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Re: Short response to Mr. Sastri


Here's my reasoning justifying that a business should pay enough to sustain

Treating this as a systems problem,
suppose an employee works in a job that pays less than what it costs to
basic living necessities. The necessities than have to come from somewhere

whether it is monetary, savings, stored up food, stored up body fat,
the employee is putting out in energy and time more than (s)he can buy with
the wages (s)he gets. As I see it, the benefit of this depletion is
accruing to
the employer. In the absence of external inputs to the employee, the
will die or otherwise become unable to continue the work. The benefit of
extra output goes to the employer as profit and the consumer as lower
price at the expense of the employee.

To illustrate with real world examples.

A large proportion of employees in the meat packing industry suffer
motion injuries. This means that after about 10 years of work they are no
unable to use their hands in meat packing work or any other work. If we
the working life of a person to be 40 years, then effectively, the employer
derived 40 years of work out of a worker while paying for only ten years.
may argue that the work is only worth as much as the product fetches in the
market. I would argue that if the work required to make a product reduces
worker's life by 75%, the product ought to be priced so that the worker
paid enough that (s)he is supported for what would have been a full term
life. I see paying less as theft.

Another illustration would be coal miners- if we know that 15 years in the
will kill miners from dust inhalation, I'd say that it is the role of
society to
[a] make sure they are aware of it, and [b] that they are paid a wage that
reflects what they could have earned if they did not face premature death.

This brings me to my second point [which someone else has already stated].
If a business cannot sustain its employees, then it really has no reason to
exist. If, for example, I started a business that produces some product
people will only buy at a price that does not sustain a profit, you would
probably unhesitatingly say that I shouldn't be in business, the product
not be on the market, or both. By the same token I would argue that if the
way to make a product is to rob employees, such business activity is not
justifiable and it is the role of a society to protect its members from the
resource transfer [theft] that its operation would engender.

To take your photocopy example- if making photocopies requires me to employ
and I can only afford to pay you $2/hr which is less that what you need to
survive, then I would guess that there is something wrong with my business:
either photocopies are too cheap, or I should find a way of making copies
without employing someone below subsistence wages, or there are other
inefficiencies in my business.


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