And if minimum wage laws could explain a factor of ten, that would be wonderful -- an explosion of real income caused by forbidding certain transactions, and moreover by sheer act of Parliament.
Unhappily, the activities of governments are no such miracle workers. Courts, public health, some police, some armies, civil rights laws, and, until seized by bureaucracies and unions bent on lifetime employment and large pensions, public schools have been excellent ideas.
Yet the great bulk of modern enrichment has to be attributed to innovation. Only a tiny part -- if indeed it is positive for the poor as a whole -- can be put to the credit of government or unions in markets.