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BBC NEWS | Business | US votes for higher minimum wage
Now, I don't actually expect that we will see any progress on the raising of the minimum wage anytime soon. The house bill is nothing more than a way to either get the estate taxes repealed/lowered or to look good on working class issues.
But we have to ask, will the world come crashing down and small businesses all over the country fold if we raise the minimum wage? Not likely. I say this because there was no such crash the last time we raised the minimum wage - or the time before that - or the time before that - or the time before that. This, despite the dire warnings that such things would in fact, absolutely, positively happen - each and every time.
What I reject is the idea that people have to be threatened with death, poverty, starvation, etc. in order to ensure that they will work - that we need to create an environment of desperation on order to make sure that people will continue to work crappy jobs at poverty wages.
Is work only valuable as a means of survival? Would people work even if they didn't have to?
People do it all the time.
When you examine this position - that people must be forced to work, you start to realize that most of the mindset relies on forcing people to do things. Its a form of violent coercion that hardly befits our current self-image as a civilized society. As a person that values individual liberty, for myself as well as others, I see this as very contradictory in our championing of "freedom" - that we would create a society in which many people feel like most life decisions are being made for them.
In modern America's institutional framework most people seek wealth for the freedom that it provides. Inversely, poverty is still a form of slavery. So while we've made slavery in its more obvious forms illegal (under protest, I might add) we've created institutional forms of bondage in its stead.
If this idea, that only fear can keep people under control, seems familiar, its because it is modeled after the more fundamentalist forms of Christianity in our culture. We shouldn't be too surprised if people want to create a government in God's image - dangling eternal damnation over you for your own good. So while I've rejected the idea that there is no morality without fear of hell, I also reject the idea that people will not work if we do not threaten them with their lives.
Work should be a path to life, liberty and happiness. If it is not then we have failed in that mission set forth to us.
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