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Reblogged:Is There Now a De Facto $15 Minimum Wage?

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A piece at Issues and Insights describes a provision in the CARES relief act that will make economic recovery from the lockdowns more difficult in multiple ways. "New York Sen. Chuck Schumer was right to call this 'unemployment on steroids,'" the piece notes of the unemployment rate, which will incentivize not returning to work in any locale whose minimum wage isn't at least $15 per hour.

Issues and Insights quotes the following from the Wall Street Journal:

waiting_for_election_time.jpg
A welfare-state politician, lying in wait for election time, after passage of the CARES Act. (Image by David Clode, via Unsplash, license.)
Tracy Jackson, 50, of Nacogdoches, Texas, started receiving unemployment benefits after losing her job as a cook at a college. Her benefits total $1,200 every two weeks, almost twice what she would earn on the job.

She wants to return to work, but being stuck at home has given her time to reflect. The extra money she receives in unemployment benefits has made her conclude she had been underpaid at her previous job, earning $10.30 an hour after five years.

"I like the college, I really do," she said. "But they're going to have to come with more money. If they don't, I'm not going to be there."
The article elaborates a bit further on the economic and possible political consequences of this latest attempt by the Democrats to not "allow a crisis go to waste" -- or as a normal and decent person might put it, to kick us while we are (locked) down.

-- CAV

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It's ridiculous that her job pays that poorly. If they can't afford decent quality well paid staff maybe they shouldn't be in business? 

Rearden shouldn't subsidise Boyle and employees are not there to bankroll and prop up unviable businesses. 

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8 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

It's ridiculous that her job pays that poorly. If they can't afford decent quality well paid staff maybe they shouldn't be in business? 

You should read Atlas Shrugged.

 

A job does not pay poorly, in a free society it generally pays what the market will bear, and particularly what the parties agree to.

 

As for whether they "should be in business", in a free society a business will be in business as long as it stays in business.

 

If I had to speculate, the facts were:

some of the college kids ate the food that was cooked by the cook and paid the price charged, and the price included many costs including the raw materials and food, refrigeration and cooking power, and the salaries of all the staff, including cleaners, till clerks, and the cooks.  I'll speculate that the cook received a potion of that money and went to work in exchange.

Now the facts are:

The government is paying the cook to stay home at a ridiculous surplus in comparison to what she was paid at her previous chosen work as a cook.

8 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

Rearden shouldn't subsidise Boyle and employees are not there to bankroll and prop up unviable businesses. 

Voluntary transactions are not subsidies.  Employees cannot bankroll or prop up any business, they negotiate for what they can get in view of current employee market conditions.  Just like goods, employment is costed based on supply and demand.  The number of people capable of and trained to be brain surgeons is much rarer than the number of people capable of and trained to be a college cafeteria cook.

 

This last post makes you sound like a troll... careful... lest your nature be misinterpreted or alternatively, lest your cover be blown.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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47 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Voluntary transactions are not subsidies.

They can be actually. To subsidize means basically to provide financial support. Financial support through public funds is not the only meaning of subsidize.

9 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

It's ridiculous that her job pays that poorly. If they can't afford decent quality well paid staff maybe they shouldn't be in business? 

I think many libertarian minded people have a genuine hard time understanding that just because something is a voluntary market transaction does not mean that transaction is morally good. It is also possible to accept a transaction without endorsing the transaction as completely fair, especially in the short term. I think this especially applies to internships.

Generally, I think paying employees what looks to be very small wages is often due to the employer failing to acknowledge the value that an employee provides. Suppose I hire an employee for $10 an hour, and they would accept it. If I hire them for $15 an hour, they would accept it. An employer has to make a decision about the wage they want to pay above the bare minimum that the employee would accept. I don't imagine that the moral way to make this calculation is simply to figure out what is the lowest wage that the employee would accept. The moral way to make this calculation is to think about the value that an employee provides - not merely the monetary value. 

As far as full-time employees, at really any job, I can't see a reason to say that an employee should be paid less than $15 an hour. That is, a full-time employer should have enough respect for their employee that they pay a living wage. 

This is just a long way to say that I agree with you. I mean, they might be financially viable businesses, but I wouldn't call them morally viable. 

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Oh thank you for the warning. 

The business that doesn't pay enough will never retain quality staff and will not provide suitable financial value for people to put the effort in. I prefer not to be served by poor quality incompetents. Why exactly do you think that employees will give their all and their loyalty to an exploitative employer? Charity? Altruism? During Covid my employers have had the loyalty and diligence of our team because we are paid fairly and treated well. We are all on message as to what we want to achieve and individual excellence is recognised and rewarded. 

