A movement is afoot to demand a $15 minimum wage, both at the state and federal level. 

If it happens, it will mean a better life for many, but will it be a disaster for many as well?

How will businesses respond to a minimum wage that's roughly double what it is now? I suspect this is what we'll see:

1) increased streamlining of workplace processes and the use of workplace technologies to replace workers or make workers work faster, resulting in...

2) layoffs.

3) greater use of part-timers.

4) a ripple effect of increased prices across the economy, affecting those employees who keep their jobs as well as everyone else.

Still think an increased minimum wage (a living wage) is a good idea?

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That is only because in the civil religion of capitalism  the very concept of shareholders making slightly less money to give the workers a living wage is sheer heresy. It is obviously  far far better for a full time worker to not even be  making a living wage than for the high ups to not be able to afford a second jet.

You seem to be making two mistakes. First, you stereotype all shareholders are rich fat cats. A lot of people own a few shares and depend on income from those shares. A lot of shares are owned by stock funds who strive to buy and sell shares profitably so that they can provide income for those investing in the funds, many of whom are just retirees who invested as a form or retirement income. Secondly, you seem to confuse higher ups with shareholders. Higher ups administer the company and probably participate in a stock program, but in most companies with shareholders, the bulk of shares are owned by individuals not particularly associated with the company through employment. Rather, they own shares directly or indirectly through stock funds. Many of these people need the income from their investment dearly as part of their retirement funding. 

You just don't like capitalism. Maybe you should start that thread.

"You seem to be making two mistakes. First, you stereotype all shareholders are rich fat cats. A lot of people own a few shares and depend on income from those shares."

Are you denying that the rich fat cats own the majority of the shares? That around 1% of them own 90 odd % of the wealth? Now i am not being communist here and i know the rich do play an important, even necessary, function in our current economy. But there should be some limits or that number will climb ever closer to 100%, just as it has continually climbed ever higher over the last few decades. I don't see how wanting some sense  of moderation in this issue necessarily makes me anti-capitalist.

On the other hand i actually am  anti-capitalist , but that is just because  i understand that capitalisms time is drawing to an end. At its very foundation capitalism requires growth to function and we are starting to reach the limits of our  growth. Global warming, oceans depleted of fish, the pollution and destruction of the very world we need to survive. These are all clear warning signs that our growth will come to an end ,whether we like it or not , in the not so distant future.

“Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”- Kenneth Boulding

"You seem to be making two mistakes. First, you stereotype all shareholders are rich fat cats. A lot of people own a few shares and depend on income from those shares."

Are you denying that the rich fat cats own the majority of the shares?

I have no idea. I suspect a lot of share in a lot of companies are owned by stock funds, which are used by little people as a safer way to invest. Grandma's retirement may depend a lot on the profitability of McDonald's and other companies employing a lot of low-income workers.

That around 1% of them own 90 odd % of the wealth?

I believe that statistic is true, but I don't think there's any way to prove that if they only owned 40% of the wealth it would have an impact on the minimum wage. Maybe you could explain the connection for us.

Now i am not being communist here and i know the rich do play an important, even necessary, function in our current economy. But there should be some limits or that number will climb ever closer to 100%, just as it has continually climbed ever higher over the last few decades. I don't see how wanting some sense of moderation in this issue necessarily makes me anti-capitalist.

I'd like to see a much wider distribution of wealth, but this is a discussion about the impact of raising the minimum wage and, I'm sorry, I'm just not finding it in your rants.

On the other hand i actually am anti-capitalist , but that is just because i understand that capitalisms time is drawing to an end. At its very foundation capitalism requires growth to function and we are starting to reach the limits of our growth. Global warming, oceans depleted of fish, the pollution and destruction of the very world we need to survive. These are all clear warning signs that our growth will come to an end ,whether we like it or not , in the not so distant future.

Well, let's look at a non-capitalist country, China. They seem to be doing their share of wanting to grow, using up natural resources, damaging the environment. Actually, the capitalist United States is probably doing a far better job of reining the damage in, and in so doing are using devices and technologies designed and built by capitalist enterprises. The need to grow and expand is biological, not political.

Dealing with global warming, our dying oceans, the ozone layer, and other issues will require technological advances that are more likely to happen in a world can risk an investment in the hope of getting rich.

