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Mar 17

BRITISH MINIMUM WAGE ACT OF 1773 DROVE THE BRITISH TEXTILE INDUSTRY OVERSEAS AND DROVE COUNTLESS BRITS INTO POVERTY

Herbert_Spencer

Herbert Spencer, one of the founders of sociology, pointed out in 1850 that the British Minimum Wage Act of 1773—passed due to pressure from English weavers who believed the law would help lift textile workers out of poverty—decimated the British textile industry only 20 years later. By 1793, “some four thousand looms would be brought to a stand in consequence of the trade going elsewhere.” Few if any of the unemployed weavers recognized that the minimum-wage legislation they so enthusiastically advocated just 20 years earlier was the cause of their impoverishment.

Herbert Spencer, Social Statics (1850), page 11.