13 December 2005

Green Party promoting more state violence - Example 2

As the next part of my series into how the Greens are pro-violence. There is Sue Bradford’s private member’s bill to compel employers to pay 16 and 17yos the adult minimum wage.

Now the concept of a legal minimum wage in itself is state interference in the actions of individuals. If a person is willing to work for less than the minimum wage, why should an employer be required – under threat of state violence – to pay that person more? This is Nanny State in action once again.

The Green’s argument is that “age discrimination is arbitrary, inequitable and unjustifiable under the principle of equal pay for work of equal value”. Well if only it were as simple as that.

The “value” the Greens are putting on work is arbitrary, inequitable and unjustifiable. Who else, other than the employer and employee can decide what the value is in performing a certain task? The value may be $20 a hour or $1. The employer determine whether the task generates enough wealth to make that worthwhile, and how easy it is to get others to perform the task – unskilled jobs pay little because a lot of people are unskilled. The employee decides whether the time and effort cost in the job is worth the money that is offered for it.

None of this involves force. Now some would argue that you are “forced” to work otherwise you starve, which of course is not “force” it is reality. Human beings will die unless they undertake tasks to find food, or trade value for food. It has nothing to do with force – the world does not owe anyone a living.

16 and 17yos typically face no risk whatsoever of starving or not being able to survive without a job. For them, employment is about gaining some valuable early experience in the workforce (which is a good way to get a CV started) and then to have some surplus money to pay for entertainment, clothes and other lifestyle accessories. Most live off the back of their parents for housing, food, utilities etc.

To say that a 16yo should be paid the same as an 18yo for the same job ignores so many factors that the state has no right to question. The fundamental factor is this- the employer created the job and is offering money (the employer’s money) for performing a duty, often on the employer’s property. The employee can accept or reject this. It is not for Sue Bradford or anyone to interfere in this. Exploitation? Well assuming the 16yo entered into the contract wilfully, it is not exploitation – the contract can be ended, it is not slavery and it is not compulsory. Whereas the creepy concept of equal work for equal pay (assuming some great oracle can determine what equal work means) socialises jobs, makes employment an intimate matter of the state whereby bureaucrats determine what value is put on what people produce.
The argument that "High school students are often required to work long hours in evenings and weekends to support their families, who are themselves often facing the same wage issues." put forward by Young Greens Spokesperson George Darroch is bollocks. "Often required?" since when? Just another socialist unsubstantiated assertion.

The minimum wage for 16 and 17yos should not be increased, it should be abolished. If 16 and 17yos want to work they can choose whether to take a particular job or not – take the experience and the pay, or do something else. The argument that such wages do not reflect the cost of living is irrelevant - the employer doesn't set that, and these jobs are more often than not part time supplements. Should part time employment be banned because it doesn't reflect the cost of living? The claim that 1 in 5 children live in poverty has little to do with lower wages for young people - the people to blame for that poverty are, by and large, the parents who produced the children and did not take steps to ensure they would be looked after.
Nobody owes them a living.
ACT and National should vote against this Bill, as it is not only immoral, but will effectively ban many jobs that exist right now. Many jobs for 16 and 17yos exist only because the employer cannot justify paying them more for the tasks these inexperienced people bring to their jobs. The jobs are valuable short term work experience, which can move onto better pay in the future. The Greens want to destroy these jobs, although they THINK they are simply going to raise the wages in those jobs. The formula is simple- if the jobs do not generate wealth for a business at the adult minimum wage, the jobs will go. If the person doing the job is likely to leave and he or she would be hard to replace, then the employer will pay more to retain that employee. There is no such thing as a right to a job
and why is this an example of state violence? It is using the threat of injunction (with fines or imprisonment to back it up) to prohibit employment contracts below a certain price. There is nothing peaceful about that!


CD said...

I started working at New World when I was 14 at the rate of $5.50 an hour (before tax).

Whenever I tell anyone that they always say "That's disgusting!"

No, it's not, it was my choice. As a result of starting work so young (and never being out of a part-time job since) I started building a work history that has got me to a position far above average today (with an even more exciting one in the wings).

If there had been a minimum wage for 14 year olds I doubt I would have been hired (who would hire a 14 year old over someone older at the same price?) so I'm very glad the government wasn't
"protecting me from exploitation" thankyouverymuch.

Libertyscott said...

Funny how the left always think that the people being exploited are too stupid to know that they are, too powerless to do anything about it and funnily enough, don't usually vote for their "advocates".