As populist anger sends politicians scrabbling for ways to help people who feel adrift in the modern economy, many are seizing on the same idea. Tuesday’s news that Germany is set to increase its minimum wage by 4% to €9.19 an hour is part of a global pattern. From the US to South Korea, policy makers are gambling that they can force up the pay of workers at the bottom of their labour markets, without doing more harm than good. So far, those bets are paying off handsomely. But while the minimum wage is working, it is not going to be enough. On its own, it is too thin an answer to the deep and messy problems that 21st century economies face. Germany’s experience showcases the policy’s benefits. In spite of warnings from businesses and economists that the move would cost jobs, Berlin introduced a minimum wage of €8.50 in 2015. Proponents argued that it would help the workers slipping through the cracks of an otherwise strong economy, particularly lower-skilled people in service sector...

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