From Russ Roberts’ recent EconTalk podcast with Timothy Taylor (Taylor speaking):
…you are reminding me a little bit of a conversation I had with an old friend of mine a few years back, a non-economist. We were talking about the minimum wage and I was trying to explain sort of an economic viewpoint of the minimum wage–in a nonpartisan kind of way. So what I was sort of saying was, ‘Look, minimum wage, the extra money for that minimum wage, it has to come from someplace. And maybe it comes from hiring fewer workers or maybe it comes from more productivity or maybe it comes from cutting certain job perks or it comes from higher prices to consumers or it comes from lower wages–but it comes from some place. And so, without specifying the place, you have to understand where it comes from. And you have to think about that tradeoff.’ And my friend looked at me for a long slow moment and said, ‘You know, I really don’t like to think of the world that way.
It’s interesting to me when, for example, when Steve Jobs died, there was sort of this outpouring of, I don’t know, emotional support for the man and his life’s work. And what’s interesting about that was, Steve Jobs was, you know, as ruthless a capitalist as there’s been. And at that moment, though, it was okay that he was a ruthless capitalist–and never gave any money to charity. It was sort of celebrated for a little while. And I just thought: that’s interesting; here’s a moment–when Sam Walton died, I don’t know if there’s the same feeling of, ‘Wow, he revolutionized something.’ And a certain kind of praise. And I think some of that is, for lack of a better word– you’re referring to this as, well, it’s kind of a class thing.