$15/hr Minimum Wage
[The article "Small Business Persons and Egalitarianism" should be read along with this article.]
Massachusetts Small Business Owners Fear the State's New $15/hr Minimum Wage Law Will Force them to Close Shop. What's the Moral of this Story?
The debate over raising the minimum wage is in high gear now in my state of Massachusetts, and the divide-and-rule framework for that debate is very clear in a June 20, 2018 Boston Globe article here. If this debate has not hit your state yet, it no doubt will before too long.
ALL THE PRO AND CON ARGUMENTS IN THE OFFICIALLY APPROVED DEBATE FRAMEWORK ARE BASED ON A FALSE ASSUMPTION DESIGNED TO PROMOTE DIVIDE-AND-RUJLE
All of the pro and con arguments about the wisdom or stupidity of raising the minimum wage, with their optimistic or pessimistic predictions about what it will cause to happen, share one crucial thing in common. They all work on the (unstated) assumption that our capitalist economy with its free market etc. is the only possible way for the economy to be and that it not only is, but ought to be, what determines what happens when changes are made such as increasing the minimum wage.
The only people who benefit from this absurd and false assumption are the very rich, not the small business owners but the billionaire class. Everything changes when the premise is that we have (or ought to have) an egalitarian society, with no rich and no poor, and with the economy based not on the market and buying and selling but rather on the principle of "From each according to reasonable ability, to each according to need or reasonable desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need." This is egalitarianism, as discussed here.
By insisting on the absurd assumption that our lives will be, and ought to be, determined by the workings of the capitalist market, the billionaire plutocracy easily manages to pit small business owners and working class people against each other.
It works like this.
The lowest paid workers naturally want an increased minimum wage. But--as the mass media are eager to tell us--when the minimum wage is increased, the small business owners have to adjust to it some how, in order to maintain their already very small profit margins, and their choices--whichever one, or combination of ones, they adopt--all entail making things worse for some members of the working class. Here are their choices:
1. Hire fewer workers.
2. Hire their workers for fewer hours.
3. Raise their prices.
The ruling plutocracy knows this very well, and delights in the fact that the debate about raising the minimum wage will inevitably (given the absurd assumption underlying it) cause the people who will suffer from these three choices (the people who will be unemployed, or have fewer hours of work, or have to pay more for things) to side with the small business owners against the people who want a higher minimum wage. In an egalitarian society, however, there is no conflict between a small business owner (i.e., a person who does the socially useful work that a small business owner does today, which is substantial) and the people who work in that business or who work anywhere else, as described in the article attached below.
MORAL OF THE STORY
Instead of accepting the absurd assumption underlying the ruling-class-sponsored debate about whether or not to raise the minimum wage, a debate based on a deliberately divisive absurd premise, we should overthrow that capitalist premise; we should identify the premise and explicitly reject it as absurd and divisive. To do this we have to identify and explain the alternative to the capitalist premise: egalitarianism.
The egalitarian position is that people who are paid less than $15/hr and who contribute reasonably to the economy (as most surely do!) should--like ALL other people who contribute reasonably to the economy--be able to have, from the economy, all that they need or reasonably desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need. The natural way to do this doesn't require or use money at all, as discussed here.
But until we do things the natural way, everybody who contributes reasonably to the economy should have enough money--and ONLY enough money; no billionaires!--to buy what they need or reasonably desire with scarce things equitably rationed according to need. This is a coherent and principled position to take, a position that does not play into the ruling class's divide-and-rule scheme.
Until we have coherent and principled ways of making our just demands, we will continue to be pitted against other major segments of the population. That's how the rich stay in power. It's time we stopped letting them get away with it.