It's illegal to pay cleaners less than $27.5/hour

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Cheetah, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    So there is a neutral market with a certain degree of state intervention, but without too much state intervention? That strikes me as a very contrived idea of neutrality.

    And I don't, for the reasons outline just above. I understand why capitalists would want such a level of intervention, of course, because it represents all the defences of capital and none of the defences of labour, but I don't imagine that you would adopt such a candid defence of the multi-jillionaire set..

    In the sense that they can usually gain some access to welfare money located at, in the long term, something a slither above sustenance level, perhaps, but that's a technicality of certain governmental institutions, not a meaningful description of social-political reality. Most people do are in practice obliged to pursue work, whether or not they can actually get it, because most people do not accept such a lifestyle- not least because, in countries like the US, it means effective lack of access to healthcare, which any civilised society regards as a basic necessity.

    We can do that now; it is neither a wholly viable solution, nor, if you take the Marxist position, a solution at all.

    But the government intervenes in the trade of other commodities, through taxes, regulation, tariffs, and so forth; why is this one in particular so heinous? It seems to me that it's the least offensive of the lot, given that it isn't, as in most cases, an economically regressive intervention.

    And yet you continue to debate, which leads me to think that you don't actually believe this at all. As I note above, you seem to arguing for a certain narrow band of state intervention, and I don't really know what it is about that particular level that makes it special.

    (I understand why capitalists would argue for that level, of course, because it includes all the benefits lent to capital and none of the benefits lent to labour, but that's not really a defence for your position.)

    No, that's exactly what "intrinsic value" doesn't mean. I really don't know how you arrived at that conclusion.

    You're confusing exchange value and individual use-value.
     
  2. BuckeyeJim

    BuckeyeJim King

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    No, not really. It just depends on what kinds of stipulations or preconditions you wish to place upon any given market. There doesn't even have to be limits really.

    The UN describes that sustenance level is $2 per day. Generally speaking the folks I work with collect the money that people who live at sustenance level earn in a year, about every two weeks. So no, they are not being held a slither above sustenance level. They are being held at living in an air conditioned apartment with cable TV and a PS3 level.

    No, not really. You can go grab a tent and set up shop in St. Petersburg, Florida if you'd like. All I need is water, a gun, and rabbits to live myself. Land is cheaper than all get out in the western US, and in many other places. You don't need much money to get enough acres to live in order to go rogue.

    This isn't true at all. Any poor person can sign up for medicaid and gain access to healthcare, ya know, because America is a civilized society and healthcare is regarded as a basic necessity here.

    Heinous? I never described it as such. I believe the term I used was "silly" and "inefficient." Funny how quick you and Cutlass are to jump at me with hyperbole. Anyhow, taxes, regulations, tariffs, and so forth, are all really counter productive and also add inefficiency to the market place. Especially taxes and tariffs on imports and trade. I mean, why facilitate trade if you're going to then turn around and become protectionist?

    Actually, I have not endorsed or condemned any level of regulation or intervention for any given group of people. Even in this situation. All I've proposed was the idea that it is silly and inefficient.

    All intrinsic means is: belonging to a thing by its very nature. If you and are standing together, and before us lies: liver, BBQ chicken, sweet tea, cake, and pie. And we are both asked what the value of those things are, it is exceptionally unlikely that we will place the same value on those items. All these items are real commodities in the sense that you think commodities cannot be services and must "things." All are subject to a market. So therefore they have intrinsic value to you, correct? Well guess what, since we view them differently and they are intrinsic items, then the intrinsic value of those items is coincidentally subjective.

    Again, no.
     
  3. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    If in the face of the law, they pay the higher price, then the service is apparently wotrth that too them - the law has just adjusted bargaining power to reflect a price that people are willing to pay. If they choose not to use the service then there will be less volume of work to do and there is some unemployement risk, but that has nothing to do with your point that I was responding to - that people are being forced to pay a higher rate than they are willing to. They have a choice - pay the higher rate (thus confirming that they are willing to pay that rate) or do without the service (thus not being forced to pay the higher rate).
     
