Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Living Wage Laws (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   
Author Topic: Living Wage Laws
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
http://www16.brinkster.com/puretext/essays/living%20wage%20laws.htm

That's a paper I'm writing for an ethics class. This whole class is outright kicking my butt. It's not hard, it's just... stupid. I'm having the hardest time figuring out what the actual requirements are.

Nevertheless, this is what's called a "progressive paper" and the progression is by no means complete, so the conclusion is crap. I'm bascially just supposed to discuss the pros and cons from the perspective of three different ethical theories. Please ignore the BS. I'd love to hear some comments, though

[This message has been edited by Kyle French (edited November 04, 2002).]


Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
crumb. I need a different link...
KB

Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Locus
Member
Member # 540

 - posted      Profile for Locus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Want to poste it in something a bit more open? Like maybe on the surface of a gold plate orbiting Jupiter?

(RTF or PDF would also be fine)


Posts: 678 | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Santa Monica is passing a "living wage" of minimum wage increase to 10.50 an hour.
Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
...like I could afford anything from Adobe.

ok. here's the new improved link: http://www16.brinkster.com/puretext/essays/living%20wage%20laws.htm


Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Santa Monica's in there
Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LadyKat
Member
Member # 821

 - posted      Profile for LadyKat   Email LadyKat   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I met someone named Kyle French once, where are you from if you don't mind me asking?
Posts: 98 | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Charlotte, NC, same as it says in my profile I don't think I ever met anyone named LadyKat, though.

KB

But I grew up in Oklahoma--all over that darn state.

[This message has been edited by Kyle French (edited November 04, 2002).]


Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LadyKat
Member
Member # 821

 - posted      Profile for LadyKat   Email LadyKat   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I went to a weekend at ORU and was part of an honors group. I adopted the nickname Kat in the Marine Corps, as a kid I was called Katie (Adams).

BTW I read your paper, food for thought.


Posts: 98 | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Yep. That would be me. We never did get that mailing list set up, did we?
Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LadyKat
Member
Member # 821

 - posted      Profile for LadyKat   Email LadyKat   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well hi again seven years later. Actually I did get an address list from Daniel, but I'm horrible at (conventional) mail.
Posts: 98 | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
maniacal_engineer
Member
Member # 116

 - posted      Profile for maniacal_engineer     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
from the referenced paper
quote:
One of these is Article 23:
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection
against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence
worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
How does right 1) get reconciled with right 4). The purpose of trade unions today is to deny by force anyone who wants to do the work for less than the union says you should be paid. that certainly is against the 'free choice of employment' listed earlier. I have a degree in Japanese and a masters in Mechanical Engineering. I have taught swimming, sprinboard diving, english conversation, and christian doctrine - both in English and in Japanese. Yet I am not allowed to teach in the monopoly public schools. the NEA ia against letting qualified non-credentialed professionals teach. I even offered to volunteer one period a day as a japanese teacher.
back to the living wage thing, an artificially high wage will not drive out restaraunts, because they are a location dependent business, same with janitorial services, grocery stores, and gas stations. But if I have a choice of locating say, an insurance agency, in or out of the city of Santa Monica it would be less of a factor. Myself and my agents would obviously make more than that, and you have to pay more than 10.50/hr to get a good receptionist. but the janitorial service that I use, and the restaraunts at which I(and my employees) eat will be more expensive in santa monica, so I will move across the street to LA (or whatever) and charge my customers less. if it is imposed nationally then the same will hold true, and jobs will migrate.
It will be very intersting to see what happens with Santa Monica in the near future, not to mention CA with the new paid family leave law.

Posts: 962 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LadyKat
Member
Member # 821

 - posted      Profile for LadyKat   Email LadyKat   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well hi again seven years later. Actually I did get an address list from Daniel, but I'm horrible at (conventional) mail.
Posts: 98 | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
M_E:
Good golly, man. Do you want my paper to be 10 pages longer? I am so not going to address the issue of right to work.

Nevertheless, shouldn't there be some kind of bar(nevermind where exactly that is) as to how little an employee may legally be paid? Should it be permissable, for instance, to pay janitors only $0.25 an hour in the US?


Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grant Morgan
Member
Member # 194

 - posted      Profile for Grant Morgan     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
How many adults are actually affected by minimum wage laws? Most of fast-food restaurants where I live pay a dollar or two above minimum wage, and are only able to attract the surliest of teenagers, and recent immigrants who barely speak English. And these guys are ALWAYS hiring. I'm sure there must be areas of the country where six and seven dollar an hour jobs aren't available for the asking, but I've never lived in one of them.

Of course, six or seven dollars an hour isn't a whole lot if you're trying to support a family.

Then again, I don't see many adult US citizens working those jobs. And seven dollars seems like plenty for a teenager. And it's apparently enough to make people leave their own countries in favor of ours.


Posts: 136 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
maniacal_engineer
Member
Member # 116

 - posted      Profile for maniacal_engineer     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think that practically speaking there is a bar on how little you can pay someoen and that bar is how little they are willing to accept.
It is interesting because there are people willing to do some work for free (movies etc) because of other perceived benefits. movies are also one of the more union controlled industries around. maybe we should start a whole new thread on unions.
but I have a real ethical problem with receiving compensation without creating value. If the job I am doing is only worth 6.50/hr, but I get 10.50/hr for it, aren't I stealing? In fact, I need to create more value than the wage I get or else there is no justification for my employer to risk capital to hire me.
It seems that a living wage law makes one better off at the expense of another and so it would be indeterminate from a utilitarian (?) point of view.
of course if you pay for the total utility then you will not be out anything, but you will have deprived yourself of the increased utility that could have accrued from using the differnce between marginal and total utility for some other purpose. iow if I pay based on marginal utility I will be paying less than if I pay based on total utility. the money I save can be used to hire someone else to do something else, resulting in more value created, more total utility.
I also have problems with telling someone that they CAN'T work (part of my problem w/ unions) My fist job was at 1.55/hr, below the then minimum wage of 2.50 (man I am soooo old) the 1.55 was better than nothing, but it gets left behind as soon as I can get something better.

[This message has been edited by maniacal_engineer (edited November 04, 2002).]


Posts: 962 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The value you create should be irrelevant to the agreement with your employer. If your employer "perceives" your value to be 10.00/ hour then that is what it is. The employer believes you are worth that much.

My question, instead of increasing minimum wage, why not use the additional 3.50 in Santa Monica for health insurance?

Who benefits from minimum wage?

[quote]Discussion of the distributional effects of the minimum wage have most often taken place in the context of the age of the workers. Recently, however, the debate has shifted to the family status of the workers. This paper provides the distribution of higher earnings from an increased minimum on these lines. Almost one third of the added earnings from a $5.15 minimum wage would flow to workers (teen and other workers) living with their parents. Single parents would receive less than 5 percent.

In contrast, single individuals without children living at home (not including those living with their parents) would receive more than 20 percent of the increased income.

For every dollar of higher earnings that this minimum wage increase would bestow on single parents, $4.50 would go to single individuals and $6.80 would go to children and other workers living in their parents' home. In fact, children and other workers living with their parents would receive more than twice as much extra income as would all families dependent on a single minimum wage worker.

From The Employee Policies institute 1995.

From the Pacific Research Institute

[quote]The President’s "millions" reduce to approximately 250,000 minimum wage-earning heads of households. No doubt there are, in fact, millions struggling to provide for their families, but only 250,000 earn minimum wage. A full 85.1% of those affected by the 1996 wage hike lived with their parents, were single and lived alone, had a working spouse, or were extended family members. This statistic alone reveals the ineffectiveness of minimum-wage policies in targeting poor families.


Not only is it inefficient, raising the minimum wage can also be detrimental. Michigan State University Economics Professor David Neumark, in testimony before Congress, confirmed economic consensus that even a 10% increase (Clinton proposes a 20% raise) reduces employment of minimum wage workers by one to two percent. This may seem small, until opportunity cost (the number of jobs not created because of the increase) is also taken into account. Low-skilled, adult workers are disproportionately affected by the decrease in number of minimum wage jobs available, and this carries implications well beyond loss of an income.


The primary advantage of first and second jobs lies in training and job skills attainment. Most Americans use their minimum-wage jobs as stepping stones, increasing their incomes by 30% within the first year of employment, according to research conducted by the Employment Policies Institute. If we implement policies that will decrease the number of minimum wage jobs available, low-skilled adults and teenagers will also be less exposed to the training that comes with those jobs and therefore less likely to acquire the skills that can then enable them to move beyond the minimum wage bracket.


Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Baldar, some of your math isn't adding up for me.
quote:
For every dollar of higher earnings that this minimum wage increase would bestow on singel parents, $4.50 would go to single individuals and $6.80 would go to children and other workers living in their parents' home.
That adds up to $10.

Nevertheless, in my paper, I quote David Neumark, who seems to be the economist everybody's qouting on the costs and benefits of wage laws. He wrote two reports this year, one on Minimum wage laws and the other on Living Wage laws (there's a pretty big difference apparently) According to his figures (which were pretty hard for me to translate) minimum wage laws actually decrease the prosperity of the working poor. Basically, x number of people move above the poverty line because of the new minimum wage, but y number of people move below the poverty line because of lost jobs. Y is ever so slightly bigger than x. But apparently "living wage laws," which are basically the same thing, only more focused, actually achieve their goals to alleviate some poverty. I'm afraid that you'll have to look on the paper for the references to find the data, though.

My question, though, is this: forget our day and age for a second. Think back, maybe, to the 1800's or something, when this hypothetical situation might have been realistic: The going rate for labor is a nickel a day. It costs, on average 7 cents a day to pay for the bare minimum for food and shelter. What do you do, Jack? Do you get a job and starve slowly, or do you unionize and refuse to make any money at all until you can get the demand high enough to pay for a living?

I understand that most people use minimum wage jobs a stepping stone, but what if your education level is so low that you don't qualify for a better job, and so, to support yourself you have to work so long that you don't have time to improve your education. Perhaps your rights to life and liberty are not being violated, per se, but what about your right to the pursuit of happiness?

My basic argument when the paper's all done is going to be that when society becomes so intrusive that there is no way to survive as a human being but to get a good paying job, then society owes people the opportunity to get a good paying job.

Edit: fixed incomplete argument.

[This message has been edited by Kyle French (edited November 04, 2002).]


Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
For every dollar of higher earnings that this minimum wage increase would bestow on singel parents, $4.50 would go to single individuals and $6.80 would go to children and other workers living in their parents' home.

In other words for single parents to recieve benefit of one dollar, the wage would have to increase 4.50 for single individuals and 6.80 for individuals who live at home. The beneficial level of increase helps those who need the rise in minimum wage the least.

quote:
My basic argument when the paper's all done is going to be that when society becomes so intrusive that there is no way to survive as a human being but to get a good paying job, then society owes people the opportunity to get a good paying job.

How is society intrusive? What is a good paying job? Why does society owe you a good paying job? And if you have a good paying job what is the incentive to improve your position or work hard to get ahead? Your terms are extremely relativistic.

When I had no job and was able to work for food and board on a farm for one summer, that was a good paying job for me. It wouldn't have been one two years ago. When I was making a 200K+ yearly salary, pulling in 50K as a teacher would not have been a good job for me. It is now.

There is a great deal more involved than simply wage, and certainly more than minimum wage. Living wage to me at 10.50 cents an hour is political not economic. The local boardd review the standard of living in Santa Monica and then states that a minimum wage to live in Santa Monica is 10.50 an hour. Of course their assumptions are that everyone living in Santa Monica works in Santa Monica. Most of the hospitality workers surprisingly enough can't afford Santa Monica as a place to live (thank limited housing regulations that put Santa Monica out of reach for anyone but the very rich), they live in neighboring cheaper areas. Meanwhile restaurant owners, hotel workers, other permanent fixed asset jobs sources are forced to bear the burden (not homeowners who vote on this and eat in cheaper Los Angeles). Taken on a national level, what fits for minimum wage in Wyoming does not fit in Los Angeles. So the nation is not saying with minimum wage, that you can raise a family on this, rather this is enough for the individual to get by, the majority of which are children that live with their parents. A living wage takes the definition of getting by and skews it even further by stating that you should not only get by, but you should "prosper" somewhat based on a family of three perhaps or something along those lines.

Here is what will happen though. The wage will rise, companies will raise their revenue to meet that wage, or cut expenses. Expenses mean workers. My brother in law runs and owns a "Me and Ed's" a Pizza franchise in Long Beach. His pre tax income is relatively thin because of competition of other Pizza places. He uses gimmicks, sales, watches inventory, he is very efficient. So he has maxed his procedural efficiencies. The wage is raised, he can only look to employees for cost cutting. So he goes and says, I cannot hire you full time and pay all the benefits or overtime involved. I am reducing two or three staff to part time work, I am also hiring extra part time employees. In essence the rise of minimum wage has reduced the real income for his employees.

