Questions to and Answers from Anton Rocker

Kevin Leonard asks: Anton, I wonder whether you thinks fights in my time for a $15 per hour minimum wage are positive? To me it feels like ratifying low wages. What is a fair minimum wage?

If you fight for $15 by saying it is a good amount, I think you are right, you are saying earning that low amount would be just. But if you fight as we did, saying only equitable remuneration is just but $15 is a step in the right direction to then seek more, you aren’t ratifying low wages and you are getting ready to seek more.

In RPS economics there is no fair minimum wage, only a fair wage because everyone gets the same pay per hour of average intensity, average onerousness, socially valued labor. The only way to get more income for an hour of labor is to work harder than average or if your conditions are worse than average.

So the minimum hourly wage is the average hourly wage. You get more by working longer, harder, or under worse conditions, consistent with your workplace needs for producing socially valued outputs.

By all means fight for $15, but then fight for more. Especially since the jobs paid minimum wage are typically more. Intense and suffer worse conditions.