Right to work for less States are funded by those that structure things toward sustainable wages.
The problem with a purist cheap labor policy is that it results in wages lower than it costs to live a reasonable, modest life. People who are paid those wages are typically:
-forced to labor the vast majority of their waking hours to meet needs, unable to obtain most wants, living an undesirable and arguably unjust life
(And that's a subsidy that they pay for with their quality of life just so others can get cheap shit)
-needy, dependent on safety net programs
-costly, due to inability to do basic things and or avoid common risks.
Those are not sustainable wages. In order to justify that as a policy, we must believe that people have no basic value and or needs and that it's OK for some to labor too much, die early and basically endure economic slavery so that the rest of us can live well.
Come on guys, this is just not OK. Really.
A common argument is, "just go get a better job", but the reality is places with right to work for less policies simply do not offer enough living wage and even fewer family wage jobs for that to be possible. There is always an enslaved, over exploited underclass who have near zero upward mobility.
Another common argument is the market simply doesn't value basic labor well enough to live on, but there is a basic problem with that nobody seems to want to talk about much and that is the ongoing and consistent need for basic labors!
This is a conflict. Again, nobody really wants to think about it or talk about it much and that's not OK either.
Some will say, "but if we pay them more, my sandwich or salad will cost more", and the answer is yes, it does cost more. But it should cost more. Here's how that works:
In a right to work for less state, labor gets devalued very quickly, race to the bottom style. On one hand, this is great for employers who enjoy consistent pressure to get high labor volumes for low dollars. And in the case of basic labors, it's a sure thing!
Take that sandwich. When it's really cheap, people like to buy a lot of sandwiches. The result of that is shops everywhere serving sandwiches! Those of us not currently at the bottom enjoy a posh life where we never make our own sandwiches because it's cheaper to have somebody else make them.
But when we eat those sandwiches, the person making them is getting screwed, unable to meet needs and wants despite significant labor on their part. How is this just? Anyone can open up a shop and employ people with little risk because the labor is undervalued meaning it's really easy to sell! There are lots of shops, because a sure thing always attracts a crowd.
When we put a reasonable bottom on wages and we allow unions to organize and pull wages up to living wages, it makes far less sense to produce so many sandwiches, and more of us make our own, or pay what a sandwich is really worth, knowing people aren't screwed over by making them.
Really cheap labor also doesn't force the business person to add real value. Making only sandwiches makes sense, because the labor itself is a steal, that sure thing! On the other hand, actually having to pay somebody enough to make it in a modest way means adding value or simply not doing the business. Fewer sandwich shops, but much higher demand for higher value things results, and that increases standard of living, lowers the dependence on safety nets and so on.
Frankly, we always need basic labors and when we don't pay people enough to make it doing them, we are enslaving some of us so the rest of us have it easy, and we all get devalued over time because the people blind, skills only value model fails to value people properly or well enough for them to be viable people in society. Not OK.
If I end up making my own sandwiches more often, but I know people can make it on basic wages, great! I'll do that, because that establishes baseline values for people that insure that I am valued well as a person in addition to the added value personal skills provide.
Why people don't see that is beyond me.
There is nothing wrong with paying somebody enough to make it. Nothing. There is everything wrong with over exploiting some of us to benefit the rest, and that is what right to work for less laws do.
Posted on January 16, 2013 - 08:20 AM