I think you are working under the mistaken belief that A. I haven't read Atlas Shrugged. I have. B. That anyone who is an egoist and subscribes to some of Rand's ideas must necessarily agree with you. C. That a workers wage is somehow something that can be rock bottom and that the lack of sufficient value from some employers in trade with their employees (effort expended and work and thought for £s) will not lead to the medium to long term death of that business as their business will be poor quality. Unless they are paying in experience and training their employee needs to find a better job? 

I don't agree with you. The question isn't whether I am a troll, I am not. It is whether you are Objectivist and Egoist enough to be able to live with that fact. 

Yes I enjoy Rand's books and her philosophy is useful in my goals but unless you are looking for an echo chamber for people who think as you do and nothing else then it doesn't encourage debate or indeed any point in a forum or discussion at all. 

I'm fine with being banned since my conscience is entirely clear that I wasn't seeking an argument and simply called it as I saw it. 

Hopefully you will live.

Go ahead. Do it. 

I've met some lovely people on here and really enjoyed their posts and poetry but feh, you called me a troll, unlike the tightass failing employers you are so keen to support put your money where your mouth is. 

In fact I'm gone. I will save you the trouble. Its not worth my time. I thought Boydstun was charming incidentally and want to reassure him I wasn't seeking crap but here it is. 

Edited by Lawrence Edward Richard

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2 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

Oh thank you for the warning. 

The business that doesn't pay enough will never retain quality staff and will not provide suitable financial value for people to put the effort in. I prefer not to be served by poor quality incompetents. Why exactly do you think that employees will give their all and their loyalty to an exploitative employer? Charity? Altruism? During Covid my employers have had the loyalty and diligence of our team because we are paid fairly and treated well. We are all on message as to what we want to achieve and individual excellence is recognised and rewarded. 

I think you are working under the mistaken belief that A. I haven't read Atlas Shrugged. I have. B. That anyone who is an egoist and subscribes to some of Rand's ideas must necessarily agree with you. C. That a workers wage is somehow something that can be rock bottom and that the lack of sufficient value from some employers in trade with their employees (effort expended and work and thought for £s) will not lead to the medium to long term death of that business as their business will be poor quality. Unless they are paying in experience and training their employee needs to find a better job? 

I don't agree with you. The question isn't whether I am a troll, I am not. It is whether you are Objectivist and Egoist enough to be able to live with that fact. 

Yes I enjoy Rand's books and her philosophy is useful in my goals but unless you are looking for an echo chamber for people who think as you do and nothing else then it doesn't encourage debate or indeed any point in a forum or discussion at all. 

I'm fine with being banned since my conscience is entirely clear that I wasn't seeking an argument and simply called it as I saw it. 

Hopefully you will live.

Go ahead. Do it. 

I've met some lovely people on here and really enjoyed their posts and poetry but feh, you called me a troll, unlike the tightass failing employers you are so keen to support put your money where your mouth is. 

In fact I'm gone. I will save you the trouble. Its not worth my time. I thought Boydstun was charming incidentally and want to reassure him I wasn't seeking crap but here it is. 

Ok teasing out everything which has been objectively asserted here will not be easy.. but I will try to address the salient arguments insofar as they are present.

2 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

The business that doesn't pay enough will never retain quality staff and will not provide suitable financial value for people to put the effort in.

True

2 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

I prefer not to be served by poor quality incompetents.

Makes sense.

2 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

Why exactly do you think that employees will give their all and their loyalty to an exploitative employer? Charity? Altruism?

Agreed.  An employee who reflects and realizes that they can do better than the low quality work they are paid for they will seek a better position that asks more of them.

2 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

During Covid my employers have had the loyalty and diligence of our team because we are paid fairly and treated well. We are all on message as to what we want to achieve and individual excellence is recognised and rewarded. 

That makes perfect sense.

2 hours ago, Lawrence Edward Richard said:

That a workers wage is somehow something that can be rock bottom and that the lack of sufficient value from some employers in trade with their employees (effort expended and work and thought for £s) will not lead to the medium to long term death of that business as their business will be poor quality. Unless they are paying in experience and training their employee needs to find a better job? 

I never said voluntary transactions lead infallibly to long term results.  Either or both parties can make a bad decision for the long term relationship or business, whether that is underpayment or overpayment for the work.