Santa Monica with its "living wage" will cause the same. Tips will also be curtailed, in other words they will be counted more closely and are considered part of income, as a matter of fact, the tips made by many (which heretofore is often undeclared) will suddenly be counted and further reduce the benefits. Such a large jump in wages will definately increase oversight and reduce income for employees.


Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
My question, though, is this: forget our day and age for a second. Think back, maybe, to the 1800's or something, when this hypothetical situation might have been realistic: The going rate for labor is a nickel a day. It costs, on average 7 cents a day to pay for the bare minimum for food and shelter. What do you do, Jack? Do you get a job and starve slowly, or do you unionize and refuse to make any money at all until you can get the demand high enough to pay for a living?

Some key differences between the late 1800's and today:

1-The fluidity of society, you could not move very often then, now there is much more you can do.

2-Competition for employees is higher now than it ever was before as indicated by a 5.7% unemployment rate of which 2-3% is transitional (moving from one place to another).

3-Also, Americans' income, which includes wages, interest and government benefits, grew by 0.4 percent in September, on top of a 0.3 percent advance in August. That rate of advance will be slowed by raising minimum wage.


Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just wrote a huge reply and then accidentally deleted it. Ugh. I'm not going to say it again. It was good, and clear headed and logical, though. I tell you.

Let me just say this and I'll go away:

Society is intrusive because, in a Lockean "state of nature," we could go out and hunt and gather, and chop down trees and just claim random land at will. In a modern society this is simply not permissable because we have already meted out what property goes to whom. It is impossible to survive in today's society without participating economically in that society, because society has made any other option unavailable. Therefore society is responsible to ensure that it is possible to achieve some minimum (undefined, culturally acceptible) standard of living. A "good paying job" would be something at or above this (undefined, culturally acceptible) minimum.

I had other things to say, but... yeah. I deleted them.

KB


Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
All you're saying is that we are already in a position where everybody is living above the ethical minimum. That doesn't deny that there is a minimum.
Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Then society has never been unintrusive because the mores of society always interfere with independent action, anything more than three people would do that. It is also impossible to survive alone, and according to you impossible to survive in a society. Just doesn't work that way.

Society only has responsibility under a socialist or personal religious system, not by natural law of anykind.

"Ethical minimum" bothers me also because ethics generally takes a relative term to who you are and what your experiences are. I reject such statements as inherently false unless you have found an absolute objective truth, either personally or economically. You haven't so ethics is a liberal twist of a word to form guilt for not supporting a position.

We certainly don't know what a minimum is. Capitalism states that the minimum is what the employer will pay you for a service, simultaneously maximum is what you want for your service, between the two is a balance. That balance is an agreed upon contract between you and the employer as to what you are paid for your services. You agree to do work, he agrees to a set amount of pay for that work.


Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am not big on socialism Kyle, your argument is limited to the idea of socialism which I reject.
Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm pretty well aware that you reject socialism. But you've given me no ethical defense of unfettered capitalism. Under normal circumstances, I'm a pretty right-wing guy, but all historical references I can think of seem to indicate that a totally lassez-faire society is prohibitively destructive to a small minority of the population. Even the "capitalist ideal" of Hong Kong had (has?) government subsidies in the form of rent controls.

I am not arguing ethics from any kind of relativistic stance, based on my personal experiences. I am arguing from the perspective of my (limited) understanding of three discrete ethical theories: Utilitarianism, Kantiism, and Natural Law/Virtue Ethics. I'm using those three because those are the ones I was given to work with for the class.

Nowhere in the capitalist theory does anyone state that the minimum a person can afford to live on is what an employer will pay you for a service. I'm certain that, even today, there are a good number of employers who would be perfectly willing to pay their employees $2 a day for some job. I also have no doubt that there would be a few people who would take the opportunity, because they are so desperate. Simply because two people agree on a transaction does not mean that the contract is legal or morally permissable.

You seem to imply that ethics ought not to be considered at all when it comes to economic transactions. I don't understand this concept at all. Please explain.

KB (who is amused at being called a liberal)


Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My bad. It's subsidized housing, not rent controls.
Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Capitalism assumes everyone has the brains to make the right decisions and places freedom over equality.

