ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka will raise minimum wages for workers in the Middle East from 2017, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.
Sri Lanka’s government claims there is a $300 minimum wage for expatriate workers.
In Sri Lanka, due to high import duty protection for farmers and politically powerful domestic industrial lobbies, living expenses and house building costs are high.
Printing money by the Central Bank also constantly depreciates the rupee, forcing poor workers to seek work abroad.
However, analysts warn that if minimum wages are imposed and there is an effective way of actually enforcing them, the least skilled workers will be prevented from getting jobs.
Minimum wages were proposed originally by Western eugenicists to keep black people, disabled, immigrants and other ‘undesirables’ out of workplaces and push them to the margins of society.
"Legal Minimum Wage positively increases the productivity of the nation’s industry by ensuring that the surplus of unemployed workmen shall be exclusively the least efficient workmen;," Fabian socialist Sydney Webb wrote in 1912. "Or, to put it in another way, by ensuring that all situations shall be filled by the most efficient operatives who are available."
In the US state of Massachusetts, minimum wages were originally enacted in 1912 to keep women out the workplace and make them stay at home.
Minimum wages take away an individual’s freedom to contract. Minimum wages are now accepted as part of state interventionism, which maintains unemployment as an unintended consequence.
However, if unemployment is already low and rates are set around the actual ‘market rate’, minimum wages may not cause widespread harm.
In Sri Lanka’s construction industry, it is difficult to find workers at around $400 a month. (Colombo/Oct28/2016)