Free Markets 101 — Jenganomics and The Effects of Minimum Wage


In light of the recent proposal by President Obama to raise the minimum wage to $9, my YAL chapter here at Louisiana State decided to repurpose the Jenganomics game to reflect the disastrous effects that minimum wage laws had on the job market and, consequently, the economy at large. 

We used the Jenganomics game by telling players to take the bottom blocks out and place them in a pile. This demonstrates how workers who would otherwise have a job would be taken out and not be added back into the job market. Rather, they would be placed in the “unemployment pile.” The tower becomes more unstable as more and more blocks are taken out at higher levels, and eventually it collapses. 

We decided to address minimum wage not only because of Obama’s recent declaration, but because college students tend to support raising the minimum wage. We believed that educating students about the real effects of minimum wage would both shock them and make them reconsider their economic beliefs.

We also set up the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, because we found in previous activism events that students on the LSU campus are curious as to where they stand on the political spectrum. The test is also a good attention-getter. 

We found that many students were surprised by the effect of the minimum wage. They were surprised that minimum wage actually makes it harder for them to find a job, and that it has a disastrous effect on the economy. Many remarked that the arguments we presented made sense, once they thought about it. 

We invited students over to next week’s YAL meeting, where we showed a PowerPoint presentation explaining further the detrimental effects of minimum wage. After the presentation, we allowed everyone at the meeting to discuss minimum wage. 

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