UK adult minimum wage rise
The government has raised the UK minimum wage this month, which sounds good in principle, but ain't necessarily so good in practice.
As of the 1st October 2014, the minimum wage for a British adult aged 21 or over is a miserable £6.50 per hour, up from an even more miserable £6.31. You might think that anyone in their right mind would favour the minimum wage. But we don't. We're 100 percent against it.
Why? Because what the minimum wage really means is that unless an employer can GUARANTEE to pay someone £6.50 per hour, that person can't work at all. Not for that firm, anyway. That's the law. So if, for instance, you run a motorcycle shop and desperately want to take on an adult and get him or her off the dole queue, you've got to give them £6.50 per hour, or nothing.
It doesn't matter if the prospective employee is happy to work for a fiver an hour (and thereby get a foot on the employment ladder and maybe learn about the bike business). It doesn't matter if the only work you can offer is cleaning bikes, or answering the phone, or running errands, or some other low productivity menial job.
The UK government has decreed that an employer HAS to pay £6.50 per hour, or the would-be employee can stay on the bloody dole.
And that makes no sense at all, and especially not in an economy that's supposed to be driven by market forces. What's actually happening is that the national finances are in such a mess than the Tory-led government is maintaining a pseudo left-wing ideal which actually puts the brake on private labour exchange agreements.
▲ £6.50 per hour, aka the current UK minimum wage. You can earn more than that in sixty minutes of begging on the streets of London. So does fixing labour prices in a free market make any sense?
So should an employer be free to offer £2 per hour? Or even £1 per hour? Absolutely. And should an employee be free to accept whatever he or she can get? Absolutely. And is it any business of the government if someone wants to sell his or her labour cheap? Absolutely not.
We know why the minimum wage was introduced. It was designed to stop exploitation of the workers, etc. Except that exploitation is the name of the game. It's not a dirty word. Exploitation means getting as much as you can get for as little as you need to pay. And that's the bedrock of capitalism. Where it goes wrong is when capitalism tries to become half-assed liberalism seasoned with a dose of socialism.
This issue affects us all, both as ordinary people and classic bikers. Why? Because the economy is stagnant. It's wrecking business, devaluing bikes, munching through what little disposable income we have, ruining pension schemes, draining savings, and (worst of all) demoralising most of the nation.
Elsewhere, parts of Europe are slipping back into recession. Germany, in an effort to force banks to lend money to the common businessman, is currently offering negative interest rates for bank-to-bank lending (as distinct from bank-to-consumer lending). And national deficits continue to spiral out of control.
Meanwhile, the unemployment figures are so heavily massaged that they're a shapeless mass of numbers confused by training schemes, apprenticeship schemes, back-to-work schemes, and various other sleight-of-hand Job Centre dodges.
Short of executing about three million British people of working age, and locking the immigration door for a decade or so, the UK is going to continue wrestling with a grossly unbalanced labour market (hence the national scandal of zero hours contracts). But the minimum wage is no answer. The minimum wage is merely another symptom of the underlying problem.
▲ So how does the minimum wage affect you? Comrade Cameronski thinks that giving us a few extra pennies per hour is the solution. But does he even really understand the depth of the problem? We doubt it.
Part of the (wider) reason why the classic bike market is now struggling is because the minimum wage has come between employers and employees, slowing the flow of money. Yes, there are many other reasons (too numerous to mention). But telling people how LITTLE they're allowed to accept as wages is no solution. And until Whitehall or Brussels addresses this, the government isn't going to deal with the underlying problem which is simply too many people.
We had this problem back in the 1930s. It led directly to German, Italian and Spanish national socialism, and we know what happened after that. What's needed now is something a lot less radical than a war, but something considerably more radical than the current industrial and commercial paradigm that we're struggling to manage.
David Cameron, our esteemed Conservative Prime Minister, hasn't got a clue what to do. Neither does Ed Milliband's Labour Party. And these days, Nick Clegg's Lib-Dems are little more than a laugh box. As for UKIP, they're probably either spectacularly wrong about the UK exiting Europe, or spectacularly right. And even if you like their fundamental policies, are they actually fit for government?
There's a general election coming around in May 2015.
— Sam 7
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