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Coopers
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Capitalism and the poor
Aug 29th, 2013 at 8:27am
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Seeing as the thread "Education Voucher" has gone way off topic, I thought I would create this thread to discuss how the free market and labour regulations affect the poor. Some of the things brought up were:

* Walmart and its treatment of workers
* Prices of products consumed by the poor
* Minimum wage laws
* Welfare vs charity
* Labour unions and wages
* Globalisation; specifically, the use of sweatshops in developing countries

Our socialist friend Proletariat seems to think that unions, minimum wage laws and strict labour regulations help the poor fight against the evil capitalists exploiting them. I have shown him that they in fact hinder the poor, but he remains unconvinced. I am not expecting a conversion, but this is certainly an interesting topic for discussion nonetheless.
  
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Coopers
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Re: Capitalism and the poor
Reply #1 - Aug 29th, 2013 at 12:50pm
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From the "Education Voucher" thread:

Proletariat wrote on Aug 28th, 2013 at 3:38pm:
Well, most normal people would stretch the definition of "exploitation of a worker" far wider than you did but anyways, that's irrelevant for now.


Yes, and that's why we don't have a libertarian society. People like yourself seem to think the government can wave a magic wand and make everything better for workers. What I have demonstrated so far is that capitalism makes things better for workers, while government does not. I am not arguing for any kind of paradise. Trade-offs have to be made. Your socialist utopia cannot exist in reality, and I am merely showing you the best option: free market capitalism

Quote:
So a little bit of government force or police brutality is ok? I mean, most people don't get beat by the cops, "only a small number of protesters do".


More hyperbole. Grow up.

Quote:
Agreed. The working class should be obsessed with something that occupies most of their waking hours.


So prices, productivity and all other relevant economic factors have no affect on wages and working conditions? Please, try to see the bigger picture. The better wages and conditions you desire have to come from somewhere. Again, you seem to think the government can simply wave that wand and make them appear. Well, I've got news for you: they actually come directly from the greedy capitalists that provide the jobs in the first place. That affects their bottom-line, which affects productivity, which in the long-run affects employment, wages and conditions. Learn some basic economics and this should be as plain as day.

Quote:
I agree that Walmart is good for the poor consumer and never stated otherwise.


Then why only focus on wages? As I said, you socialists are obsessed with labour and never see the broader implications of business. You readily acknowledge the benefits of lower prices (but only after I point it out) yet incessantly yabber on about worker exploitation. You lefties are just whingers! It doesn't matter how beneficial a company is, you always find something to bitch about

Quote:
But the fact remains that Walmart stores which may be understaffed are not understaffed due to a lack of funds. Walmart isn't some small mom and pop store than can't afford workers.


They are understaffed because it is unprofitable to hire more staff. Of course they have enough funds, but they only spend money in order to make a return.

Quote:
They are understaffed because why "waste" money on 5 unskilled workers when you can hire 4 to do the work of 5 (along with some unpaid overtime of course)? That whole mentality of being focused on the bottom line would mean that they would continue to under-staff stores and overwork their existing labour force. Again why would Walmart be stupid enough to "waste" money on additional staff when you can just overwork the current ones?


This is precisely what the minimum wage does! My god, I came close to banging my head against the bloody wall. If it is more profitable to hire less people and work their existing staff over time, then it is because it is too expensive to hire more workers! And why is it too expensive? Let me spell it out for you: M-I-N-I-M-U-M W-A-G-E.

Quote:
If the minimum wage was increased and Walmart had to start paying their workers an actually livable wage, their prices would not go up because they would still be competing with other companies as big, efficient and cheap as them.


Are you bloody kidding me? Where did you learn economics? From your stoned hippie Uncle?

Assuming that Walmart had to comply with the standards someone like you would implement, then it is safe to assume that other companies would have too as well. This means increased costs for all business. That means an across the board increase in prices. But I'm sure that would be fine with you.

But let's assume it only applied to Walmart. Of course, competition would help keep prices down. So let's just raise the minimum wage to $50/hr then. Or maybe $100. The workers would love that! And of course the increase in costs would have absolutely nothing to do with any rise in prices. Competition will sort all of that out on its own.

Let's go even further. Let's say it was only Walmart that had these increased costs, and that they would not increase their prices. What would they do? Hmm, I don't know...perhaps they would hire less workers? If they are already understaffed due to cost pressures, don't you think they would lay off even more staff?
« Last Edit: Aug 29th, 2013 at 2:24pm by Coopers »  
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Coopers
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Re: Capitalism and the poor
Reply #2 - Aug 29th, 2013 at 1:00pm
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Proletariat wrote on Aug 28th, 2013 at 3:38pm:
Walmart would certainly be tempted to jack up their prices but that's just a bad business practice. They would be forced to keep their prices low and wages reasonable and the end result would be that the fatcats who own/run the place and their shareholders would just make smaller profits. They would still be living high on the hog in compared to the rest of us, but their wealth would certainly reduce.


