libertarian question

Are libertarians for or against minimum wage? In other words, do libertarians believe that an employer should be able to pay his/her employees whatever he/she wants?

Strict libertarianism is against setting mandatory minimum wages, the argument being that an employer should pay what the market says the labor is worth.

This of course does not preclude things like unions or group bargaining, where the laborers control the market collectively for their benefit.

There are plenty of moderate libertarians (including this one) who support minimum wages, however.

No, libertarians believe the employer should pay whatever salary the employer and the employee agree upon. The difference between my wording and yours is subtle but important.

thanks for y’all’s replies

But in a libertarian system, an employer would not be forced to bargain with unions - he could simply have them evicted and hire replacements, so I can’t see unions even existing. Hell, that’s one of the things that I find attractive about libertarianism.

I could still see unions existing for the convenience of the employer. Say you fire 200 electricians. Where are you going to find 200 electricians that already know how to program robots, troubleshoot PLC logic, work on welders, run cable trays, and all that other good stuff already? You’d have to train them, and run your production like shit for several months. I think the employer would probably try to work with the union, but take away some of its bargaining power (you don’t need a resort campground paid for by employer money, for example).

The Libertarian Party on Today’s Issues

But only if he could find enough replacements willing to work for him. And isn’t that the way unions work anyway, under the current system?

A Libertarian believes that the government should not interfere between the consenual actions between individuals. As long as no “force” is used, any action between willing participants is acceptable to Libertarians. This includes individuals forming unions and engaging in collective bargaining. Although I am not sure how this would apply to union’s exemption from anti-competitive behavior under the Sherman Anti-Trust act.

Libertarians are generally against minimum wage laws for both reasons of principal, and in practice. In principal, minimum wage prohibits employers from engaging in arrangements that would be mutually acceptable to both themselves, and their employees. In practice, minimum wage laws have no way of accomplishing its stated goals (reducing poverty, standard of living, increasing employment) and in fact often accomplish exactly the opposite.