Question: The issue of minimum wage reaches the headlines more and more often. This is a matter of growing interest not only in Israel but in other countries as well. We would like to examine this issue not from an economic but a social point of view. After all, the minimum wage can say a lot about our society and it raises a number of problems that are related to the social relationships in our country.
As an advisor in the field of employment, I can personally see how the middle class is gradually reduced to the category of those who live on minimum wage. Generally speaking we are talking about almost a third of the workers who receive minimum wage or a bit more than that. It is about a million people including people who are highly educated, teachers, young architects, social workers, etc. Today, many people find it hard to make ends meet because of the low salary that they receive.
There are many debates with regard to this issue that also include moral aspects: Is there a point in creating artificial, imposed equality? Or rather, should we keep the laws of the free market in every aspect?
Economists also find it hard to agree on this issue. Some claim that a high minimum wage increases unemployment and weakens the economy. Others believe that these claims have no basis. Seven Nobel Prize winners, for example, deny the connection between unemployment and minimum wage and hold that raising the minimum wage benefits society. What is your opinion on this matter?
Answer: I engage in a different type of systems. Different laws than those accepted in modern society control them. These are the laws of nature and not the artificial laws of this world that are imposed by egoistic rivalry.
Therefore, I find it hard to deal with a completely rotten structure of society where “dog eats dog” and everyone hates the other and sees others as his enemy. In such circumstances, it is impossible to give any advice on specific matters since the whole system is hopeless. The only thing we can do is to get rid of it and create something new.
On the other hand, we have already seen how the old world is being ruined without anything new being built that is better in any way. After all, the structure still remains with the same egoistic basis.
Today we are subject to the market economy that works according to its own rules. This means that the employer usually wants to pay less to his employee and actually give him zero wages for a 24-hour shift without any breaks or holidays. The employee, on the other hand, would like not to work at all but only receive a salary into his bank account and not the minimum wage for that matter but a maximum wage.
In such circumstances, a society exists on the account of the competitive potential of its members. They all try to obtain as much as they can by power games, negotiations, agreements, and many other factors.
For example, there are labor laws and law enforcement authorities, trade unions, and workers’ committees, etc., which operate between the employer and his employees. All the parties involved also want to benefit from what is going on and no one wants it to end.
After all, companies, groups, and organizations who are interested parties are still thinking only about themselves even if they try to fight for the rights of the workers and the employees and the lower classes, trying to win for them minimum wage, pension funds, and other benefits. These people have good jobs and get their share. and, in other words, also operate egoistically.
In that case, there is no one from whom we can demand a correction. It is impossible to correct only one part of the mechanism. If we have to change a certain part in this rusty engine with another part made of gold, which is perfect in every parameter, it will be useless at best and in the worst case scenario the fixed part will actually disrupt the whole system even more.
I remember when a girl I studied with decided to clean part of the window in the student flat where I lived with some of my friends. As a result, we discovered that now we have to clean the whole huge window, which was practically the size of the whole wall. Then the light came into the room and we found out that the whole room needed a good cleaning.
In short, if we intend to fix something, we have to take the whole system into account. It is a whole system and every part in it is mutually connected to the other parts, and it is impossible to isolate the minimum wage as a single factor of success. We have to approach the whole system integrally and to shake it well. In other words, we have to take it apart and put it together again anew. No single corrections will help the general picture.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 12/23/14