As Neitche said:

Free men are not equal
Equal men are not free


Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ethics are a personal consideration and different for different people. The society in the US has norms I agree with and disagree with for personal reasons. But I do argue that socialism opens a can of worms in which we force certain criteria on others, while originally based on the sense to do good, end up being based on the sense to do politics (which is no good).
What is minimum wage or a minimum living wage in CA is much more than that in Wyoming so a federal government places an arbitrary number that forces one group in Wyoming to raise their prices while another group in Southern CA doesn't have to. It has built in unfairness. The scenario I gave you concerning my brother in law is also true to life. Where are the ethics in a government that decides for us, what is a living wage and what is not?

If I have three employees on a full time basis, an efficient system of business and a slim profit margin and the wage is raised, I will move one or more of my employees to a part time basis or split shifts since my employees are the only mechanism I can use to adjust other than raising prices, which could kill me in the competition.


Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Just so I understand your position that ethics ought not to be considered in any economic circumstances...

During the Irish Potato Famine, the British Government should not, under any circumnstances, have intervened in any way to provide for the welfare of poor Irish workers who were literally dying in the streets from starvation?


Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The British government did intervene, it said the Irish could not partake of the wheat being exported. That is what the mixture of ethics and government does. Usually when government is involved it skews the efforts of personal ethics for its own interests. Ethics is a personal thing, what we do with it depends on choice. Ethics promoted by government usually leads to tyranny. Ethics promoted by individuals usually leads to freedom.
Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I believe individuals should make moral decisions, trying to make morality a public policy can lead to a tar baby. Is it moral for a person to have an abortion, an individual decision, but at one time "moral" public policy regardless of the age of the fetus.

What is the proper level of minimum wage? Is it a moral issue? Or is it a political one. Some questions are :

If you had a restaurant in Santa Monica how would you feel about this issue?
Is it fair to demand that they increase our wages by as much as 40% in many cases?
How will this affect restaurants that do not do business with the city?
How would this affect other wages in the industry? For example, a line-cook in Santa Monica makes between 10 and 14$ per hour now, and the average waitperson makes $6 plus tips. If you raise the waiter to 11$ plus tips, how will that affect the cook?
How will it affect the restaurant's ability to survive (presently 50% of all restaurants close in the first two years)? How about those people that have no contracts in the city, in other words they are located outside the city but cater special events, haven't you just destroyed one aspect of local industry and increased an outside souce? Why even have a restaurant then? I will rent a building, and that building will be used to host catered events on an almost daily basis. In effect I undercut the competition because my employees are fine with the wages and tips they receive but the local government has deemed that those with the greatest interest in the local economy are not capable of dealing fairly with their employees and must pay more than I would as an outsider.

So whenever government is involved it skews ethics supplants societal norms for government procedures. And people always try to find a way around government procedures.

Of course there will be those companies who find out they can have a higher return for their investments elsewhere too, this means that some restaurants will close and their wages (and unreported tips) will be lost on the employees..

The strongest argument against a living wage though is that it is an ineffective tool for the reduction of poverty and only applies to certain narrow areas. It usually applies to contracts and sub contracts in a city and applies only to a small range of workers. It certainly will lead to increased costs to local governments, meaning that only the "rich" local governments can afford them. If I contract with a company and it tells me to pay 13.00/hour to workers, I will pass that on to the local government in my contract and local government will pay for it through local taxes. Of course just down the road from Malibu you have Santa Ana a poorer hispanic community with a lower cost of living, they could never hope to have such a program, so an inefficiency is created where people travel further rather than work locally and in effect "redline" poor communities with limited tax bases.

A living wage is a study of a wage within one community and has an arbitrarily line as to how far above an estimated poverty the wage should go. My view remains that minimum wage or a living wage should be a start and not the goal that living wage proponents want it to be.


Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Pardon my historical ignorance...
The British passed a law that said that poor irish people were not allowed to eat wheat? I thought that it was simply the system of contracts that tenant farmers had set up with their landlords, that they paid in kind instead of in monetary value. So landlords demanded x bushels of wheat and the tenants felt that the most productive use they had for the rest of the land was to grow potatoes. Now you're telling me that the British government had laws on record specifically denying tenant farmers permission to sell or consume any wheat.

