Amazon Raises its Minimum Wage to $15/hr
Controversy Surrounding the Concept of Minimum Wage Goes Back Decades
10/2/18, 3:18 pm EDT
By John Corry, photo from Financial Post
Amidst criticism, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has announced today that his company will be raising its minimum wage to $15/hr for all workers starting November 1st. That criticism^, from all sides of the political spectrum including-but-not-limited-to Bernie Sanders, President Trump and a slew of activist groups, seems to have had some affect on the decision.
"We listened to our critics,” Bezos said in a statement. “We thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead."
That’s more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr. Workers currently making more than $15/hr will also receive a pay raise.
The concept of a minimum wage has been controversial since its inception, for obvious reasons: if an employer cannot afford to pay the ‘lawful’ minimum wage, its existence/ability to succeed is severely threatened, however, on the other hand: earning less than a livable wage is exactly how it sounds– not livable. but ‘not livable’ not simply in the sense that any person can theoretically just say ‘fuck it’, move to the woods and live smiles off the trees and the mud (that’s a spiritual argument, by the way). An argument for an inherent understanding (and therefore psychological need in-action) of social status being ingrained in all humans is one held (for the most part) by a number of thinkers throughout time (Hegel, Locke, Hobbes, Fukayama, Malcolm X, for starters). Its main content is that man’s desire for recognition is the reason we’ve evolved in the way in which we have. Humans used to beat each other for no more reason than to show that they could, because that invoked respect and a sense of confidence in the person’s physical abilities. A respectable social status is (at least theoretically) implicative of a high degree of production for the species, and is therefore necessary for any undertaking of productive intent, even if that ‘respectability’ comes solely from the person herself (and if it does: good for you, that is far from easy to maintain). It’s a way of showing that one has done her part; a way for life to maintain its survival instinct through an intellectual capacity, after the (much more (easily) known) primal one assuming productive forces to come from some deity and not something human.
But, given that intellect grows out of primacy the same way an adult grows out of a child: a need for of universal currency (money) was necessary to quantify the intellectual capacity as regards in-action production, how that ‘respectability’ actually happens (in-time) has become more complicated, and as-yet generally misunderstood. In recent years, the ‘worker’ has gone through a transition (and no, it’s not just because of Marx (in this context)). For most of man’s history, the majority of humans made their social status off of living off the land, selling products on the street, etc., but, lately, as the population of Earth has more than doubled in the past mere 50 years, as well as–and perhaps more importantly–advances in thought regarding how people think and work together on more practical bases–and, conversely, in ‘intellectual’ settings (though that’s not the right word)–this ‘social status’, or the discussion surrounding it, comes with more of a ‘taboo’ (there’s the Marx argument). Marx may have deemed ‘her’ the ‘proletariat’, Adam Smith divided ‘her’ into ‘divisions of labor’ (and as such inherently separated ‘her’ from politics until Marx came along, but that’s off-topic), and modern capitalism a the very least considers producers, consumers and managerial overseers as all inherently different things (are they really? Can we not all be those things only at different times or under different circumstances?), but the thought remains: human beings operate together in a way more complicated than they did even a hundred years ago, let alone at any time beyond that.
The point is that, and I know this is going to BLOW a lot of people’s minds, but it’s an important point: economics is hard. There are a lot of moving parts–it exists as a concept totally in-time, meaning: the less time has gone by, the harder it is to ‘get’–and it inherently (and must or else become a different concept altogether (in this case, something like: well, politics (or corporatism? Given the tndency of economics to lean objective and the Absolutely-Objective which comes with trying to combine with something more subjective?)) ignores Absolutely the other half of the process through which humans perceive the world (individually (or: emotionally, to get away from the whole ‘Individual versus Society’ (Plato’s ‘one in the many’) thing (pretentious prick))). It strives to be completely objective, because that’s what it must be: some concept which strives to be completely objective as regards human production in-action could only be assumed to be come across, for any consciousness to proceed through intellect: once objective/subjective time has been noticed, it must be studied, and understanding opposing concepts is only a logical first step (if any other steps are even needed).
