Economics/Class Relations

Red State Voters Back Minimum Wage Hike

Sorry, free-market absolutist libertarians, but “Let them eat cake!” is a non-starter during a time of growing poverty and widening class divisions. Libertarians and anarchists need to move past fanatical views on economics, and develop a more pragmatic libertarian-populist progressive-conservative radical-center idistributist-decentralist approach that can appeal to the vast socioeconomic spectrum of those under attack by corporatism and plutocratic internationalism.

MSN.Com

Low-wage retail and fast food workers can claim a second victory in their fight for a $15 minimum wage that has resulted in strikes, protests and arrests over the last two years.

On Tuesday, San Francisco voters approved a minimum wage of $15 across the city, joining Seattle, which raised its pay to the same sum in June.

Like their Seattle counterparts, San Francisco workers will see their wage increase incrementally. By next May, it’ll hit $12.25, climbing to $13 in 2016. By 2018, it’ll be $15, meaning a full-time minimum wage worker in the liberal California city can expect to make $31,000 a year.

Minimum wage also got a boost in four traditionally Republican states following Tuesday’s midterm elections, with voters approving ballot measures in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.

In Alaska, low-wage workers will see their hourly pay boosted to $9.75 by 2016 (the federal minimum remains $7.25). In Arkansas, that number will be $8.50, while Nebraska voters approved a new hourly salary of $9. South Dakota workers will see their wage upped to $8.50 next year.

These red state wage hikes follow a campaign by President Obama to see the federal minimum raised to $10.10 per hour. The bill died on the Senate floor in April.

Some large retail chains, however, have taken it upon themselves to raise the hourly pay for their workers. Gap Inc. — the parent company of the Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy — surprised retail watchers and the general public alike by announcing a new $10 minimum wage back in February.

President Obama thanked the Gap by stopping at a New York outpost the following month to buy sweaters for Michelle and his daughters.

Workers at big box giant Walmart continue to advocate for a salary boost of their own. In October, 42 low-wage retail workers and their allies were arrested outside Walmart heiress Alice Walton’s Manhattan apartment building while protesting for $15 per hour pay.

Inside A Walmart Low-Wage Worker Protest

2 replies »

  1. Sorry, free-market absolutist libertarians, but “Let them eat cake!” is a non-starter during a time of growing poverty and widening class divisions. Libertarians and anarchists need to move past fanatical views on economics

    I spent some time investigating free-market anarchism and while I agree with their academic analysis on microeconomics, “ceteris paribus” simply does not apply to the real world.

  2. During my IWW/IWA days I was really into leftist economics and spent a lot of time studying Marx and other thinkers within the socialist tradition. Later, I became interested in libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism, and absorbed thinkers like Mises, Hayek, Nozick, etc. I used to compare their arguments and try to figure out which side had the better case. Then as now, my conclusion is that they’re both right up to a point, but if you take either position to extremes you get ludicrous results. Then as now, I was interested in finding some happy medium between the two extremes that didn’t involve a top heavy state. Carson’s work helped me to clarify some of that a bit.

    But as a general rule, I find the explanatory power of elite theory to be far more convincing concerning the question of how societies actually work than any of these deterministic economic theories: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elite_theory

    The core insight of elite theory is that in any kind of economic system the economic and political elites eventually coalesce into a oligarchical ruling class.

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