How much is an hour worth? For me that question has an easy answer though not a simple one. The answer is, whatever someone will pay. The complex part comes when we try to figure out all the variables that go into creating that value. But in the end it really does boil down to whatever someone will pay. In a sense it also is partly answered “whatever someone will take” I suppose but even that really has the cap at the giving. I’ve worked jobs where I got less than I was worth and jobs where I got paid quite well. I hate to say more than I was worth but that’s what makes me answer that it’s whatever someone will pay. They were willing to pay it, I was willing to take it. But the fact that I would also have been willing to take less didn’t matter because they offered more and I wasn’t about to tell them no.
The article begins, “No idea in economics provokes more furious argument than the minimum wage. Every time a government debates whether to raise the lowest amount it is legal to pay for an hour of labour, a bitter and emotional battle is sure to follow – rife with charges of ignorance, cruelty and ideological bias.” And I think there should be an argument. There should be no minimum wage. It takes that idea of what a person is willing to pay and removes the willingness part of it. It makes the answer “whatever we can force them to pay”. It is frustrating to hear people talk about the evils of capitalism and then in the same breath talk about the minimum wage. It isn’t capitalism any longer if there is a government mandated minimum wage.
The minimum wage isn’t capitalism it is socialism. It is forcing one person to give up some of his money on behalf of the other person regardless of any consideration for that person. A business owner shouldn’t have fewer rights because he is employing someone. His money should not be considered less his own because he hires someone. This is about the time someone will say, “oh, so we should go back to sweat shops then!?” Which is of course a false argument. Working conditions and working wages are two different things. People have a right not to be physically harmed by the actions of another. By the ideas of rights alone sweat shops are prevented. But no one has a right to force someone to pay them a wage that is not agreed upon by both parties. There should be an argument about the minimum wage.
In the media, this debate almost always has two clearly defined sides. Those who support minimum-wage increases argue that when businesses are forced to pay a higher rate to workers on the lowest wages, those workers will earn more and have better lives as a result. Opponents of the minimum wage argue that increasing it will actually hurt low-wage workers: when labour becomes more expensive, they insist, businesses will purchase less of it. If minimum wages go up, some workers will lose their jobs, and othe