Nothing New under the Sun: The Prescience of W. S. Sanders' 1906 Fabian Tract

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Abstract

In order to understand the impact of the national minimum wage (NMW) on pay, employment and other variables, the Low Pay Commission studies pay setting, coverage of the NMW, competitive versus monopsonistic labour markets, non-compliance, offsets and the interaction between the NMW and the social security system. But similar issues were analysed a century ago by Fabian and other writers. In particular, the 18-page 1906 Tract by W. S. Sanders — the first ever call for a national minimum wage — anticipated all the present debates. That tract is examined here.

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