 

The point is that $10 an hour is a reflection on the value of the work determined by the free market.  It would be a "poor" offer, if skilled, loyal, cooks would not work for that kind of money and provide quality service.  Poor offers get turned down.  IT would not be a poor offer to an unskilled but honest worker who needs that kind of money.

Now what ends up happening in reality is that there are in fact a whole spectrum of cooks, from people barely able to warm up a frozen meal, to high end Michelin restaurants where chefs have trained for decades and serve the richest people in the world for their culinary delights.  With this is of course the stratification into a broad spectrum, of places to eat, from hotdog stands to cafeterias, to fast food joints, cafés, pubs, up through all grades of restaurants.

 

In the end, the places, the food, the service, all match what the vast variety of clientele want, I.e. what each of those multiple markets will bear.  Since we have all manner of people, with differing tastes, difference levels of wealth and different wants and needs as regards to eating out versus cooking at home, we potentially have every possible kind of establishment offering up every kind of food/cooking delivery service for every price imaginable... or we would if we lived in a free society.

Students or poor people who might not have time to cook for themselves, or for whatever reason would like to or need to eat out on a more regular basis represents a huge market for cheap eateries.  Those establishments which can operate at the lowest possible price points can fill in this natural part of the demand market, but they can only operate in those markets when they are free to do so.  Minimum wage laws prevents these operations to the extent that the final price of the food rises above the price demands of those markets.

So one of the effects of minimum wage laws is to artificially price lower skilled work out of the reach of those who might otherwise be able to afford it, and instead of a robust economy providing the most possible variety to all on the spectrum it ends up pitting poor and middle class folks against each other and pricing the lowest out of enjoyment and in some cases completely out of work.

 

As for the morality of minimum wage laws the answer is simple... minimum wage laws are immoral because they constitute the initiation of force, and does not constitute its just use in answer to the initiation of force.

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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The assertion is that $10 an hour is not a proper reflection of the value that a cook for a college provides. Perhaps the worker should assert themselves more, but that doesn't change the fact that the employer does not seem to actually be taking into account the value that the cook provides. 

Of course there are different skill levels, but that's not an issue. The question is if a college cook (which generally doesn't require very much skill at cooking) should be paid at less than $15 an hour. The de facto minimum-wage. I don't want to patronize you SL, but it seems like you don't want to discuss the more nuanced details of determining the wage that an employer wants to pay. Why not delve into those issues? 

Caring about the well-being of workers and properly gauging the wage you will pay is not limited to socialists and communists. 

Edited by Eiuol

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10 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

you don't want to discuss the more nuanced details

Really?

You make a bald assertion:

11 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

$10 an hour is not a proper reflection of the value that a cook for a college provides

with no evidence whatsoever.

 

I argue that the "right" wage is generally the one that gets agreed to in a free market.  And of course it will vary depending upon the nature of the particular cafeteria and the rationality of the employer and the cook... but absent any "evidence" of some "intrinsic" "right" wage, first principles reveal that:

the only way to know in what ballpark the "right" wage is IN, is to see what happens in a free market.

 

Subjective "revelations", pronouncements, or assertions will not divine it.

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1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

You make a bald assertion:

If you don't see it, fine. It's because your points are pretty trivial so far. The reason is that you have not brought up any arguments about what an employer should pay. "What the market can bear" is not an answer, because the question is about morality. 

1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

with no evidence whatsoever.

I explained in the first post I made. To elaborate more, $15 is the lowest I would go to pay any full-time employee because I want to acknowledge that their work is important, and I care enough about them as a worker that I want them to at least get by. Part of this is psychological well-being, and wanting them to stick around. I don't need to squeeze them as tight as possible, because in the long run, it's important that your employees are well. To pay them any less would be to say that you don't think their work is important enough to even sustain their life at a minimum level. Some jobs are like that, but if you want someone full-time, you are asking them to devote enough time and effort that they really can't have other jobs. If the job is not worth that much, it should be part-time, or if they are not competent, just fire them. 

An employer attempting to pay them less than $15 an hour reflects ignorance of how to determine the wage of a worker, or at worst deliberately paying less than you would think they are worth. To think of it another way: if you truly think an employee is worth $15 an hour, but you know they would say yes if you offered them $10 an hour, is it moral to offer them $10 an hour? 

LER gave additional reasons like employee loyalty. Employees like to feel valued, and they like to be valued. An employer, even though they are doing most of the mental labor which I think is worth a lot more, relies on these employees to do good business.

