Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A Living Wage?

Yesterday's discussions in the media about the concept of a living wage produced the usual crop of well-worn free-marketeer commentaries about where the money will come from to pay for such an outrageous suggestion. We heard the usual observations about taxes, profits and prices, but no one seemed ready to suggest that maybe executive pay or reducing the income of high earners was a possible source. Surprise, surprise.

A report this morning on the news suggests that senior executives have seen an average 27% increase in their remunerate packages this last year. How many more people could a company employ if the rate of pay for the the CEO was more realistically related to the average across the company. There are of course some exception where CEO's don't take large salaries, but they are rare.

Perhaps it is time we said enough is often more than enough for the few and the many deserve better. If it's possible to calculate a living wage, then why would any employer not want to pay it? Can profit ever outweigh equity and fairness towards both employees and clients?

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