real cost of labor per unit of output, thus pricing workers out of such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 1990 Cleanrnwork. Air Act, and recent civil rights legislation all hae provisionsrnThe recent stagnation in American labor markets is largely that will probably lower the productivity of labor, raising realrnattributable to rising labor costs associated with government wages per unit of output and pricing some labor out of thernpolicies. Not only has government directly contributed to market. To illustrate, suppose the disabilities statute is interhigherrncosts by increasing the minimum wage, it has indirect- preted to mean that aisles on buses must be wide enough tornIv raised labor costs bv extending unemployment insurance accommodate a wheelchair. Suppose that now new buses canrnbenefits (as of this writing) some three times in less than 18 only sit three persons across vvlicreas previously they seatedrnmonths. Receiving in many cases $200 or more in weekly four. The productivity of bus dri crs may thereby be reducedrnbenefits for ocr a year, unemployed workers become finicky by upwards of 25 percent. This may force higher fares, causernabout accepting job opportunities, hi the jargon of economists, declining passenger volume, and lead to a layoff of bus dricrs.rntheir “reservation” (minimally accepted) wage has risen. This hi short, the l^cst thing the government can do for milihasrnpushed up wages and led to fewer workers being hired. tary personnel and workers in defense plants is to leave themrnEen more threatening to defense workers worried about and the markets in which they compete alone. History tells usrnlosing their jobs is the potentially adverse effects of new regu- that interfering in the markets will likeh create, not eliniilatorrninitiatives. For labor to receive both higher real wages nate, unemployment. The invisible hand of the labor marketrnand greater job opportunities, the productivity of labor must has historically done a remarkably effective job in absorbingrnrise. Kach widget-maker must make more widgets per hour if millions of Americans into civilian jobs, and it can do thernthe standard of living is to rise. Well-intentioned legislation same today. crnClassical Civilizationrnby fared CarterrnEntrywavs, then, in courtyards—and the brick stairsrnup past the landings, the oak doors. Someone would bernexpecting you, would take your duffle coat, shake outrnyour umbrella, leave it there in the hallway to dry.rnI remember most the rooftops seen through the rain,rnthe dark slate glistening, the stone towers. Tea—rnor sometimes a glass of sherry—and then a few minutesrnto admire the iew, to look out over that sombre world.rnThere was alwav’s a windowseat, off the main room, withrnred leather cushions, and narrow mullions, and panesrnof spidery glass, or bull’s-eye, or perhaps a dragonrnpainted there, breathing sparks and fire into the gloom.rnWhat we said—what was being gone over, for the paperrnthat was due at the end of the term—all that mattered,rnonce, I suppose. There were things in the room, too,rnbooks on the coffee table, framed jjrints, Persian rugs—rnI could valk into that same room now, and pick them up.rntouch them, and nothing would be changed. It would bernthe same grey, even light through those windows, the talkrnstill the same, the eclecticism, the IcisurcK’ pace—rnI could overhear that conversation, it would seem to bernabout ideas, about things that needed to be done wellrnif done at all, about the right way to proceed—and yetrnnothing really happened, it was only an afternoon visit,rnsome others would be dropping around in a few minutes,rnwe might be meeting for dinner in another college, orrngoing out for Chinese food—a short stroll across the Greenoutrntogether, into the ecning, into the mist and rain.rnFEBRUARY 1993/27rnrnrn