1 hour ago, StrictlyLogical said:

the only way to know in what ballpark the "right" wage is IN, is to see what happens in a free market.

And once you find the ballpark, there is still more work to do to determine what *you* think their labor is worth. 

LER and I don't see a reason that a full-time employee should be valued at less than $15 an hour. If you can think of a good reason why someone might want to value an employee lower than that, please give that example. 

I've had employees for various reasons, so it's not like I'm making all this up. It might seem like I'm some random guy on the Internet, but these considerations have had bearing during my life. And as an employee, I've effectively negotiated my wage (actually, it was negotiating my hours so that I lead my life in a more efficient way) based on recognizing when my employer failed to fairly judge my value. Judging when you are not being paid enough, or paid properly, requires making some moral judgment about your employer. 

Edited by Eiuol

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10 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I think many libertarian minded people have a genuine hard time understanding that just because something is a voluntary market transaction does not mean that transaction is morally good. It is also possible to accept a transaction without endorsing the transaction as completely fair, especially in the short term.

The terms used sometimes confuse the subject, as in "completely fair" vs. "fair" vs. "moral".

One fundamental problem is that if you objectively as a third person look at many transactions, you will see that one person gets more value than the other. Frequently!! You can conclude that most transactions are unfair.

What makes it fair, or just, or enforceable is the fact that there was an unforced agreement, a voluntary one.

The "agreement" is what makes it voluntary. Voluntary meaning "not tricked into it" or not threatened by the other party into it. 

We are not born with the ability to make the best transaction all the time, we learn to make better and better ones. Some people have low self esteem and are consistently taken advantage of. In many of these cases, resentment builds and they will not transact anymore. 

The example you bring up is more about what is workable or practical or a best practice for one of the transactors. To observe the other person and IF a long term relationship is desired to make sure that the other person is satisfied as to not create problems later on. It is not about fairness, it is dealing with your own rational self interest (personal ethics).

But what if a rational person does business with an irrational person. Does the rational person have to determine what the irrational person should get? In most cases, it can't be done.

You may say that 15 dollars is what they should get, but then I think it should be 50.3425 dollars per hour. Why? It feels right to me.

Here you are controlling the process of transacting as a third person, as an authoritarian. Don't they have a right to be free to transact? Without you refereeing it? Or perhaps regulating it?

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10 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Here you are controlling the process of transacting as a third person, as an authoritarian. Don't they have a right to be free to transact? Without you refereeing it? Or perhaps regulating it?

What did I say that made you think I want to interfere? Everything I have said has been from the perspective of an employer, including determining the value of an employee, not from a disinterested perspective.

It seems to me that libertarian types often have a genuine difficult time understanding questions of morality in the marketplace. In turn, it makes it seem that anyone who suggests that a voluntary transaction is immoral is also suggesting government interference. 
 

You can answer my moral question if you want, but otherwise it seems like you aren't listening. 

Edited by Eiuol

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4 hours ago, Eiuol said:

You can answer my moral question if you want, but otherwise it seems like you aren't listening. 

The moral question is: What price should "it" be?

And the moral answer is: The price agreed to.

Why? Because value is not intrinsic. The result of the transaction determines the value. (or the potential transaction when appraising value).

Price cannot be determined by effort of the producer. If it is, one can build a sandcastle or an ice sculpture that took 2 days, and require payment when the sun took it away. After all, the effort was 2 days worth.

And, of course, price cannot be determined by "need" as it would mean enslavement of some by others. Therefore, the moral price SHOULD not (necessarily) be the price that would give the other person a minimum survivable life. It may be an aspiration, it would be nice for them to have a decent life, but it is not the necessary moral determinant of the price to be paid. If the payer feels bad if they don't pay what they "feel" is enough, they should pay it for their own satisfaction and long run benefit. But the right and wrong of "amount of value" between people is determined by the voluntary agreement.

There should be no guilt or shame ascribed to paying what the person will take unless you feel it will be a problem in long term for YOU. Considering them should be part of considering what will happen to YOU

Considering what will happen to you is NECESSARY. You need to do it. It is right, it is moral, it should be, you ought to do it! 

If it will not harm you (in the long run), you SHOULD pay the least they will agree to. 

If you don't, you did an immoral/altruistic act. (if you do it enough times, you lose opportunities and suffer the (natural) consequences).
 

