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comment by wasoxygen
wasoxygen  ·  117 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Apples and Walmarts

I have no idea what it is like to live in Burkina Faso. I imagine it is very hard for most people. But I believe Burkinabés (had to look that up of course) would be better off if they rely on vaccines rather than witch doctors, if they use condoms instead of potions to resist AIDS.

My lack of experience with their situation does not make my ideas wrong. Nor would a lack of empathy, though I don't see how a lack of empathy is revealed by starting conversations about how to help the poor, rather than talking about video games.

My experience in retail was unpleasant, but yes, it was one of those high school jobs that built character. At the same time, I was teaching ESL for fun and often drove a group of Togolese and Ghanaian students to and from their jobs at Walmart. There was a whole clan that passed through the modest townhouse of an early immigrant, and they were all wonderful, decent, hardworking and generous people. I developed a profound respect for their determination to overcome difficult circumstances, similar to the respect I have for you. I don't believe that hard work and determination will guarantee everybody good results, but I think it goes a long way.

I was a poor teacher, and didn't do much to improve their English, though they helped me with French and taught me some phrases in their local dialects. But they all found work at Walmart, those with better language skills in more people-facing positions, others doing stocking and cleaning. They weren't getting rich, but they were getting by, and over the years they moved on to better situations.

I have no doubt that being paid $15 per hour is better for an employee than being paid $10. I hope that no one assumes my alleged allegiance to ideological celebrities or movements blinds me to that obvious fact.

Walmart can pay two employees $15 per hour or three employees $10 per hour. One option is clearly better for two employees, and worse for the third.

Economic theory is utterly uncontroversial in predicting that a price floor promotes a supply surplus. In the case of wages, this surplus is expressed as unemployment. Opposition to minimum wage, in my case at least, is not motivated by some abstract worship of economic efficiency, but the very real effect on human welfare that policy can cause in the form of unemployment.




tacocat  ·  116 days ago  ·  link  ·  

And if you're ideologically opposed to vaccination you might not want people in the third world to vaccinate their children. Disregarding the on-the-ground reality of suffering children and the visible results of vaccination.

What point are you making? You know what a price floor is? You worked in retail?

My point is if you're an ideologue who holds certain naive notions about the world based on academia and unrealistic theory, you're going to willfully ignore reality to fit your worldview or ignore it out of ignorance. Ignorance that shaped your worldview.

This guy has no idea what he's talking about. To the point that he corrected his math based on a 40 hour work week for employees. The math isn't the problem. The problem is he thinks workers at Walmart get 40 hours.

wasoxygen  ·  116 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    And if you're ideologically opposed to vaccination...

True, and if I were honest I would admit ideology, not reality, is my motivation.

    What point are you making?

My point is that a policy like minimum wage has costs as well as benefits. We should try our best to do the hard work of understanding the complexity on both sides so we can make an informed judgment.

I learned a little about what working in retail feels like when I was a cashier. I learned a little about price floors reading Wikipedia. Both of these experiences inform my still-incomplete understanding.

I think that admitting an error and correcting one's math is a sign of openness to evidence, rather than a stubborn disregard of on-the-ground reality. The author (now) recognizes that "many of them don’t work 40 hours a week". I also mentioned my belief that the math "has too many assumptions to be very useful" earlier.

I believe that minimum wage contributes to unemployment on the simple principle that when stuff costs more, people buy less of it. I recognize that it also benefits some workers.

I think the discussion should be about whether the benefits justify the cost. But it always ends up being about Ayn Rand somehow.