"I believe that statistic is true, but I don't think there's any way to prove that if they only owned 40% of the wealth it would have an impact on the minimum wage. Maybe you could explain the connection for us."

"I'd like to see a much wider distribution of wealth, but this is a discussion about the impact of raising the minimum wage and, I'm sorry, I'm just not finding it in your rants."

So you honestly can't see how giving the poorer portion of the 90% a greater portion of the wealth would help decrease the wealth inequality? Tell me do you think that if we cut the minimum wage to 1/2 of what it is today the richest 1% will make more or less money?

"Well, let's look at a non-capitalist country, China. They seem to be doing their share of wanting to grow, using up natural resources, damaging the environment. Actually, the capitalist United States is probably doing a far better job of reining the damage in, and in so doing are using devices and technologies designed and built by capitalist enterprises. The need to grow and expand is biological, not political."

What the hell are you talking about? Just how  can you consider China to be anything else but capitalist? The system they use is actually even named state capitalism. China may have once been largely communist but that no longer applies today. Furthermore i think you will find that China's damage to the environment has increased in lockstep with its embrace of capitalism. Which kind of makes the opposite point of what you are trying to argue.

And i think you will find that most biological systems do not grow indefinitely. They virtually all reach some form of stasis in adulthood. So please do not claim that continuous growth is biological in nature.

"Dealing with global warming, our dying oceans, the ozone layer, and other issues will require technological advances that are more likely to happen in a world can risk an investment in the hope of getting rich."

So you believe that the best way  to solve the problem is by promoting the very system which is largely causing the problem. Is that a Zen mantra? Or maybe some sort of doublethink from the book 1984?

So you honestly can't see how giving the poorer portion of the 90% a greater portion of the wealth would help decrease the wealth inequality? Tell me do you think that if we cut the minimum wage to 1/2 of what it is today the richest 1% will make more or less money?

No, I don't see that if the rich owned drastically less of the wealth it would necessarily raise the minimum wage. You see, whomever the wealth goes to would want to maximize their profit and would be ill-inclined to raise the wages at the bottom unless for some reason they had to.

Also, as someone else has pointed out, if you raise the minimum wage, everyone above them in the pecking order would want an increase as well to reflect that their jobs involve more skill and/or responsibility. The result: inflation.

"Well, let's look at a non-capitalist country, China. They seem to be doing their share of wanting to grow, using up natural resources, damaging the environment. Actually, the capitalist United States is probably doing a far better job of reining the damage in, and in so doing are using devices and technologies designed and built by capitalist enterprises. The need to grow and expand is biological, not political."

What the hell are you talking about? Just how can you consider China to be anything else but capitalist? The system they use is actually even named state capitalism. China may have once been largely communist but that no longer applies today. Furthermore i think you will find that China's damage to the environment has increased in lockstep with its embrace of capitalism. Which kind of makes the opposite point of what you are trying to argue.

To me, capitalism involves a belief in the power of a free market, a strong belief in the power of entrepreneurship, minimal government control/interference, and a dependence on individual investors to risk their personal wealth. If you ask google to define capitalism, you get this definition: "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state," which sounds very similar to my definition.

How would you define capitalism in a way that conforms with the standard meaning and usage of the term and doesn't involve twisting it around to make it more helpful to your argument? and...What country would you point to as exemplifying non- or anti-capitalism if not China? Let's face it, if something else worked better, it would be successful. Where is it so that we can examine and appreciate its success?

Yes, you have Hong Kong, Wenzhou, and Shanghai with capitalist tendencies, but those are just a few Chinese cities. The bulk of the population in China does not work in anything resembling a capitalist environment.

And i think you will find that most biological systems do not grow indefinitely. They virtually all reach some form of stasis in adulthood. So please do not claim that continuous growth is biological in nature.

I don't think I claimed that biological systems can grow indefinitely. If you can find me saying that, please quote me. As a biological system we will naturally plateau and decline as we run out of resources. Mankind will eventually have to make way for the next species. I've often said that.

"Dealing with global warming, our dying oceans, the ozone layer, and other issues will require technological advances that are more likely to happen in a world can risk an investment in the hope of getting rich."

So you believe that the best way to solve the problem is by promoting the very system which is largely causing the problem. Is that a Zen mantra? Or maybe some sort of doublethink from the book 1984?