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You already agreed that not all transactions are fair. You have also agreed that there are people who have been consistently taken advantage of. To be taken advantage of means that you have agreed to some deal. Is it moral to take advantage of people if they agree to it? I don't think so, and from what I can tell, you don't think so either.

I keep wanting to explain things, but I'm going to try to simplify this as much as I can. Any price negotiation first involves both parties, on their own end, getting some psychological sense of the monetary value involved. The employee needs to have some idea in their mind what the value of their labor is to themselves. The employer has in their mind and idea of the monetary value of the employee. Imagine the employee, perhaps from lack of self-esteem or some other personal issue, sees their work as only $10. You see the value of their work as $15. If you found out about their low self-esteem, would it be moral to take advantage of them and offer $10 an hour, which you don't even think is a wage the anyone should say yes to. Yes, such people actually exist. 

To simplify that: What if the least they agreed to was reached by taking advantage of them? Usually I think that the lowest wage someone agrees to is perfectly fine, but I also think there is a minimum threshold where going any lower means that you are trying to take advantage of someone, or extract more monetary value out of someone without looking at the employee as a whole.

You need to go back to my previous posts though. I was talking about full-time jobs, in America, and an explanation of why such employees should not be paid less than the bare minimum. I did not say that need was the basis of this calculation. I gave an explanation of what it would mean about the employer if they value their full-time employee less than the bare minimum of a survivable life. To add one more point, no full-time employees in the US should value their work as less than a living wage. 

You already know that I believe in rational self-interest, so you don't need to explain to me all the basics about context, doing what is best the long run, acting with regard for yourself first. 

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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Is it moral to take advantage of people if they agree to it? I don't think so, and from what I can tell, you don't think so either.

Agree to what? Robbery? Fraud? Cutting a horses head and putting it in their bed to get the deal? That type of (agreement) taking advantage is immoral. Why? Because it is not a voluntary agreement.

In a voluntary agreement, a transaction between two people, it is fair to take advantage (subjectively, in your own mind) as long as you have not tricked them, robbed them, or threatened them. To the best of their knowledge, they gave you a good deal. In fact it is your moral obligation to find your advantages and to "exploit" them.

Many times one gains an advantage without knowing it and finding out after the fact. Are you implying that you should go back and refund them the difference? No, a deal has to be a deal. If not ownership can't be determined. It was fair yesterday, it is not fair today.

Usually taking advantage is based on superior knowledge. You may know that if a seller had researched more, or waited longer, another buyer would have paid them more. It is to your benefit, and it is a moral requirement for you to be silent about the existence of your competition. It is the seller's responsibility to become more skilled at transacting and to find or create your competition just as it is your responsibility to find their competition to get a better deal.

As a store owner, you may know that the guy next door will sell the same thing for less. You may argue that the moral thing to do is to tell a prospective buyer. No the moral thing is to offer it, and if accepted by the buyer, take the money. Of course from a marketing standpoint, it is now to your self interest to drop the price because most people will do a little shopping.

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

You already know that I believe in rational self-interest, so you don't need to explain to me all the basics about context, doing what is best the long run, acting with regard for yourself first. 

The problem is that you are making Socialist arguments.You don't realize that you are in fact promoting needs based valuation. Based on that I can't know what you believe or don't so I have to emphasize the basics.

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

there is a minimum threshold

Based on what? According to whom? If the person refuses to go lower than an amount, then that is the threshold. Otherwise, you are talking intrincism implying there is a specific value emanating from the service offered or the goods that are offered (and everyone sees this specific value). 

3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

You already agreed that not all transactions are fair. You have also agreed that there are people who have been consistently taken advantage of.

To spell it out:

The unfairness I am talking about is a perspective of a third person with his own valuations. Rather than the valuation agreed to by the transactors.

Person X has ten oranges and person Y has ten apples.
X gives 2 oranges and gets 5 apples. 

  • You as a third person who likes apples more than oranges, will have the perspective that X took advantage of Y, even though between themselves, they are fine with the deal.
  • Or alternatively, based on equal amount based fairness, as a third person one could say it was not fair, it should have been 2 oranges for 2 apples.

But person Y likes oranges far more than apples. And person X is okay with it. Person X IS NOT obligated to tell Y, hey, let me give you two more so it is fair?

Successful business, and moral action, is in fact finding and taking advantage of these types of (supposedly unfair) advantages.

Finally, one of the highest virtues (rarely mentioned) in any human being is the act of "Shopping Around".

