You can’t live off a minimum wage

Megan DeYoung

Asian governments are setting a minimum wage.  Sounds like progress right?

It’s not.

Global companies continue to relocate manufacturing as they hunt for the cheapest labour they can find. Some Asian governments hope to avoid the political unrest seen in the Middle East. They are using a minimum wage to stop the wage gap from breaking open even wider.

In many countries the minimum wage will simply reduce the slide backwards so many people felt due to big increase in inflation.

So people aren’t better off really.

And living off a minimum wage is extremely hard!  So why aren’t we talking about a living wage? The idea is that the minimum threshold for wages is high enough that people can actually meet their needs in a given country.  We’re not talking about the need to own a luxury car.  It’s about no more choosing between water purification tablets and medicines for the kids.  No more being malnourished because you can afford to buy protein, fruit, and vegetables regularly.

Yes, paying a living wage increases the direct expenses.

But what about the indirect expense?

To governments:  a wage that gives people the cash to support a family goes a lot further to quelling civil unrest than simply bringing wages back to pre-inflation levels.  To companies: a slew of other human rights issues stem from chasing the lowest wage.

You don’t support a living wage? Try living off a minimum wage.

Then let’s talk.

Comment (1)

  1. Nancy says:

    Amen! I argee… and I love how people say, “You just need to find a better wage.” Well then we wouldn’t have any servers in society if no one did those jobs. Also, I got a two year ECD degree and no one offers more then 7- 10 an hour…

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