Irish Liberty Forum

Archive for the ‘law’ Category

The Minimum Wage: How To Prevent Job Creation

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Much of the developed world is suffering a jobs crisis, and the experience for Ireland is worse than most. The Irish legal framework for the jobs market, beyond a basic minimum wage, has also had a complicated system of “Joint Labour Committees” which are capable of imposing additional wage requirements on particular sectors of the economy (affecting about 200,000 people). This system was found to be unconstitutional last summer. Replacement legislation is coming down the pipeline now, with the government promising to extend an employer’s right to plead “inability to pay“.

The current legislative proposals permit an employer – subject to certain conditions – to apply to the Labour Court for a derogation from the wage rates set in the sectoral wage agreement on the basis of inability to pay.

The derogation can be granted for between three months and two years – provided an employer has not been granted an exemption within the previous five years for the same workers.

The Labour Court must be satisfied that without the exemption, there would be a substantial risk to jobs or to the sustainability of the employer’s business.

The change is described by a government spokesman as “minor”. They don’t want to be seen to be undermining the wages of the low-paid, but the truth is that this system does no good at all for the people who need the most help, who are just below the bottom rung of the jobs ladder: those who are looking for work.

Involuntary “unemployment” would not exist in the free market; anyone who can work would be hired, if they would only lower their asking price. When market-clearing wage rates are illegal, however, unemployment is inevitable.

Thought experiment: Imagine that the price of a new car was set by government at an artifically high level, as a result of the government having been lobbied by manufacturers of some of the more expensive models. Imagine that you could only negotiate a lower price if you presented your case formally to a special government committee, who would decide whether or not you could afford it. Do you think that more or fewer new cars would be bought?


Written by Graham

January 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Blasphemy Laws Violate Property Rights

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What’s been lacking from the debate on the proposed Irish blasphemy law is any framing of the discussion in its proper context: property rights. Once we do this, the correct criticism of the law becomes clear.


We begin by noting that all communication has a physical form, a form which is always the property of some agent. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Graham

May 9, 2009 at 1:30 pm

You Can Call Me Friday

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Taking a break from economics:

Italy’s top court of appeals has barred a couple from naming their son “Friday,” castigating them for the “ridiculous” name and forcing them to call the boy Gregorio instead.

The court agreed with two previous ruling from courts in Genoa which found that the name — Venerdi in Italian — was too reminiscent of Robinson Crusoe’s servant named Friday.

The judges found that Robinson’s sidekick in the Daniel Defoe novel was associated with “subjection and inferiority.”

The child’s parents, who have battled in court for two years for the right to name their son what they want, insisted they chose Venerdi because “it was nice and sounded good” and not because of the novel.

I’ve known Irish people with much, much stranger names than “Friday”, which doesn’t seem like such a bad name to me at all. I wonder if this court battle has improved the young man’s prospects in life?

Written by Graham

October 23, 2008 at 9:42 pm

Posted in children, Ireland, justice, law