Edited by Easy Truth
multiple clarifications

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11 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Based on that I can't know what you believe or don't so I have to emphasize the basics.

You know plenty, we've had many conversations.
 

11 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

it is fair to take advantage (subjectively, in your own mind) as long as you have not tricked them, robbed them, or threatened them.

"Taking advantage of" is usually understood to mean "manipulating a person to get what you want". Not all manipulation is overt fraud - it can include trying to make people feel guilty, making fun of people, bullying, and so on. You even used the phrase "take advantage of" with the exact same meaning! It doesn't usually mean "taking an opportunity". So yeah, like you are saying, a deal is fine as long as you have not tricked them. You haven't disagreed with me. 

"Taking advantage" of another person in the sense of being more prepared is perfectly fine. I wouldn't say that you must be silent about your competition (side argument that I don't think is worth pursuing, but there are actually benefits to mentioning competition), but we aren't talking about prices of things anyway. We have been talking about wages. There is more to the calculation here than acquiring an object. In effect, it's an ongoing deal. If you want a full-time employee, it's critical to treat them according to the value you esteem them to be. If anything, it would not be hard to realize that paying a living wage is great for company morale, as was mentioned earlier. 

Go back to my argument and take it apart. I definitely don't want to be making a "need" argument. The way I see it, need arguments are when you would say "you should give them $15 an hour because they need it", and nothing more than that. My position is that any full-time employee is worth $15 an hour. Why are they worth $15 an hour? Because when you ask someone to be a full-time employee, you were asking them to put other things aside to work for you. If you pay them less than that, you are guaranteeing that they will need another job past the number of hours someone can even work effectively. For one, this is bad for your business because they are less effective employees. Second, it is also bad for your general valuation of people, and you would have a hard time retaining employees at the upper end of your company, like software engineers or research scientists. 
 

 

Edited by Eiuol

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3 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Why are they worth $15 an hour? Because when you ask someone to be a full-time employee, you were asking them to put other things aside to work for you. If you pay them less than that, you are guaranteeing that they will need another job past the number of hours someone can even work effectively.

Guaranteeing they will need another job?  Ooops there's that n-word ... "NEED"

 

Hogwash.

You base your entire argument re. $15 upon nothing but a subjective whim, an arbitrary edict, as all proponents of minimum wage do.

 

Who decides what kind of food, (basic or fancy), what kind of shelter (living alone in a mansion, or in an apartment with 6 others), what kind of clothing (basic or brand-name), what kind of leisure activities and luxuries (smart phones, movies, game consoles, cigarettes, booze, junk food, etc.) are "necessary" to a person's "need" of a certain wage or number of jobs?

 

What about an intelligent industrious 13 year old hoping to become a doctor.  What is wrong with him starting with summer employment in a kitchen because he has in an interest in cooking - say at $3-$5 an hour?  He has no expenses at all and he might find that very much "worth" it while being very worthy and good at it, maybe he'll take the job for the experience only, or the odd cookie.

...and wouldn't responsible parents want their children to learn the importance of employment at an early age, to learn that as adults they will not be "entitled" to get anything from anyone except by voluntary trade?

 

What about a young trade college student with flexible hours, already on a scholarship or funded by parents, wanting to do a little work on the side.  Who's to tell him he cant accept a $3-$5 an hour job if that is all he is currently good for?

What about a "failure... to launch" adult who lives with his parents or lives with 6 room-mates, and the household costs to him are so low he is nowhere near "needing" a second job?

What about an honest hard working person willing to take two jobs but looking to move up in value so that one day they can stick with one?

Who should decide that a person "should" only have one job?

Who should decide how many hours a week a person is allowed to devote to productive money earning work? 

What about an unskilled wife or (an unskilled husband for that matter) of a professional who wants to do something and is willing to work for $3-$5 as a cook?

Who should decide how much a couple "should" earn, or how many jobs a couple "should" have?

 

Moral wage rates include everything, right down to $0 where volunteers are willing to work in exchange only for the experience of working.  And I'll tell you who should decide the rates, the employer and the potential employee, and given their specific circumstances either the employee will accept the job for a wage which is also acceptable to the employer, or they will part ways.

THAT is moral.

 

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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Can you read the rest of the paragraph before immediately compiling your response? I really don't know how you got from "if a person is paid less than living wage, then they would need another job" to "you should pay them enough so that they only need one job". The second part of my argument is that "they would be less effective workers", it has nothing to do with making a calculation based on their need. 
My basis is that they would be less effective workers. If you don't think it's true that they would be less effective workers, then make that argument. 