Oh, so it would only be the "fatcats" who would earn a bit less? Obviously you did not pay attention to these stats which I previously provided:

* Erase the Walmart CEO's entire salary, and you can raise average hourly wages by just a penny or so.

* Erase the entire Walton family fortune and you get an average $1/hour boost to Walmart workers.

Do you have any idea how much wage increases cost companies? Obviously not, considering you assume that the "fatcats" would simply lose a small portion of their wealth. Even small wage increases are extremely costly, and yes, they are passed on to consumers. Competition is only one part of the business equation, not that a socialist utopian like yourself would ever recognise that.
« Last Edit: Aug 30th, 2013 at 8:27am by Coopers »  
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LibertariCAN
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Re: Capitalism and the poor
Reply #3 - Aug 29th, 2013 at 1:26pm
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Coopers wrote on Aug 29th, 2013 at 1:00pm:
Oh, so it would only be the fatcats who would earn a bit less? Obviously you did not pay attention to thse stats which I previously provided:

* Erase the Walmart CEO's entire salary, and you can raise average hourly wages by just a penny or so.

* Erase the entire Walton family fortune and you get an average $1/hour boost to Walmart workers.

Do you have any idea how much wage increases cost companies? Obviously not, considering you assume that the "fatcats" would simply lose a small portion of their wealth. Even small wage increases are extremely costly, and yes, they are passed on to consumers. Competition is only one part of the business equation, not that a socialist utopian like yourself would ever recognise that.


This reminds me of those people who draw a graph showing minimum wage, and then they place that up against the wages of company CEOs to show the wage gap.

I've never seen someone follow through on that train of thought like you have, in the sense that the pure numbers don't make any sense, even if CEOs were to "share their profits".
  

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Re: Capitalism and the poor
Reply #4 - Aug 29th, 2013 at 2:34pm
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LibertariCAN wrote on Aug 29th, 2013 at 1:26pm:
This reminds me of those people who draw a graph showing minimum wage, and then they place that up against the wages of company CEOs to show the wage gap.

I've never seen someone follow through on that train of thought like you have, in the sense that the pure numbers don't make any sense, even if CEOs were to "share their profits".


Yes, and like I've said to Proletariat, the left is so obsessed with wages that they simply think that less money for the fatcat will equal more money for the worker. They are blinded by the "seen" and do not recognise the "unseen" which Bastiat spoke of. The "seen" would be the immediate wage increases to wokers. The "unseen" is the loss of investment and productivity due to increased costs. The net result is actually a loss, but our leftie friends simply focus on the small gains beaten out of those who actually create jobs.
  
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Re: Capitalism and the poor
Reply #5 - Aug 29th, 2013 at 3:24pm
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Coopers wrote on Aug 29th, 2013 at 12:50pm:
From the "Education Voucher" thread:


Yes, and that's why we don't have a libertarian society.


We don't have a libertarian society because people are against worker exploitation? This is an argument for libertarianism?

Quote:
People like yourself seem to think the government can wave a magic wand and make everything better for workers. What I have demonstrated so far is that capitalism makes things better for workers, while government does not. I am not arguing for any kind of paradise. Trade-offs have to be made. Your socialist utopia cannot exist in reality, and I am merely showing you the best option: free market capitalism


Sometimes, the government wages its magic wand and sometimes capitalism does. It's a case by case thing. I, unlike you, don't subscribe to a single villain ideology where the government/capitalism is blamed for literally everything.

Quote:
More hyperbole. Grow up.


I am saying that a little bit of abuse is not ok, which you seem to disagree with.

Quote:
So prices, productivity and all other relevant economic factors have no affect on wages and working conditions? Please, try to see the bigger picture. The better wages and conditions you desire have to come from somewhere. Again, you seem to think the government can simply wave that wand and make them appear. Well, I've got news for you: they actually come directly from the greedy capitalists that provide the jobs in the first place. That affects their bottom-line, which affects productivity, which in the long-run affects employment, wages and conditions. Learn some basic economics and this should be as plain as day.


All I said was that we, North Americans, need to be a little bit more focused on our working conditions considering that for e.g. the 40 hour work week and a work/life balance is under attack by those job creators which you seem to adore. I never mentioned any of that other stuff.

Quote:
Then why only focus on wages? As I said, you socialists are obsessed with labour and never see the broader implications of business. You readily acknowledge the benefits of lower prices (but only after I point it out) yet incessantly yabber on about worker exploitation. You lefties are just whingers! It doesn't matter how beneficial a company is, you always find something to bitch about


Why do people like you only focus on prices and competition and the like? I never see people on here discussing the 40 hour work week, clean/safe working conditions, job security, etc... It all comes down to this: "you Edited:
chose
to work under terrible conditions, just change jobs if you don't like it".