This is an incredible reversal of what I had understood before. I had been led to understand that the Irish Potato famine was a classic example of one of the pitfalls of lassez faire economics. From what you are telling me, the exact opposite is actually true: the Irish Potato famine is an example of the dangers of government regulation of the economy. That is fascinating.

I don't suppose you could supply me with some kind of reference I could cite about the British government refusing to tenant farmers the right to sell or consume wheat products. I'd really love to discuss it with some history professors here at school.


On another note, what is your opinion, then on Hong Kong housing subsidies and Labor Unions?

(edit: bad spelling)

[This message has been edited by Kyle French (edited November 05, 2002).]


Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The Irish begged the English government for permission to buy the wheat, the Bitish government denied them that privledge, it also denied them the privledge to buy cattle.

It was a mixture of both, the English governments intervention to disallow sales. As for lassez faire economics, can that exist when property rights are not allowed? The Irish were disenfranchised, laissez faire economics allows the consumer equal rights with the seller.

I suggest you look up the "Coercion Act" and see how it was used during the curfew to deny the right of sale of both land and food to the Irish. It certainly was not laissez faire, there was no equality between the consumer and seller.


Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Labor Unions are colletive bargaining tools, there is no reason they should not exist, but in many labor unions have changed their mandate from wage and benefit negotiations to political machines. I am part of a union now and I was part of a union before (UMWA).
Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I should premise that laissez faire only works in conjuction with capitalism and not with enforced enslavement of a poeple (which is what happened in Ireland). Hands off is hands off.
Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Everard
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I can't think of a single society where laissez faire capitialism or anything close to it has worked...

Working here meaning that there haven't been tremendous atrocities committed by those who control the resources.

[This message has been edited by Everard (edited November 05, 2002).]


IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here are some links I found.

Baldar, the wheat was being sold to the Americans at a higher price than the Irish could afford, thus the wheat was exported. The law that was the problem was the anti-corn law, which restricted corn imports (which was barely affordable for the Irish).

The Irish were being paid less for their labor and charged more for rent than the English.

They were growing potatoes because they were easy to grow and harvest, and provided the highest density of nutrition and calories.

Once the blight began, the Irish were using their rent money, selling their tools, etc. all to buy food.

This resulted in them being unable to work the fields and unable to pay rent, resulting in mass evictions.

The anti-corn law was repealed by Peel, and he had a program of selling the corn to the Irish at 'low' prices. (It is not clear if Peel was selling below market prices...)

The repeal of the corn law lost him his political office. His replacement, restricted availability of corn (delaying its sale for two months at times, the price he sold it at was market value + 5%). This caused the starving Irish to begin attacking the grain carts.

The coercion act was passed to prevent property damage to land and the carts from the destitute and starving Irish.

There was also a public works program set up, but there were long waiting lists, and long delay in payments (ie 8 weeks), so starvation could happen before they got paid or worked. Also, the starvation left them weak and able to be as productive, thus reducing the liklihood of getting hired.
http://www.pioneernet.net/connolly/lie.htm
http://britishhistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa022001a.htm

LetterRip


Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kyle French
Member
Member # 105

 - posted      Profile for Kyle French   Email Kyle French   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I can't think of a single society where lassez faire is being used.
Posts: 549 | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Everard
unregistered


 - posted            Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thats at least partially my point, Kyle.

My ideas get attacked all the time based on their "history" so occassionally I like to do it to others.

The other part of the point is that "I should premise that laissez faire only works in conjuction with capitalism"

which, of course, isn't true simply because, as you correctly point out, laissez faire has never really been tried. The theory is that laissez faire works in conjunction with capitalsim, but like communism, people are free to debate the point of whether or not it DOES work.


IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Baldar
Member
Member # 669

 - posted      Profile for Baldar   Email Baldar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I can't speak to Hong Kong's rent control I know nothing about it so I would have to read up on it a bit. However Singapore and Hong Kong have come closest to Laissez Faire systems in that government only existed to enforce contracts made and carry out government duties.

While I agree with Ev that Laissez Faire as a general rule did not have the environment to exist naturally (much like Einsteinium).

Letterrip is also correct that the anti-corn legislation (certainly not lassiz faire) had the largest impact on the starvation of the population in Ireland. The "Coercion act" was also expanded during the famine to disallow plowing or any farm work on rented land, it existed prior to the starvation period.


Posts: 3834 | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1