I said multiple times that my context is "full-time employees in the US". A summer vacation job in a kitchen is more than likely a part-time job. But anyway, even if the kid was okay with that, if it was a full-time job, yes, I think the kid should be paid $15 an hour. If I were the employer, I would pay the kid $15 an hour if it was full-time. 
 

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Who's to tell him he cant accept a $3-$5 an hour job if that is all he is currently good for?

Well yeah, I never argued that someone should not be allowed to accept any job at any wage they want. Besides, the job is probably part-time. If it was full-time, I would advise the student to look for a better job where his employee appreciates him or ask for a better wage. 

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

What about a "failure... to launch" adult who lives with his parents or lives with 6 room-mates, and the household costs to him are so low he is nowhere near "needing" a second job?

What about him? I would still value his work at $15 an hour if we are talking about a job like in the article. Because my valuation of full-time labor isn't based on need.

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

What about an honest hard working person willing to take two jobs but looking to move up in value so that one day they can stick with one?

I would advise them to negotiate a better wage based on being underappreciated, or else they should leave that company. 

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Who should decide that a person "should" only have one job?

I didn't make a claim about how many jobs a person should have. They can have as many as they want, and this is morally fine.

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Who should decide how many hours a week a person is allowed to devote to productive money earning work? 

I didn't make a claim about how many hours a week someone is allowed to devote to their work. They can work as many as they want, and this is morally fine.

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Who should decide how much a couple "should" earn, or how many jobs a couple "should" have?

I didn't make a claim about how much a couple should earn or should have. I don't really care what they need.

2 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

And I'll tell you who should decide the rates, the employer and the potential employee,

Definitely. I've been saying this the whole time. But morally speaking, an employer should not take advantage of their employees or potential employees. An employer should pay their employees what they think their employees are worth also. As long as there is no manipulation, it's all good. 

I'm wondering, have you ever had a job where you felt underappreciated so you quit or decided to look for another job?

Edited by Eiuol

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12 hours ago, Eiuol said:

If you pay them less than that, you are guaranteeing that they will need another job past the number of hours someone can even work effectively. For one, this is bad for your business because they are less effective employees. Second, it is also bad for your general valuation of people, and you would have a hard time retaining employees at the upper end of your company, like software engineers or research scientists. 

Notice the phrases

  • this is bad for your business
  • less effective employees
  • you would have a hard time retaining employees

These all refer to long term self interest of the employer and would be a valid moral reason to pay enough to prevent the particular problem with a particular employee.

But a minimum wage is not about a particular employee, it is a blanket policy regarding all potential employees, good, bad, deserving or undeserving.

There are more details. The words advantage and manipulation similar to the word selfishness has a reflexive negative connotation.
And comparable to selfishness, manipulation has multiple connotations too.

Basically, there are two types of manipulation. There is the type that is aggression (immoral), the type that takes away the other person's ability to voluntarily make a choice.

The other type of manipulation is "persuasion". When you convince someone with valid understandable facts. It is the "okay" version, the legitimate type. In business the saying is "successful communication is successful manipulation".

"Morally speaking", a person, should take advantage of their opportunities. An opportunity usually is an advantage. If the opportunity is immoral, then it involves aggression, threat, fraud, or robbery and would be immoral. If the other party has less negotiation skills, or less choices, there is no blanket overall moral directive, duty or principle that the advantage must be forfeited.

As to the statement regarding advantage if some changes were made (would like to know your objections):

"Morally speaking, an employer should not take "immoral" advantage of their employees or potential employees. That would at least  indicate what kind of advantage referred to.

But as it stands, it is a blanket moral statement that by default includes all types of taking advantage (aggression or non).

Another way would be if one says "an employer should not take advantage of their employees or potential employees in a particular situation where it is not to their own long term interest", it could work too, again not a blanket statement. 

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I mean, I don't disagree with anything you wrote, I was trying to convey at least the same thing in the previous post directed at you. Not all immoral forms of manipulation are aggression though.

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10 hours ago, Eiuol said:

Not all immoral forms of manipulation are aggression though.

I argue the opposite. All immoral manipulation is aggression. Otherwise it is not immoral. Aggression is the differentiation (and the immorality). It also indicates that Immoral manipulation is a subspecies of agression.

23 hours ago, Eiuol said:

make people feel guilty, making fun of people, bullying, and so on.

