应该调增吗?〉(Should the Federal Minimum Wage Be Increased?),NCPA政策报告第190号,1995年2月)}

Before we finish with the topic I should perhaps mention another argument sometimes put forward for fixing a minimum wage rate by statute. This is that in an industry in which one big company enjoys a monopoly, it need not fear competition and can offer below-market wages. This is a highly improbable situation. Such a “monopoly” company must offer high wages when it is formed, in order to attract labor from other industries. Thereafter it could theoretically fail to increase wage rates as much as other industries, and so pay “substandard” wages for that particular specialized skill. But this would be likely to happen only if that industry (or company) was sick or shrinking; if it were prosperous or expanding, it would have to continue to offer high wages to increase its labor force.
在结束这一论题之前,也许我应当提一下主张以法规形式确定某一最低工资率的另一种论调。有人指出:一家大公司如果垄断某一行业,它不用担心竞争,可以用低于市价的工资来支付劳动力报酬。在很大程度上这种情况并不符合现实。这样的“垄断”公司在形成过程中必须以高工资从其他行业吸引员工。形成垄断之后,从理论上讲,它以向有具体特殊技能的工人支付“低于应有水平”的工资,而不是象其他行业一样大幅度地提高工资。但是这种情况只有在该产业(或公司)病入膏肓或者龟缩时才有可能;如果它处于兴盛或扩张阶段,则必须继续用高工资才能吸引扩增其员工人数。

We know as a matter of experience that it is the big companies —those most often accused of being monopolies—that pay the highest wages and offer the most attractive working conditions. It is commonly the small marginal firms, perhaps suffering from excessive competition, that offer the lowest wages. But all employers must pay enough to hold workers or to attract them from each other.
经验告诉我们,那些被指责为垄断的大公司,所支付的工资最高,所提供的工作条件最吸引人。而绩效较差的小公司迫于竞争压力,支付的工资往往最低。但是无论公司大小,所有的雇主都必须支付够高的工资,才能留住员工,竞争人才。

3
All this is not to argue that there is no way of raising wages. It is merely to point out that the apparently easy method of raising them by government fiat is the wrong way and the worst way.
以上所说并非表明我们找不到提高工资的方法,它仅仅指出,靠政府的法令来提高工资,这种方式表面上看来简便易行,却是错误的,并且是最糟糕的。

This is perhaps as good a place as any to point out that what distinguishes many reformers from those who cannot accept their proposals is not their greater philanthropy, but their greater impatience. The question is not whether we wish to see everybody as well off as possible. Among men of good will such an aim can be taken for granted. The real question concerns the proper means of achieving it. And in trying to answer this we must never lose sight of a few elementary truisms. We cannot distribute more wealth than is created. We cannot in the long run pay labor as a whole more than it produces.
也许这是最佳时候,指出许多改革者与那些不能接受他们建议的人之间的区别,并不在于他们更有善心,而是他们更缺乏耐心。问题不在于我们是否愿人富不愿人穷,任何有良心的人当然希望大家都过得好。真正的问题在于用什么手段去实现这个良好愿望。在回答这个问题时,请不要无视一些最基本的真理。我们没办法无中生有,让劳工报酬长期高出其创造的价值。

The best way to raise wages, therefore, is to raise marginal labor productivity. This can be done by many methods: by an increase in capital accumulation — i.e., by an increase in the machines with which the workers are aided; by new inventions and improvements; by more efficient management on the part of employers; by more industriousness and efficiency on the part of workers; by better education and training. The more the individual worker produces, the more he increases the wealth of the whole community. The more he produces, the more his services are worth to consumers, and hence to employers. And the more he is worth to employers, the more he will be paid. Real wages come out of production, not out of government decrees.
所以,提高工资的最佳手段,是提高劳动力的边际生产水平。这可以通过许多方法来实现:通过增加资本累积,例如添置机器以协助劳工;通过新的发明和革新;通过雇主更有效率的管理;通过员工的勤劳和更有效劳作;通过更好的教育培训等。单个生产者产出越多,他为整个社会所增加的财富就越多。他生产得越多,他的服务对于消费者的价值越大,因此对雇主的价值也越大,雇主越有可能给他涨工资。实质工资来源于产值,而不是来源于政府的法令。

So government policy should be directed, not to imposing more burdensome requirements on employers, but to following policies that encourage profits, that encourage employers to expand, to invest in newer and better machines to increase the productivity of workers — in brief, to encourage capital accumulation, instead of discouraging it—and to increase both employment and wage rates.
因此,政府政策不应该给雇主增加更多负担,而应该鼓励他们创造利润;鼓励他们扩张经营,通过添置更新更好的机器来提高劳工的生产力。也就是不要限制资本积累,而要鼓励资本累积,并以此来增加就业、提高工资率。

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