Paying a Living Wage
Interesting to hear a different angle to the minimum wage debate on last night's Channel 4 News. Nick Hanauer argues that increasing the wages of ordinary workers will result in a much more prosperous economy.
He says that prosperity by making rich people richer doesn't work, and that we need to increase the income of poorer people to allow more spending. Traditionally capitalists argue that if wages are increased, employment reduces as business owners can't afford to pay as many workers. Hanauer argues that if wages are increased, workers earn more money, therefore businesses have more customers. With the current minimum wage, ordinary workers don't earn enough to buy anything.
What's interesting is that Hanauer is a plutocrat, and has invested or set up 35 businesses. He's not suggesting that wages are increased due to altruistic do-gooder sentiments, but for economic and business sense.
We've long been campaigners for the Living Wage. At our last business we paid our interns the London Living Wage, and were continually surprised when graduates would come to work for us after having spent a few months working for well known brands, not even receiving enough money for their bus fare. This makes internships the domain of the few that can afford to work for nothing,and allows business to exploit unpaid work.
But we're the fluffy nice people who always try to 'do the right thing'. The fairness argument hasn't worked so far, so let's see if Hanauer's economic viewpoint will garner more support!