If business doesn't do it, the money will have to come out of public funds and will be diverted from things like education, fighting poverty, feeding poor children, and providing better health care. That's why we don't want the government paying for it. So, if not government and if not business, where will the money come from?

"No, I don't see that if the rich owned drastically less of the wealth it would necessarily raise the minimum wage. You see, whomever the wealth goes to would want to maximize their profit and would be ill-inclined to raise the wages at the bottom unless for some reason they had to."

You mean like  a 15 dollar  minimum wage they were legally obliged to conform to? We seem to already have that covered.

"Also, as someone else has pointed out, if you raise the minimum wage, everyone above them in the pecking order would want an increase as well to reflect that their jobs involve more skill and/or responsibility. The result: inflation."

That is only true if every  company could increase it's profits to pay for such a thing, or  print it's own money and get away with it. Otherwise a company can't just magically produce money out of thing air to pay everyone more to produce this  inflation. Any increase in pay to those with the smallest portion of the pie must come from those who own nearly all the pie .

"To me, capitalism involves a belief in the power of a free market, a strong belief in the power of entrepreneurship, minimal government control/interference, and a dependence on individual investors to risk their personal wealth. If you ask google to define capitalism, you get this definition: "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state," which sounds very similar to my definition."

If you define capitalism that way then no country is truly capitalist, not even America. Or can you explain to me how bailing out privately owned banks on the tax payers expense fits into you're definition?

"How would you define capitalism in a way that conforms with the standard meaning and usage of the term and doesn't involve twisting it around to make it more helpful to your argument? and...What country would you point to as exemplifying non- or anti-capitalism if not China? Let's face it, if something else worked better, it would be successful. Where is it so that we can examine and appreciate its success?"

I am not the one defining it as such as i have no expertise in the field. I am using the definitions that actual  economists have decided. I mean you do know that their are a variety of different types of capitalism that mainstream economics recognizes? I would even say America is leaning ever more towards crony capitalism .The plain fact is that  businesses make money and money leads to political power, and hence business  inevitably use their power to influence and bribe governments solely for the businesses best interests.

Also not so ling ago ever major civilization relied upon slavery as its economic work horse, so if you had been born into an earlier time would you have been arguing against the abolishment of slavery since there was currently no economic  model that worked anywhere near as well as owning slaves? The fact is we gave up slavery when its disadvantages started to outweighs its advantages, just as capitalism is now starting to become more disadvantages for us  with its maxim of ever more growth is good. In reality only so much growth is possible on a finite world with finite resources, and we are starting to reach the physical limits of what is possible while still being able to maintain a world that can support us.

"I don't think I claimed that biological systems can grow indefinitely."

Then why did you say growth was biological, not political  in nature?

"If business doesn't do it, the money will have to come out of public funds and will be diverted from things like education, fighting poverty, feeding poor children, and providing better health care. That's why we don't want the government paying for it. So, if not government and if not business, where will the money come from?"

To be honest i have no where near as much faith as you in a miracle technological  cure that will magically take away all the damage capitalism and our population growth is causing to our environment. But then  maybe it is possible and maybe we might even find it in time, though said time is quickly running out and i would prefer to focus on what we currently know is possible than put my faith in your miracle cure that none of us even know exists in the first place.

I know i may be entirely insane in this view, but maybe, just maybe the answer to the environmental damage we are causing is to stop causing so much damage instead of relying on a unknown technological miracle that will not only repair our environmental damage but actually be profitable at the same time.

Now please understand that i am not arguing that capitalism is necessarily  evil nor even that capitalism  has not done wonders in lifting billions of people out of poverty. I am just arguing that maybe capitalisms usefulness is possibly coming to an end as its benefits are being out shadowed by the environmental damage that is caused by capitalisms need  to keep ever growing. So in the end i have two simple questions for you

1- do you think it is possible for capitalism to function in an economy that is in stasis or even shrinking?

2- Do you think our economy and population can just keep on  growing exponentially  on a single planet with finite resources?

You mean like a 15 dollar minimum wage they were legally obliged to conform to? We seem to already have that covered.

I don't see widespread support for such a law now, and l sense less support once the anticipated problems are brought to public attention. "Do you want higher prices not just at McDonald's but throughout the rest of the economy?" I think a lot of the public view minimum wage jobs as properly starter jobs, and if people who used to be engineers or teachers are taking them, they are taking them away from those they properly belong to: teenagers and retired people need just a little extra income to supplement their Social security.

