In his provocative article, "Why There Should Be A Global Minimum Wage," Jason J. Campbell poses the following question: “Since outsourcing is a viable economic model wherein First World corporations export their labor to defer cost and maximize profits, should there be an international standard for the minimum amount that laborers, of any country, may legally be employed for?” (“To what extent does it differ from slavery,” he then asks.)
I’ll stay away from the moral argument, which seems to be the mainstay of Mr. Campbell’s article. The question of implementation, or the feasibility of enforcement, is another bag of worms; consequently, I'll stay away from it, too. What I’d like to argue, however, is that the very idea of global minimum wage (and a multitude of same-order concepts) presupposes a certain state of affairs – “the new world order,” I called it for short. In effect therefore, whether wittingly or not, Mr. Campbell has given us a blueprint, a glimpse of the future – not the future you or I would necessarily desire but a future nonetheless. His argument is (how shall I put it?) “in reverse,” first positing a controversial piece of legislation – one which, on the face of it at least, would appear to be ludicrous under the existing conditions – and then daring us to imagine a state of affairs, a world in which the exact same proposition or body of laws wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. Hence the underlying purpose: to unpack the argument and by means of reverse engineering, to reconstitute it anew.
In the interest of exposition, I'm going to proceed incrementally, from the existing cases to those which are still in the process of forming – eventually to those which are likely to come into being in the near or not so near future. “Global minimal wage” shall remain our point of focus – the lever – but let there be no misunderstanding: any similar such concept (such as “uniform currency” or “no-discrimination clause”) would do just as well. And here, the most logical place to start would be the U.S. itself, already a federation de jure and de facto (despite a growing sentiment to the contrary).
For better or worse, the minimum wage law is the law of the land. True, every attempt at increase has been fought, and bitterly, by business interests and state legislatures from North Carolina to Texas. But once the new law is passed, it becomes a moot point: the states had better comply or else.