This is in response to Paul Constant’s “Waiting for the Free Market to Raise Your Wages…” published online July 5th.
Basically Mr. Constant doesn’t get the way things work economically. Employers don’t raise your wages out of the goodness of their hearts — they do it because it makes economic sense. That is the essence of the free market. You negotiate your wages. They are not set by the government. If you are in a union, you can go out on strike. If the company is doing well, it may decide to boost wages a bit to retain market share and maximize profit. If you are on your own and don’t like your wages and jobs are plentiful in the market, you are free to quit your old job and you will be able to get higher wages elsewhere. You are also free to strike out on your own and establish your own business and make whatever the market will bear for the goods and services you supply. Look over the online job sites. Jobs are begging in some sectors. Government BLS data show real wages are rising. Maybe the rise is not as fast as you think it should be. I’d like a raise too while we are at it. However, none of that invalidates the point: you will be able to negotiate a higher wage if the free market value of your labor allows it.