That other half of the process is–holy shit /> we can do it! I have faith in you />Economics isn’t the only that matters in life, and in-action thinking isn’t the only way to produce something /> we’re almost there!!!–psychology is also hard (omg). There is an argument to be made that a bigger deal has been made of economics than psychology in modern society due to the fact that economics have more directly to do with ‘production’ (or, more so: that ‘tangible production’ is necessary before any ‘intellectual production’ can possibly be done (which is very true, and absolutely needs to be remembered in any conversation regarding economics in any circumstance (we can’t ‘think’ or ‘do anything for minorities’ or what the fuck ever if we can’t eat)), and so the study of it, as well as the subconscious emphasis on it at large, might produce more such ‘tangible’ results so necessary to move into more intellectual thinking (at least much more immediately). (Also: it’s easier to quantify facts and anecdotal evidence than it is emotion and personalized experience (reason economics has had more of an emphasis over time than psychology).)
Thus we arrive at the conundrum of economics and psychology, and so the complexities surrounding the argument over a ‘minimum wage’ (money in regards to social status). If a person is working 40 hours a week (30, if you ask me, but I’ll continue on that in a moment), and she does her job well, she deserves to live comfortably and not feel shitty about what she does for a living /> given that the job exists, it needs to be done (until AI takes over, which is a topic /> for another time). What does it matter if all she’s doing is cleaning shit or working at McDonald’s at 3pm?: those are difficult jobs. They may not require the most skill, but they certainly require a certain quality of a type of ‘zen’ acceptance and a sense of dignity based upon the simple dichotomy of the aforementioned ‘one in the many’ (working for a cause bigger than you is admirable, given how important working together is for survival, as has been alluded to in many stories and philosophical arguments throughout history (see: most Greek and Roman literature, Christianity, in fact the majority of points in the Abrahamic religions /> including Islam (racist))). McDonald’s gets busy, and cleaning shit sucks, but there will always be a stigma against jobs like this, if only because theoretically anybody can do them. However, so long as they’re jobs that need to be done, they need to be done, otherwise the job wouldn’t exist, and so the people who do them deserve to be compensated the same way anyone who does a job which needs to be done is compensated: with respect. If morality–which comes with an inherent degree of respect, as one cannot question morality without assuming a sense of humanity at its outset–don’t mean shit, economics can only be a negative as it would imply a perception Absolutely objective, which is not how human perception works (confluence of Absolute-relative subjective and relative-Absolute objective perspective).
Conversely, however, it does take a ton of perseverance and acquisition of risk to make those jobs available. Moreover, as mentioned above^, if an employer can’t afford to pay its workers $15/hr, the demand to do so could easily run the company out of business. This makes this situation one where both sides are indeed in the right as regards their primary arguments, but a context which (currently) disables any compromise, at least theoretically.
But that’s the kicker. This would be a much less-heated issue if we didn’t have the owners and the higher-ups of many of these companies paying themselves hundreds of millions of dollars a year while their workers can’t afford to get a monthly haircut comfortably on $7.25/hr (grow it out, bro; we’re bringing it back). So long as people choose to live in mansions and spend a million dollars on villas in Miami they spend two months a year in, the people who can’t afford basic accommodations will always be angry, and, as such (and this is very important here), emotional economic bastardizations like communism and Marxism (I’m noticing a pattern here, but I’m in too deep to go back and change it #ItsOnlyBecauseIKeepTryingToApologize /> that’s a topic for another time) of basic economic principles will always have appeal, and will continue to grow. If these ‘capitalists’ truly want the supposed ‘glories of capitalism’ to live on, they can’t meanwhile be consistently undermining one of the basic pillars of not just economics, but of all life and human intellect/intellectual evolution in general: that we’re all connected (basic premise of economics (in a productive sense, versus anything spiritual or even material)).
My opinion (outside of the argument that Amazon is doing this for other reasons :/): good for Jeff Bezos, but I am afraid of the rhetoric that may come out of this from the Bernie Sanders’ of the world. Running a small business is insanely difficult, and it seems like something which Sanders not only doesn’t understand, but actually argues against. At the same time, I have no idea what the hell Donald Trump has been bitching about when it comes to Amazon (that they have too much power, and get too many government handouts) /> his M.O. seems to go completely against it, but an advisor has said that he’s “in favor of higher wages”.
Maybe on the DL, Trump agrees with me? (OMFUCKINGG)