Happy New Year! The January Philosophy Book of the Month is The Runaway Species. Discuss it now.
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Check out my recent blog post: A Minimum Wage Increase Will Not Help
Do you agree with me that minimum wage increases makes matters worse? Do you agree with me that we need to find a way to solve the underlying problem so that people can naturally earn a living wage without the government mandating it by law?
What do you think about minimum wages?
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The lack of a minimum wage leaves wages subject purely to market forces. While in principle this sounds marvellous, I don't think it works well in practice, at least not for those who are currently on the minimum wage. Without it, employers will set their wage levels at the lowest possible level attainable without inhibiting demand for labour in the prospective workforce. This lowest level will be subject to competition amongst the prospective workforce, until the wage offered reaches either a) a level equivalent to that offered by social security programmes (if they exist, and if they do they operate as a form of minimum wage) or b)subsistence level. I don't believe that this is desirable, and it has the ptential to harm those with dependents. The wage determined by the market might allow childless workers to get by, but those with children, elderly parents etc. will simply not have the money they need.
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The minium wage isn't the problem: its the livelihood of those under it. The amount of money they recieve is an abstract system designed to make sense of the world and better organize it, how they live with that amount of money isn't. If you increase it, it just means that the goods they produce will cost more because the amount of expected profit will decrease from those companies that work with people using minimum wage. Its profit that buffers the prices on goods that those people buy, and that's what should be regulated. Yes, every company needs profit to grow or they'll stagnate and die, but no one needs 90% profit margine to grow healthy, that's dangerous growth: untapped in a world were still not certian of its maximum occupancy for human kind. Should we regulate the profit, say no goods with a profit margine above like 10-30%, we can control growth and make sure no price gouging is in effect. A good might be worth only X in the real world, but people might easily be willing to pay Y>X to get it. This isn't efficient for large scale economies. That means that disproportionate money is going into a sector that doesn't need it. We might be paying $5 dollars a gallon, but that money (and in the real world, work for that money) could be put to better use in other sectors like science and medical research. I might be willing to pay Y, but if I pay X, then I can put Z to another place which needs it. We shouldn't have minimum wage because it will just change how much our currency is worth, not how much people can buy. The economic power has already been distrobuted, we have to make sure that at least the lowest can live a better life.