The standard of living is not raised by arbitrary laws and decrees imposing higher wage rates, but by the rise in the productivity of labor, which increases the supply of goods relative to the supply of labor and thus reduces prices relative to wage rates, and thereby allows prices to rise by less than wages when the quantity of money and volume of spending in the economic system increase.
@thatguyoverthere This ignores how the extraction of profit works. Think about minimum wage as a lower boundary of existence. If your business isn't able to provide that, it simply cannot be profitable and shouldn't exist without further innovation (and that's thinking inside the boundaries of capitalism)
@thatguyoverthere Obviously, minimum wage is not a silver bullet. What's needed is a way to secure every member of society a decent standard of living, including housing, nutrition and access to clean water and air
@thatguyoverthere This is a thing that has always interested me. If we, as a society, are able to produce more food/housing/whatever than the combined needs of everyone in society, how is it possible that there are still starving/homeless people?
If you ask me, the most productive solution to this problem isn't to just keep incrementing the number of dollars and cents people are earning; it's to evaluate why the value of those dollars and cents keeps going down. What forces are causing our money to drop in value and causing poverty?
@waweic why is it the governments job to determine that lower boundary of existence? Why not let the market decide. If you offer someone a wage they can as a free agent decide whether or not the juice is worth the squeeze.
@thatguyoverthere This is the interesting thing. Making very little money is better than making no money at all. So if you need the money to survive, you really have no option but to take a job, even if it pays less then you actually need. "The market" (which is another word for the employers in this case) will always go for the option to pay their workers the least possible amount of money, even if it's too little to sustain their existence
@waweic It's not the responsibility of an employer to ensure that the employee has all of their needs met. It's a contract. The employee isn't the employer's pet, child, or property. I agree to give you my time for an agreed upon price. If that price doesn't improve my status I will use that time to find something that does.
With less government intervention creating a business and working for yourself would be easier.
As long as I am free I will not allow another person to starve me to death.
@thatguyoverthere Your privilege stinks so far that I can smell it here! And I am not even in the US. Have you EVER considered, that there may human beings, who are not able to work for more than a minimum wage? Or are not able to work at all? For reasons beyond their power, like poor parents, being discriminated against, being Black, being a woman, being disabled...?
@waweic The final paragraph in the open letter I linked to early really says what I think better than I can word it myself:
The principle here is that we need to look to greater economic freedom, not greater government intervention, as the path to economic improvement for everyone, especially the poor.
Minimum wage should be zero.
There should be no minimum wage.
Employees and Employers can sort out what a fair wage is for work.
We're all adults.
I don't trust the government to make these decisions. They have no idea of the specific needs of an individual.
Not all "jobs" are worth a "living wage".
Some people don't need a "living wage" as defined by anyone but their own standards.
You could also say it's an argument for doing meaningful work where you provide a good or service to your community, instead of simply turning a crank to get paid.
Interestingly enough, people get discouraged by this machine, but they don't mind sitting for hours and hours in front of slot machines, where the payout is even less.
@Wylsym Then your minimum wage is broken. The absolute amount is not important. What's important to have all the necessities (food, shelter, clothes etc) and if you can take part in society (culture, education etc). The necessary amount depends on the area and it is not really possible to compare it, except if it is enough to meet the requirements I wrote before.
Congratulation. You made an ekvivalent of a government job.
Pointless, taking money from others and generating 0 value. Great argument to finally kill off all of the administrative bloat.
> This is genius! [image of an art installation that allows people to turn a crank to earn minimum wage]
This is quite interesting. Do you know any of the details about where this exhibit was installed? I'm kind of surprised that they didn't have more takers – I've lived a privileged life, and there were still periods where I probably would have turned that crank if that machine were in a local park.
I'm curious if it was in a museum, and if it charged admission
@codesections It was part of an exhibition in the mid 1990s in New York. I have no further info if it was on display anywhere else.
There was a similar piece in Portland, OR in the 90s where a person could push a button and get a nickel, but limited to the rate at which minimum wage paid out $0.05.
My friend went to see it a few times, the final occasion was when she actually needed change to make a phone call, but the machine had run out of nickels and had a sign hung on it announcing layoffs.
certainly the larger treadmills and hard labour (such as breaking rocks) were clearly also used for that purpose; but this was also an era where the death penalty still existed but wasn't used as much for minor crimes (compared to previous centuries).
As recently as the 1990s those who ended up in the same place as Oscar Wilde (HMP/HMYOI Reading) ended up refilling toner cartridges for Hewlett Packard..
A lot of these devices (as well as the concept of the Panopticon) seemed to have been introduced by "reformers" as a purported improvement on prisoners just being left to sit around (and that many /would/ one day be released)..
Interestingly the same crank setup is being marketed as a fitness improvement tool online!
@LittleAlex Yes! Where I live it has adjustes for inflation to 12 USD, but not in some places. RAISE MINIMUM WAGE
I'd think that a more difficult job may be more encouraging than mindless crank turning.
@LittleAlex I'm not sure this would convince anyone that is not already convinced. The conservatives would simply répond low wage encourage to work harder to climb de social ladder and stimulate competition between individuals which stimulates innovation and blah blah blah.
And then you're back to human science — which no-one listens because no-one takes them seriously and everyone has an opinion on them — trying to demonstrate this is not true and this doesn't work.
@LittleAlex that is flawed. They need to at least attach a generator to that and produce a little electricity.
@OscillatingAgama I don't know where you come from but at least here in Germany it is illegal to have slave contracts.
@LittleAlex Anyone who thinks about this topic a bit, except those who likes violence. It's a policy achieved by police enforcement. It's a modernist utilitarian idea.
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