  4. BuckeyeJim

    BuckeyeJim King

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    Yes, but what right does the government have to step in and alter that choice? At best, enacting these sorts of laws are zero sum games.
     
  5. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Except, it would seem, on pay levels for unskilled workers? :confused:

    "Sustenance", not "subsistence". The former, at least as I understand it, does not imply the literal minimum needed to physical maintain a human body, but the understood basic level of "life worth living", if you will, as understood in any given society.

    I'm talking about the long-term unemployed, not about people who happen to be out of work for a few weeks.

    And, in the 12th century, a serf could flee his lord and live as a bandit in the forest. Does that mean that the shackles of the peasant-lord relationship were not an economic reality?

    Again, you're dealing in marginal technicalities that in no way describe the functioning of society. It's a cop-out, not an argument.

    That's not really a debate we need to get into here; suffice to say that most Americans do not consider Medicaid to represent a comprehensive form of medical provision, and so are driven to pursue employment to secure their future health.

    Rhetorical hyperbole is a very, very old device. It should not be so shocking to you.

    The idea behind protectionism is, I believe, to foster certain kinds of trade over others, most usually to promote native industry over foreign. This is not, whatever you may believe, an "anti-trade" measure, and is most usually pursued by groups of capitalists for their own ends, i.e. trade which is more profitable to them. For example, the protectionism that in part lead to the American Civil War was actively pursued by Northern industrialists to both lessen the competition represented by British industry and to draw the agrarian South out of the British economic orbit and into the Northern one. This, as you may have noticed, did American commerce a world of good.

    You previously offered your support for as much regulation as was necessary to "neutralise" the market, and previously criticised regulation that lead to "waste". That implicitly constitutes a certain, albeit rather broad position on state regulation of the economy, even if you haven't gotten to the point of spelling out exact policies.

    Intrinsic value is, by definition, objective; it is permanently embodied in a physical commodity, while subjective value varies from person to person and from time to time. For example, the Labour theory of value holds exchange value to be an intrinsic property, in that it is is embodied in the commodity as a product of labour (or, more accurately, as the representative of a commodity type, and so embodying the average labour needed to produce that commodity type) and so constitutes an objective value, but still acknowledges that use-value is an entirely subjective, variable category.

    And I never said that commodities must be physical quantities, I said that services are not in themselves a form of direct commodity production, and so it is impossible to directly infer any objective value for the labour power expended in those services by examining their eventual profitability, because there is no direct profitability to be found.

    Would you care to explain the distinction as embodied on your previous comment, then?
     
  6. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    How has the government altered the choice? You are still choosing whether to hire a cleaner (perhaps at a more spaced out interval), clean yourself, or let things go to hell. Just as a tax on gas may cause the supplier to try to pass the price onto the consumer and if the supplier is successful, the consumer to evaluate wheter to consume at the same rate. Or the government can choose to outlaw certain types of recreation, drugs, prostitution, gambling), thus increasing the demand (and price) of legal recreation. Do you question the government's right to tax or prohibit certain activities?
     
  7. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Moderator Action: Please make sure you're steering clear of such comments as:
    No need to make a disagreement get personal.
    :)
     
  8. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Or maybe it improves the efficiency of the markets by making them more balanced.
     
  9. aw3524

    aw3524 Prince

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    In a world of rapidly decreasing union density, then, why has labor's share of national income remained pretty much constant?
    (sauce)
     
  10. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    That doesn't tell the whole story. The bottom 80% of American workers haven't had a raise since the 70s.
     
  11. Arwon

    Arwon

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    ...because we need unions in order to get a fair shake and achieve some sort of balance?

    Record low levels of industrial action coupled with a record low labour share of national income should not be occuring at the same time.
     
