We had to destroy the village in order to save it . . .

By Megan McArdle

I genuinely don't get this comment. I mean, I understand that there are people who think it is immoral that the educated should earn substantially more than people who clean houses. But it seems to me that the obvious solution to this dilemma, until you have effected the radical political change you believe will rectify this situation globally, is to give away all of your salary in excess of the wage of the average housecleaner. Ideally, you would donate it either to people who clean houses, or to some organization you believe will improve their earning prospects.

If you are not going to take the obvious route (and apparently no one is), then I really do not see how you could believe that the best way to help housecleaners is to refuse to hire them. In my universe, decreasing the demand for a good or service drives the price of that good or service down, making whoever supplies it worse off. How often do you meet private contractors who are grateful not to be offered work? If you think housecleaners get paid too little, then you should be hiring as many as you can afford, in order to increase the local demand for unskilled labor, not shunning them. And if you think I'm wrong, why not ask your friendly local independant cleaning lady what she thinks?

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2007/09/we-had-to-destroy-the-village-in-order-to-save-it/2033/