Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Future of Farming and Another Example of Why Minimum Wage Law is a Bad Idea (Grape Sorting Edition)

Modern Farming describes how the optical grape sorting technology works:
Each morning Leveque feeds 200 perfect grapes to the machine, which digitally photographs them and forms a kind of Platonic ideal of a grape. Then the sorting starts. Gobs of grapes pour in and the machine snaps a picture of each, 10,000 frames per second, comparing every one to Leveque’s nonpareil. Acceptable? Go on, become wine. Subpar? A quick stream of air blasts it out of the lineup and into obscurity.
Winemaker Leveque was suspicious at first of the optical sorting technology until he conducted a series of blind taste tests. Result? Over and over, the optically sorted grapes produced better wine.

Economist Mark Perry comments:
Proponents of the minimum wage should consider that one long-run adverse effect of artificially-high, government-mandated wages on low-skilled workers – a higher minimum wage will increase the incentive for employers of low-skilled workers to invest in labor-saving technologies like optical grape sorters[...]and reduce the demand for low-skilled workers.

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