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They are understaffed because it is unprofitable to hire more staff. Of course they have enough funds, but they only spend money in order to make a return.

This is precisely what the minimum wage does! My god, I came close to banging my head against the bloody wall. If it is more profitable to hire less people and work their existing staff over time, then it is because it is too expensive to hire more workers! And why is it too expensive? Let me spell it out for you: M-I-N-I-M-U-M W-A-G-E.


Let me ask you a question, say I run a Walmart here in Canada. I hire 20 workers at 10.50 an hour (the legal minimum wage). One day, the minimum wage law is repealed (which by the way would never happen here in Communist Canada), why would I, as a rational minded capitalist, not pay my existing work force 4 dollars an hour to do the same work they did before?

Why would I waste money on further workers? And overworking my labour force worked fine in the past, why would I cease to do so simply because the minimum wage is gone? Sure, it becomes cheaper to hire more workers now that the minimum wage is gone but it's still  waste of my hard earned capitalist money.

Repealing the minimum wage won't increase the labour force, shorten work weeks, etc... current hiring and labour practices would be replicated, only difference is that the workers would be living on below subsistence wages. That is why laws mandating 40 hour work weeks, lunch and bathroom breaks and the like, and being paid for overtime are so important. That way, under staffing stores comes from the pockets of the bourgeois and not the workers.

But let me ask you a question, have you yourself attempted to raise a family or were raised by parents who worked a minimum wage job? If yes, were you incessantly thinking "oh man, my life would be so much better if there was no minimum wage laws"? We can talk about theory and crap until we are blue in the face, but all of this ignores just how difficult the lives of people on minimum wage already is. And repealing those laws in some blind hope that Walmart will be kind enough to lower its prices as a result would make these people's lives much harder than it already is.
  

"You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population." -Karl Marx
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Re: Capitalism and the poor
Reply #6 - Aug 29th, 2013 at 3:34pm
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Are you bloody kidding me? Where did you learn economics? From your stoned hippie Uncle?

Assuming that Walmart had to comply with the standards someone like you would implement, then it is safe to assume that other companies would have too as well. This means increased costs for all business. That means an across the board increase in prices. But I'm sure that would be fine with you.

But let's assume it only applied to Walmart. Of course, competition would help keep prices down. So let's just raise the minimum wage to $50/hr then. Or maybe $100. The workers would love that! And of course the increase in costs would have absolutely nothing to do with any rise in prices. Competition will sort all of that out on its own.

Let's go even further. Let's say it was only Walmart that had these increased costs, and that they would not increase their prices. What would they do? Hmm, I don't know...perhaps they would hire less workers? If they are already understaffed due to cost pressures, don't you think they would lay off even more staff?


Well of course laws would apply to all stores equally, Walmart is not a unique case. And what are all these standards I would implement that would drive up costs and prices? I don't remember mentioning any. Unless you are accusing me of wanting standards that preserve the minimum wage, 40 hour work week, work breaks, clean/safe working conditions and the like, then yes I am guilty of wanting "standards". But I thought we had all those, or at least we did before all this neo-liberalism went down.

And let's assume that your anarchist theories would lead to lower prices. That would surely benefit people from the upper income brackets. But the people on minimum wage will be no benefit from prices slashed in half when their salaries will be slashed in half as well. Your ideas, by their very nature, are designed to drive the rich/poor gap even further. But then again, who cares about people on minimum wage right?
  

"You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population." -Karl Marx
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LibertariCAN
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Re: Capitalism and the poor
Reply #7 - Aug 29th, 2013 at 4:17pm
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Edit: Not worth it.

But FYI: Under the Canadian Constitution, the responsibility for enacting and enforcing labour laws, including the minimum wage, rests with the ten provinces as well as the three territories which have been granted this power by federal legislation. This means that each province and territory has its own minimum wage.
  

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Re: Capitalism and the poor
Reply #8 - Aug 29th, 2013 at 4:21pm
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But let me ask you a question, have you yourself attempted to raise a family or were raised by parents who worked a minimum wage job? If yes, were you incessantly thinking "oh man, my life would be so much better if there was no minimum wage laws"? We can talk about theory and crap until we are blue in the face, but all of this ignores just how difficult the lives of people on minimum wage already is. And repealing those laws in some blind hope that Walmart will be kind enough to lower its prices as a result would make these people's lives much harder than it already is.


The minimum wage does more harm than good in those situations.
  

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Re: Capitalism and the poor
Reply #9 - Aug 29th, 2013 at 4:40pm
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Why would anyone pay $12 an hour for $4 an hour worth of work?

I would like to see the socialist or proletariat business person that consistently pays their employees wages based on their own belief system. Go ahead, start a business and pay your low skill workers according to what you believe they should earn.

Oh wait! Lets just steal money from nameless, faceless people to pay them! great idea!
  
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