Wednesday 14 August 2013

It's the economy stupid: why capitalism is reliant on a high minimum wage

You know I think it’s absolutely stupid claiming that increasing the minimum wage would increase unemployment: Which western nation managed to cope with the global recession the best? Australia; and what is the national minimum wage in Australia? AU$16 per hour or AU$20 for casual staff. When translated into British currency that equals £9.42 per hour for contracted staff and £11.79 for those of us on those highly exploitative Zero-hour contracts, quite an increase on the £6.19 we get over here in Blighty.

For American readers; there is only about a 10-12% difference between the Australian and American dollar so after doing a currency conversion check: if you American readers were living in Oz you’d have the equivalent of a $14.59 minimum wage if you had contracted hours or $18.25 if you’re a casual worker.

Poverty makes a recession worse because in a capitalist system there is a reliance on spending power to improve the economy, if people don’t have spending power then the economy can’t grow. So if an economy exists where poor people are allowed to exist it will always have a fragile economy, subject to crashes and recessions. This means that the rich need to learn that economic stability is reliant on money exchanging hands – not being horded in a bank account that is full beyond any possibility of it ever being needed, yes people should have a reserve and money for retirement, but not to excess.

All that does is take large amounts of money out of circulation, which means it’s not actively being used to support the capitalist system. This means that there needs to be a fundamental change in the way we view money: we need to look at money as resource first and not as private property. Don’t get me wrong people who work hard should be rewarded for it. But that should mean that NOBODY who works for a living is living in poverty. It means that keeping excess money once you’ve got it should be just as hard as earning it in the first place.

I think we’ve all heard the phrase that money is the root of all evil, well thanks to capitalism it’s the lifeblood of western if not global civilisation: and who ever heard of someone being able to buy and hoard dozens of times more blood than they could ever need from a blood bank and keep frozen somewhere ‘just in case’ while clinic operations ground to a halt: well that is what is being done with low minimum wages and excessive wealth in the hands of the top 1%, because people are suffering a level of poverty in the west not known for decades, and there are people going hungry while a very small minority receive each year more than some earn in a lifetime.

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