The key to identification of aggression is if the act causes the other person to lose their natural and necessary survival faculties. If you prevent them from seeing, knowing, analysing, that is agression. Fraud is causing them to "know" what is NOT true, or preventing them from knowing what they would have naturally known without another's interference.

There may be individual case judgement necessary rather than blanket rules. Bullying may be agression if the person is purposefully persuaded to think there is a gun to their head and can't make a proper decision. Terror has to be judged in a case by case basis as some things would terrify someone and not another.

If it is clear that the employer is actively and overwhelmingly confusing someone to get a deal it would be immoral. Otherwise if the employee is very afraid of their future of not having the job, the employer's offer is moral and the final contract is moral.

In other words, agression is not just physical force. It would include inserting a drug someone's in drink to get them to do what they would not normal choose to do.

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7 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

All immoral manipulation is aggression.

Examples of (immoral) manipulation that aren't aggression:

"You are a lazy bum, you better take this job if you know what's good for you, no one else would take you on. Everyone knows you are a worthless employee, so you should be grateful that I'm giving you $5 to work full-time."

"You have to take this job, your family needs it. You should feel bad if you don't take the job, even if you don't like it. Your family needs it. You owe it to them."

"But I need you to work for me! Don't you care about me? I can't afford to pay that. In difficult times like this, we need to make sacrifices for each other. You should make some sacrifices for me. Wouldn't you feel bad if you cause my business to fail?"

 

 

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1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

"You are a lazy bum, you better take this job if you know what's good for you, no one else would take you on. Everyone knows you are a worthless employee, so you should be grateful that I'm giving you $5 to work full-time."

This is browbeating, shaming, guilt inducing but it does not eliminate the other person's ability to judge, to think, to choose. If this is aggression then there would be no free speech.

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

"You have to take this job, your family needs it. You should feel bad if you don't take the job, even if you don't like it. Your family needs it. You owe it to them."

This is an attempt at persuasion. Am I missing something? If it were true of course there it would be perfectly ok. If it were untrue, only if there is a power relationship, a overwhelming dependency, this would be okay.

1 hour ago, Eiuol said:

"But I need you to work for me! Don't you care about me? I can't afford to pay that. In difficult times like this, we need to make sacrifices for each other. You should make some sacrifices for me. Wouldn't you feel bad if you cause my business to fail?"

Peter Keating's mother perhaps. It certainly is ugly.

One could also claim that these actions are agression. Except they don't remove the (victim) person's capability to judge.

It seems like you are saying that "ugly", distasteful interactions, someone yelling without a proper reason, would be immoral. Immoral in the sense of inappropriate, uncalled for, unwanted.

If so, then I would be wrong. This could be true if we take immoral to mean those things. I don't have an objection.

But Objectivism may have an issue with it as I think in OPAR, Peikoffs defines morality to deal with important issues, not pedantic ones. I don't know what the threshold is.

But bottom line, in all these cases, is the supposed victim not responsible for the next decision that they will make? Based on the interaction. Are they influenced in such a manner they are rendered incapable of making an objectively good decision?

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1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

This is an attempt at persuasion. Am I missing something?

I don't think guilt tripping is much of the moral thing to do, that's all. It could be just persuasion, but I would say that if someone thinks those guilt tripping points are valid, they are trying to use an altruistic basis of morality. I think that trying to go below $15 an hour is a lot like the first or third example. On the one hand, using one's own judgment to figure out a general range about the worth of someone's work, but at the same time deliberately trying to convince a person to trade a greater value for a lesser value (for all the reasons I stated earlier). In other words, asking a person to sacrifice themselves to you. This applies to the de facto minimum-wage because I don't see any good reason to say that a full-time employee is worth less than $15 an hour. (Emphasis on de facto, as in there is no legal consequence). 

 

1 hour ago, Easy Truth said:

But Objectivism may have an issue with it as I think in OPAR, Peikoffs defines morality to deal with important issues, not pedantic ones. I don't know what the threshold is.

I would say the purpose of morality deals with important issues like life. Living a good life requires a certain moral character. By living life with a good moral character, moral action will show even through minor day-to-day actions. I'm not familiar with the passage you are talking about, so I can't comment on that. 

 

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Fraud, when it comes to breach of contract, is consider to be an indirect initiation of force.

What is the purpose of a guilt trip for earned guilt versus unearned guilt?

 

Eiuol, how much are you getting paid per hour to employ on Mr. Veskler's behalf your moderation skills for the Objectivism Online forum?

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