Thursday, 2 February 2012

Choice, Minimum Wage And A Bit Of Abortion

"Hi Mark, how's it going?"

"Oh no, that's too bad.  What's going on?" I asked.  
"I have been exploited, taken advantage of and completely devalued." 
Like any good friend, I did the right thing and simply listened to him, "Go on Mark, what happened?"

"So I was driving home from work and I was inspired to pick my wife up a gift at the mall. While blitzing each store, I came across a really neat gift.  It was a beautiful jewelry box.  Right before I was going grab it, some 8 year old girl snags the last one from the shelf.  Then I proceed to tell the girl that I was emotionally moved by the jewellery box and that I had my eye on it first.  The girl gives me attitude and says, "I got it first, and I am now going to pay for it, it's mine."

"Dear God, this is terrible" I sarcastically quipped.  
Not picking up on my fading interest in his crisis, he continues, "I really, really, really wanted that so I tried to barter with the girl.  She said, 'if you want this, I want $150.'  I quickly processed her obscene request to charge 5 times the retail value and realised I am in a deep hole with my wife and this girls gift is my ticket out.  I forked over the cash and I now had my gift, I felt relieved.  Walking out of the store I moved toward the exit only to find another store loaded to the brim with the same jewelery box for the measly $30 price I almost could have paid.  I yelped, "Oh for crap sakes." 
That little girls voice in the background replied to my comment with, "If I would have told you that every other department store has loads of them, I would not have made $120 extra money."

"I was suckered Ryan. Exploited. Taken advantage of.  It is simply not fair.  Her 'inside information' to the world of malls and 'girly items' was an unfair advantage in her profiting off of me.  It's not my fault I don't know the jewelry box is a common item.  I am not an 'expert' on girly items!  She should not have been allowed to do this to me.  I should be able to live in a country where I am not exploited and taken advantage of.  There should be laws against this."

My friend Mark just twitched a 'socialist nerve' in my body and I asked if I could ask some questions about his situation, to try to help him.

1. Did you choose to have a want? (the jewelry box)
2. Did you choose to act on impulse? Versus carefully choosing to research your options?
3. Did you choose to focus on 1 store instead of walking the mall to get a consensus?
4. Did you choose to keep silent and not ask the store manager when more are coming in?
5. Did you choose to buy something that you had a poor knowledge base in?
6. Did you choose to either reject/avoid advice from family, friends and experts? I mean, what if you got the 8 year old to advise you instead of arguing with her? Perhaps she would have directed you to another store? (people love to help)

"So, how can you be possibly be exploited and this be nobodies fault but your own given the entire process was your choice?  Furthermore, why do you demand a government body make laws to protect you from your choices and the fruit thereof? What's the crime Mark? Prevent choice within a free market?"

Mark lectures me, "Ryan, Ryan, will never get it, will you.  Perhaps I should tell you a story about my employer exploiting his workers.  He's just like that little girl."
I walked away from the conversation and wished Mark well.

I wish debates were more honest.
Why do we not let people choose their wages with their employer?  What are we so afraid of? Employees making poor choices? You don't trust them to negotiate? If they don't like the wages, they can walk.  If the employee chooses a rate lower then minimum wage, who is anybody to deny their choice? It's their choice of their free will.  On abortion, it's all about the women's right to choose.  On employment contracts, suddenly choice is not only irrelevant, it is also illegal (i.e minimum wage). 

Finally, lack of Choice Devalues People:

Erica is an honest employer.  To make a profit on an assembly line she can pay a person $8.00/hour.  She is law abiding and refuses to pay below minimum wage, so she does not hire for that added work on the assembly line.
Brent is desperate for work and catches wind that Erica has a job that could open if $8.00 were acceptable.  Brent pleads with Erica for the job at $8.00 saying he is happy, eager and willing to work.  Erica declines Brent's offer due to not wanting to break the law.
Brent fails to make rent payment and is on the streets.
Lack of choice hurt Brent with rent and hurt Erica's company from further profiting.
If 'choice' is the basis for a woman's right to terminate a child, then choice should equally be the right for an employer and employee to choose...especially since both employer and employee are willing participants...unlike the child who has no say in the matter.

The hypocrisy is pathetic.
(P.S, Should minimum wage be abolished, I would not lower any employee's wage, I am grateful the wages in my company command greater then minimum wage and I hope it only gets better!)


  1. It's so sad when borderline morons attempt to be clever.

    1. Then stop Exposing yourself...don't comment, and people won't realize that.

  2. Interesting take... the sad fact is many people are not in a position to negotiate wages; particularly for low skill jobs. And believe me if employers could get away with paying everyone in this bracket below minimum they would. Canadians won't do many low skill jobs for minimum because there is no way they can survive on this wage. So what does the employer do? He/She hires and imports foreign workers who will. Many Canadians are unaware that we have created a false economy, a disposable work force. Employers have found a way to circumvent paying fair market value wages to workers. There is no incentive for the employer to negotiate because thanks to the Canadian Government and the foreign worker program he has a ready supply of cheap 3rd world labour.

  3. The problem that I can see coming up is that there's the strong possibility of completely out-to-lunch social stratification, not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but that too much individualization can become extremely problematic.

    Psychology shows us that people are bad with money. Really, really, really bad with money. So bad in fact, that many employees under such a system would seem likely to enter into contracts which will pay wages that won't meet subsistence level. Freedom of choice is always more desireable, but, in a system where people could negotiate their own wages, it would be vitally important for employees to know approximately how much they need to ensure some prosperity for themselves.

    And the other half of that, is that because of the profit motive inherent in capitalism, there will always be the temptation from shareholders to exploit employees and force them to accept the lowest possible wages, or even no wages at all, if possible. This is the big weakness of capitalism, as illustrated by Henry Ford in a manner of speaking. Ford's big innovation was making a product that everybody working in his factories could afford to buy, thus guaranteeing sales, and profitability. However, if the people don't make enough money to buy the products produced, then there's no profit to be had, but the demands of shareholders will always be that employees should earn as little as possible, and in many cases, this may result in employees not earning enough to be able to afford the basic necessities of life. The more that wages are lowered, the more difficult it is to afford the products produced. Eventually, profit completely disappears for a lack of sales, and the whole system collapses. Profit and capitalism aren't bad of course, there are just possible pitfalls which can land everybody, capitalist and worker in a world of hurt if there isn't some clear balance struck between the minimum acceptable level of income, and the need to turn a profit.

    Human psychology being what it is, it's vital to have some indicator of what constitutes a "minimum wage." Though, it doesn't necessarily need to be a hard and fast law.

  4. Just did a class exercize... on bad blogs and good blogs...


Think of how you can make your point and be respectful.
Try to keep cursing to a minimum; with thanks.

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain