“ Which you apparently do if you think jobs paying below a living wage should exist (indicated by your stance she should work several jobs). No one in the food industry or ANY industry should be forced to work two jobs to support themselves.”
What, exactly, constitutes a living wage? Does it vary by location? Is it the same for everyone? Regardless of the time actually spent working? Is my ability to perform part of the equation? Does it include cell phones and internet access? Expensive bourbon? Cheap bourbon? If you get paid a living wage and decide to spend a more, does the living wage automatically increase to cover it? If I make a poor financial decision, should I just be given more? Are there any limits?
I’m sure my questions sound facetious, but they aren’t intended to be. If you boil down all economics you get to a single, logical concept: an exchange of values. One freely exchanging something of value with another. Any system that deviates from this concept cannot function. For example, if you had a car for sale (let’s assume you earned the money for the car yourself, through your own hard work) and were reasonably asking $5,000 for it and I answered your ad and offered you $1,200 because I needed it to get to work, would you accept my offer? Would you be a bad person if you didn’t? You wrote, “ You are a terrible person if you don’t think someone willing to work deserves the basics.” If we adopted an economy based on this viewpoint it would become your responsibility to provide for me financially. How hard do you want to work to support me?
My employer makes money by providing goods to people at a price (value) that both parties believe is fair. If my employer began paying its employees more than they contribute, the prices they charge would no longer be sufficient to cover their expenses. In order to exist, they would have to charge more for their products. The problem is that other companies also provide these products, but now at lower prices than my employer. Consumers would then stop buying our products and the company would eventually close. There is no way around this basic fact. Yes, it would be gratifying if everyone with a true need could have it met, but it simply isn’t sustainable.
I haven’t any responses from the folks that have taken exception with the author of the genesis article promote unfair trade practices or suggested that there aren’t some people struggling financially despite honest effort. What they have observed, however, is that the genesis author’s letter does not describe that situation. Rather, she describes her own poor financial decisions but takes no responsibility for them. She implies that Yelp bears responsibility for her decision to lease an apartment that she could not afford and that the company should compensate her at a level greater than her contribution because of it. She seems oblivious to the fact that had she made a single different decision with respect to living arrangements, she would have more money left over for things like food and car repairs. She expresses no acknowledgement of the ways in which her former employer was providing more than the common employer-employee social contact via free health insurance and substantial food provision, but actually criticizes the company because it did not also pay for her personal groceries. We aren’t critical of the genesis article author because we have no empathy for those who are struggling despite a good faith effort. We are critical of her precisely because we have empathy for those people. And she isn’t one of them.