If the UK's minimum wage had risen with its executive pay, the lowest paid jobs in the country would be worth £26K/year

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/12/31/big-cornflakes.html


Perverse inequality, in every sense…


if it had kept pace with the rocketing compensation taken home by the country’s executive class…

What a strange counterfactual. Why would that happen? Has it ever happened anywhere? I think it’s more useful to simply ask the minimum wage to keep up with inflation. It’s the same here in the US.

Congratulations on your inflationary pay rise. You still can’t afford to live but at least you aren’t even more poor than you were.

But I think you are missing the point. The poor are getting wage freezes or cuts and have been for years. Minimum wage is barely enough to live on in the poorest areas of the UK, never mind the South-East of England and London. Yet the executives have had pay rise after pay rise.

This is the road to the working classes having nothing to lose but their chains. Walk down it at your own peril! Some of us are trying to turn back before it is too late.


But the increasing relative wealth of those at the top diverts an ever greater share of those goods with a strictly limited supply into their possession, most notably real estate.


Maybe not in strict CPI terms. It would be interesting if there were a separate inflation index for items defined as essentials – say shelter, food, and heating – and see how pay rises compared against that. (As best I can tell, those three categories make up 37.5% or less of the weighting total in the CPI + housing costs index.)


I understand, and I agree. Crossing my fingers for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

The current rate works out to about $9.71/hr US (today’s exchange rate at 2040 hrs/yr). It’s just disgusting that anyone believes that is a reasonable wage for any type of work. And it’s still $2.46 more than the current US federal minimum wage.

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Not arguing with the sentiment - no one should have to work for those wages. But “belief” and “reasonable” don’t enter into how markets work, including labor markets.

If we, as a culture, don’t find a way to move away from they idea that the market wage offered for a certain kind of work has any connection to the intrinsic worth of the person doing the work… we’re in for a huge world of hurt in the not too distant future. Robotics and automation generally are harsh reality checks any time, and I’d rather not find myself in a world a few decades from now where tens or hundreds of millions of people, permanently locked out of the labor market, are widely considered worthless as people as a result.


And political power. Which is then leveraged into more wealth, and more power, and more wealth, and…

Once you get past minimal subsistence levels, excessive inequality is worse than lack of wealth. Wealth is power, and inequalities of power create corruption and abuse.


Hopefully in it’s original sense - Democracy. When Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto suffrage had only recently been extended so that 14% of the UK male population could vote, none of which was working class. Universal Suffrage is 90 years old this year and one person, one vote is only 70 years old. Getting disproportionate moneyed interests out of politics is another step still to be made.


Agreed. In fact, it may be that very eventuality that is the final catalyst for change. I don’t see an equitable global society happening any other way, honestly.

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