  12. Mise

    Mise isle of lucy

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    I haven't read the last 10 pages or so but I'm going to say something anyway. I fall in and out of love with unions on a fairly regular schedule. Sometimes, I think they're not only beneficial but essential for balancing the power of the corporation. Other times, I think they increase unemployment and make it harder for young men and women to find work. I've come to the conclusion that, like most things, there are good ways of running a union and bad ways of running a union. And I think that a lot of the disagreements around whether unions are good or not stem from the fact that some people only see the examples of bad union management while the other only sees examples of good union management. The problem is with how some unions are run, not with their existence in the first place.

    I've just done a fag-packet estimate of how household incomes have changed in the UK since 1977 by quintile:


    Quintile............% increase in real income, 2006 prices.......Annualised %
    Top 20%.......................145%......................................3.0%
    4th...........................114%......................................2.6%
    3rd...........................110%......................................2.5%
    2nd...........................67%.......................................1.7%
    Bottom 20%....................67%.......................................1.7%


    (based on this report - read the £ numbers off the graph in figure 2, so it's rough. The trends are easy enough to spot though.)
     
  13. h0ncho

    h0ncho Chieftain

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    Background: There have been some revelations lately that foreign workers have been working at very low rates, thus out-competing Norwegians. By using their contacts in the government to raise the minimum wage for that kind of labour ridiculously high, they have now efficiently barred filthy immigrants from competing.
     
  14. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy The long wait

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    See, now isn't the way Arizona is doing it refreshingly open and honest? None of this discrimination in the name of tolerance bullcrap :D
     
  15. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Don't you think that it's rather disingenuous to simply assume xenophobia on their part, let alone, as you seem to be doing, xenophobia for xenophobia's sake? The relationship between organised labour and immigration is, historically and contemporarily, very complicated, and you do nobody any favours by reverting, in classic middle-class liberal fashion, to a tutting stereotype of the intrinsically racist "white working class".
     
  16. aw3524

    aw3524 Prince

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    I'm not sure what you're implying by this trend since the people in a given quintile today aren't the same people that were in a quintile some time ago.

    It is certainly anti-trade; it is a statement that, because of some arbitrary delineation (nation, state, city, etc.), I cannot freely buy from or sell to another individual, and in fact, I must also provide welfare to a very specific group of domestic producers.
     
  17. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    What does that have to do with anything? :confused: I don't recall the issue ever being one of social mobility.

    "Trade" and "free trade" are distinct concepts.
     
  18. aw3524

    aw3524 Prince

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    The way that kind of statistic tends to be used is as a "look, the rich have done a lot better than the poor over these 30 years" kind of thing, but it doesn't say that at all. Those are statistical categories, not the same people.

    Well, I don't think I'm taking excessive liberties by inferring that what I said is what he meant, but I'm curious as to how one can be against free trade but for trade in general. That seems like a contradiction.
     
  19. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    I still don't see your point. In what sense does a high level of social mobility- we'll assume, for purposes of argument, that such a thing exists- imply that increasing wealth inequality is any less real, or any less of a cause for concern?

    I know that's what he meant, and my entire point was in explaining that the contradiction he saw emerging as a result of his conflation was illusory.

    Well, the Soviet Union was was (propaganda aside) a market economy which engaged heavily in international commercial, if such an illustration is any good to you. "Trade" is not some unique innovation of the Anglo-American world, it's a basic constituent of all modern economies.
     
  20. aw3524

    aw3524 Prince

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    Well, for one, you can't generally deal with inequality without crippling the incentive for the productive classes to work, defeating the purpose. Still, I don't see stronger unions in the cards to deal with what (I'm guessing) you might see as gains taken from the worker by a power imbalance. I've expressed my disagreement with the existence of a strong power imbalance before: I'm mobile because I have alternatives. Also, doesn't some of the heaviest opposition to immigration come from people who fear they will literally come to America and 'take our jobs'? That doesn't strike me as particularly stationary group of people.

    If there is a power imbalance, dealing with it by throwing the workers more power might not be a good solution. Say Microsoft is successfully tried for having monopoly influence. Does the government immediately step in and act as a single-payer intermediary for the consumer? or does it analyze and try to limit the source of that monopoly?
     

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