Minimum Wages and Certification Monopolies

I want more employment and more men – especially more black men – in the workforce. Ergo, the minimum wage needs to go.


Another useful shift would be changing the focus of hiring from certification by government-backed experts & guilds, to competence via apprenticeship. As North wrote:

The pathological concern since World War II with the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. marks one aspect of this development. Christians have been caught up in the suicidal paper chase. They have believed — in defiance of everything they know to be true about Western humanism — that some impersonal, bureaucratic, self-certifying educational institution is capable of certifying performance, and not just performance, but meaningful, relevant performance. They have officially denounced the institutions of secular humanism, and they have sent their children into the den of academic lions to be certified by them. They have called the unbelievers to repentance, and they have sent their children to run the academic gauntlet. Why? Why can’t they pull out of the system?

By adopting the standards of this certification system, we have adopted the religion of bureaucracy. Why is this certification system the favored one? Historically, it was humanism which produced it. The university appeared in the Christian West, but it was from the beginning a system dominated by Greek presuppositions concerning the autonomy of man, the primacy of the intellect, and the importance of at least a temporary withdrawal from the outside world of business and politics.


Here is the grim irony: a system devoted to withdrawal from the world has convinced those who are successful in the world that nobody who has not run the gauntlet of academia is likely to be successful in the world. It is illegal today to put up a sign in a store window: “Help Wanted; No Irish Need Apply.” Such signs were common in Boston in 1850. But it is considered perfectly sensible to run an ad in any newspaper: “Help Wanted: B.A. Required.” This means, of course, “No Non-B.A.’s Allowed.”

After outlining the practical usefulness of the apprentice system – training the whole man, to work in the real world, instead of dwelling on passing tests – North draws to his conclusion:

Reversing the Trend

As long as Christians continue to send their children into the humanistic halls of ivy, for whatever reasons– occupational benefits, athletic amusement, marital advancement, surrogate prestige, monopoly returns (dwindling fast)–there is little hope for reform. Only when the whole society gets its looming shock of insecurity will the educational institution of today be questioned and then replaced.

What needs to be done from a legal standpoint is simple enough: abolish all occupational restraints on entry that are, in and of themselves, subsidies to the “certification factories.” If the civil government is to certify men for a profession, such as architect, physician, dentist, pharmacist, or whatever, let the certification be in terms of criteria available to anyone who can pass the examinations. Let apprentices, college graduates, self-taught men, or anyone else have equal access to the exams, and whoever passes can practice the profession. And let every member of that profession be required to pass the profession’s exam every five years, so that those “inside the club” cannot increase the rigor of the exam in order to exclude young competitors. Let insurance companies–fully competitive, unregulated companies–decide what constitutes an approved professional in any specialized calling. Let the professionals police their own ranks, not by means of State coercion, but by means of insurance premiums, by excluding those members of the profession, old or new, who threaten their colleagues with insurance losses and therefore higher premiums.

Accreditation by a free market is the only accreditation that should matter. The accreditation systems of today are operated by the monopolists and for the monopolists. Monopoly leads to higher costs of production, lower quality, and reduced freedom. We should understand this when we examine the costs and benefits of higher education for our children. These monopolists will shape their future. Can they be trusted?

We need to use the services of specialized private evaluation companies. We cannot all judge the competence of those who would train our children. But we can stop believing a lie, namely, that today’s monopolistic, State-protected, State-subsidized, humanistic, tenured, bureaucratic system of certification is anything but a giant fraud, a self-serving lie perpetrated by those who exercise control over the future generation by controlling the information they receive, and by examining them continually to see that they are sprouting the approved doctrines. If we send our children into this sinkhole of self-serving, self-policing humanism, let us not send them in untrained. And let us revive the apprenticeship system, so that a generation of competent producers will be produced by a market-governed training system.

Today’s intensely humanistic, abstract, and intrinsically anti-Christian educational system needs to be cut off. It is in opposition to God, and thus in opposition to both social and economic reality.

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