Reinforcing my view that I don't see a lot of support for raising the minimum wage, I work doing fundraising for a nonprofit right now. I talk to people who have never given before to people who have given several hundred or even several thousand dollars. Who are more likely to donate even a small amount? It's not the low- or even middle-income people. You can analyze it all you want, but people who make less are not the most generous segment of the population, even for a very good cause.

a company can't just magically produce money out of thin air to pay everyone more to produce this inflation. Any increase in pay to those with the smallest portion of the pie must come from those who own nearly all the pie.

That's just not going to happen. Through creative accounting, taking their wealth to where it's untaxable, investing in loopholes and other tax benefits, the wealthy are difficult to tax except at the investment level, which will just increase unemployment.

"To me, capitalism involves a belief in the power of a free market, a strong belief in the power of entrepreneurship, minimal government control/interference, and a dependence on individual investors to risk their personal wealth. If you ask google to define capitalism, you get this definition: "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state," which sounds very similar to my definition."

If you define capitalism that way then no country is truly capitalist, not even America. Or can you explain to me how bailing out privately owned banks on the tax payers expense fits into you're definition?

Well, yeah. We live in an age where some of the excesses of capitalism have engendered a certain level of protectionism. However, turning your argument back against you, you complain about capitalism, use a completely off the wall definition, point out that capitalism nevertheless doesn't really exist, and yet you rail against capitalism.

Get your story straight first, then we'll have something to discuss.

"How would you define capitalism in a way that conforms with the standard meaning and usage of the term and doesn't involve twisting it around to make it more helpful to your argument? and...What country would you point to as exemplifying non- or anti-capitalism if not China? Let's face it, if something else worked better, it would be successful. Where is it so that we can examine and appreciate its success?"

I am not the one defining it as such as i have no expertise in the field. I am using the definitions that actual economists have decided. I mean you do know that their are a variety of different types of capitalism that mainstream economics recognizes? I would even say America is leaning ever more towards crony capitalism .The plain fact is that businesses make money and money leads to political power, and hence business inevitably use their power to influence and bribe governments solely for the businesses best interests.

Economists, as far as I know, are stuck with the standard usage of "capitalism," or else they are just talking to themselves. If you know a practical and possible way to remove power from wealth, I'm all ears.

Also not so ling ago ever major civilization relied upon slavery as its economic work horse, so if you had been born into an earlier time would you have been arguing against the abolishment of slavery since there was currently no economic model that worked anywhere near as well as owning slaves? The fact is we gave up slavery when its disadvantages started to outweighs its advantages, just as capitalism is now starting to become more disadvantages for us with its maxim of ever more growth is good. In reality only so much growth is possible on a finite world with finite resources, and we are starting to reach the physical limits of what is possible while still being able to maintain a world that can support us.

Slavery died of its own weight. Once slavery became widely viewed as morally insupportable, it was doomed. Perhaps someday it will come to pass that "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state" will become morally insupportable, but that day would seem to be far off. Indeed, it likely will never come because capitalism simply works better than the alternatives. The US has the most lively economy on Earth. We are coming out of the recession quicker and better off than the more socialistic countries against which we compete.

"I don't think I claimed that biological systems can grow indefinitely."

Then why did you say growth was biological, not political in nature?

Before I answer that, you still haven't pointed out where I linked biological growth with indefinite growth. I did not. I think quite the opposite: that all biological systems eventually die. Our system will die because it will outgrow its resources and/or fail to survive some other challenge.

"If business doesn't do it, the money will have to come out of public funds and will be diverted from things like education, fighting poverty, feeding poor children, and providing better health care. That's why we don't want the government paying for it. So, if not government and if not business, where will the money come from?"

To be honest i have no where near as much faith as you in a miracle technological cure that will magically take away all the damage capitalism and our population growth is causing to our environment. But then maybe it is possible and maybe we might even find it in time, though said time is quickly running out and i would prefer to focus on what we currently know is possible than put my faith in your miracle cure that none of us even know exists in the first place.

