What do you think about capitalism? Good? Bad? Ugly? Necessary? The best we can do? There are a lot of differing opinions. This isn’t actually your challenge for this week, just a primer for it. I’m planning on writing a paper about the concept of a ‘fair wage’ for my Wealth and Poverty class, and of course this raises a lot of questions about capitalism and society. So, there are a few considerations here. First of all, what do we even mean when we say ‘fair wage’? Do we mean: a wage that is essentially what my work is worth? A wage that I can survive on? A wage that gives me a comfortable standard of living? A wage that reflects that standards of the society? These are really just the first questions. Choosing which of these we even want to answer raises a bunch of new questions, for instance: what is my work worth? Who gets to decide? How do we decide? By survive do we simply mean ‘put bread and water in my belly and a roof over my head’ or do we mean something more than that? What do we mean by ‘comfortable’? Can we argue that the standards of our society are actually good standards? How much damage can artificially inflating payments cause? Consider that, if minimum wage moves to $15/hour its likely that a lot of service workers (fast food employees for example) will probably lose the jobs they have now as companies cut jobs. At the same time, there are plenty of minimum wage workers who actually are trying to survive of their income. Do these people simply not have a good option? Do we just let them suffer? Take care of them forever?
So, here is your philosophy challenge today: what do we mean when we ask speak of a ‘fair wage’? Does the concept even matter outside of a capitalistic society?
Remember, you need to write me a story of 1000 words that presents and defends your answer to this question.