You're always putting words in my mouth to create strawmen. I never exhibited a belief that a technological "cure" would necessarily be developed. I have no such optimism. I was talking in the conditional: IF such a cure came along, it was better for it to come through private entities competing against each other in a fashion that didn't drain money from public coffers, robbing it from some of the good things the government oudoubtedly does do.

I know i maybe entirely insane in this view, but maybe, just maybe the answer to the environmental damage we are causing is to stop causing so much damage instead of relying on a unknown technological miracle that will not only repair our environmental damage but actually be profitable at the same time.

That IS insane if you are expecting public support to break through the current denial in time to fix things. You are like a religious person, believing on faith in a miracle. The miracle of the public wanting to endure the inevitable inconveniences of effectively fighting the damage being done to the environment is not really on the horizon, and if it ever looms on the horizon, it will be too late. In fact, it may be too late already, especially if we expect China and India, the two most populous (and rapidly growing) economies to jump on the bandwagon. In many ways, the US is diminishing as a contributor to the problem in contrast to not just those two countries but other countries which are growing as well, like Brazil and Russia. Indeed, the US is doing much more than some of those other countries.

1- do you think it is possible for capitalism to function in an economy that is in stasis or even shrinking?

Sure, for a time. Eventually, it will probably have to. It will aspire to grow, but will eventually have to fail.

2- Do you think our economy and population can just keep on growing exponentially on a single planet with finite resources?

No, we will have to die off at some point and give the planet back to itself for whatever is next.

But notice how far you've turned this into your discussion about capitalism rather than my discussion about the minimum wage.

I guess you've given up telling me how beneficial raising the minimum wage would be.

Unseen- I am a bit short on time so just to address the  capitalism point- just where do you think all the money and pressure to deny global warming is coming from?Who is it that spends countless billions on PR campaigns and is happy to throw money at any politician or scientist who is willing to muddy the water?

And then do you think we should just  trust the same system to combat global warming that has such an invested interest and outright zeal  in denying it and trying to continue business as usual?

On the minimum wage point- just what effects do you think would happen if we halved the minimum wage?

@Rocky John

Who's talking about halving the minimum wage?

The opposition to global warming is coming universally from ALL capitalists?

To imply that all capitalists are anti-global warmers because some (who have a special interest in the manner) is the same argument structurally as "all blacks are criminals because some blacks commit crimes.'

You can do better than that.

I hope.

Unseen- I am the one talking about what effects reducing the minimum wage would produce as the effects would likely be  diametrically opposite of what effects raising the minimum wage would be.

To imply that all capitalists are anti-global warmers because some (who have a special interest in the manner) is the same argument structurally as "all blacks are criminals because some blacks commit crimes.'"

"The lady doth protest to much, methinks"

Where did i say that  all capitalists  are anti global warming? I am simply asking what group of people is it that is behind virtually  all the PR and money going into combating the public perception of  global warming? And whether it is then logical to put our trust into this group to suddenly do an about turn and fix global warming instead?

Besides your counter argument is no better than a PR firm for a cigarette company  saying that because not everyone who smokes gets lung  cancer therefore smoking does not  cause  lung  cancer.

You can do better than that.

I hope....

"but I don't think there's any way to prove that if they only owned 40% of the wealth it would have an impact on the minimum wage"

There's no way to prove any assumptions about the future effects of raising minimum wage at all. And you've made a lot of assumptions. Extremely precise assumptions. All catastrophic in nature. Assumptions on the results of one changed variable in an incredibly complex and dynamic open system. That's nuts.

The only thing we can do is look at the correlation between raising minimum wage and how the economy performed (and how it affected the average standard of living) in other countries (though this doesn't prove anything). The results are the opposite of what you assumed will happen. There is no disaster to any economy post-minimum-wage increase that I've seen in my research (except a few increases that were far more extreme than doubling the minimum wage).

None of this assumptions or speculation or extremely convoluted babel is necessary. People should be making more than seven dollars an hour...and that's all need be said. The economy be damned. Seven dollars an hour is a wickedly cruel wage to give hard working people. It's absurdly low. It's pathetic. And sad. Depressingly awful.

As I ask you elsewhere, what about the more skilled employee who is more valuable to the company and is himself currently making $15? He will want a raise, too, as will the person above him.

If one thinks that the minimum wage jobs are there for teens living at home or retirees needing a small additional income, then the real solution is to find better employment by those who are being underpaid at the minimum wage, is it not?

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