Why Should Businesses Care About The Poor?

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  1. profile image0
    HuntersWhittposted 9 years ago

    This is another theme that has come out in our economic discussions, and I'm curious to see what HubPages thinks:

    What responsibilities, beyond wages, do employers have to their workers?

    Consider the following hypothetical:

    Bob goes to work for Bigmart. When he applied for the job, he knew that it was for minimum wage, and he still chose to take it. Bob is a hard worker, and a model employee, but Bigmart never offers him more than his minimum wage job. At minimum wage, Bob can barely keep a roof over his head, and keep his family fed. He can't afford healthcare and is even looking into going on public assistance just to help make it through.

    My question is:

    A) Does Bigmart have any additional responsibility to Bob, other than his agreed upon wages?
    B) If so, what is the source and extent of that obligation?

    1. profile image51
      whoisitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      They have no obligation to Bob, but its a good thing businesses don't act like this. I'm sure there will be a disgruntled employee who will respond to my post telling me how wrong I am, but the truth will be they didn't actually resemble Bob in any way at all.

    2. rhamson profile image73
      rhamsonposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Bigmart is in no way responsible for Bob's lack of advancement but Bigmart is doing itself a great disservice. By refusing to increase his salary (recognizing that he is competent to do the job) they in essence take another possible customer out of their targeted dynamic. That is something Henry Ford realized so many years ago. He gave everyone a wage that if they wanted they could buy the product they were producing.

      Big business and corporate greed are in a race to the bottom to get every last penny of greedy profit they can all the while raping the customer base of disposable income to spend on their products. The greed is clouding their good sense and creating a dead end where they get it all.

      1. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        That's great (to pay workers enough to buy what they're building) but only if it's a cheap product.  I can't see paying Boeings workers enough that they can all own a 747.

        1. rhamson profile image73
          rhamsonposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          But can a cabinetmaker be paid enough to buy a kitchen? Can a oil worker afford to buy heating oil? Can a resturant worker afford to eat out? These are the examples I make. Anyone can go to an extreme to disprove a theory but can common sense see a way to make life affordable and not feed a corporate greed paradigm?

          1. profile image0
            JaxsonRaineposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Can the business afford to pay that much? People forget that aspect of it.

            I worked for a pretty high-end restaurant. Say they paid me $60 in a 6-hour period, and I cleared  $1000 in food. They would have lost money if they raised my pay to $100 for 6-hours.

            I don't know why, but the kind of argument you are making always comes with ignoring the actual money available.

            1. rhamson profile image73
              rhamsonposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              As I said any extreme can blow apart an example. You are prone to the extremes to a fault. You totally get what I am saying but seem to choose to be argumentative rather than helpful. The paradigm exists because it favors one to the other. The greedy need no excuse to wallow in their greed, they are immune to the fundamentals when confronted with logic because of it.

              1. profile image0
                JaxsonRaineposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                I'm not talking about extremes, I was talking about a relatively well-off business. I've seen businesses that pay $9/hr that couldn't even afford a $0.50 raise to every employee.

                The extreme is to say that employees should be paid more without looking at any of the data.

                1. rhamson profile image73
                  rhamsonposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  I too have worked in high end restaurants where the wages were not much above the norm. Where I made my money was in the tips where I could more than afford a meal. There are variables that apply to most every situation but your argument is way too specific and does not address the issue or its gist.

                  1. profile image0
                    JaxsonRaineposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                    You're completely ignoring my point. My argument points out that you can't make a blanket statement. It's IMPOSSIBLE to even say how much a business COULD pay its employees, let alone SHOULD pay, without a detailed look at their financials.

                    We have so much wealth in the US, and one reason is that we drive the prices for everything down so low. Along with that, the wages for low-skill jobs go down as well.

            2. profile image0
              JaxsonRaineposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              One last try rhamson.

              I asked if a business can afford to increase wages.

              I gave an example of a business that couldn't really.

              Is the proper logical deduction that I am saying

              1 - All businesses can't afford to raise wages.
              2 - Some businesses can't afford to raise wages.

              Couple that with my second post on the topic, where I said that we can't determine if a company even can raise wages without considering the financials, and the only logical deduction is that I am saying the financials must be considered. I even said, in my post, that the blanket statements you are talking about don't work.

              I have not been all over the place, it's not my fault you can't understand what you're reading.

              1. rhamson profile image73
                rhamsonposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                If you can't keep up and wish to play word games where you can only see your opinion then I can't help you. I have better ways of spending my time rather than playing these games of yours.

                1. profile image0
                  JaxsonRaineposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  Lol, you're the one playing games. Pretending I've said things I haven't said. I'm not the one who can't keep up.

        2. John Holden profile image61
          John Holdenposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          May be not enough to own one, but enough to travel on one at will.

    3. Praetor profile image60
      Praetorposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      A: No, Bob knew what the job paid before he took it, if he doesn't like it, he can look for another job.

      B: No further obligation exists.

      1. John Holden profile image61
        John Holdenposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        But there are no other jobs!

        1. profile image51
          whoisitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Its the only job? Man, he needs to move.

          1. John Holden profile image61
            John Holdenposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Where to?
            Somewhere else where jobs are in short supply?

            I suppose he could move to China, but how would he afford that?

            1. profile image51
              whoisitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

              I don't know how it is where you are but the US has plenty of jobs in certain parts of the country.

              1. John Holden profile image61
                John Holdenposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                Yes, I remember some years ago sitting in a local pub with your UK alter ego having a similar discussion.

                There's loads of jobs quoth he. So we searched through pages and pages of jobs but couldn't find one for him that wouldn't have resulted in a drastic pay cut (and he wasn't over paid to begin with).

                Moving of course requires a considerable amount of money, more than could be afforded by somebody earning the minimum wage.

                1. profile image51
                  whoisitposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                  You use minimum wage over and over, if you have a marketable skill you are not earning minimum wage.

                  1. John Holden profile image61
                    John Holdenposted 9 years agoin reply to this

                    I only mentioned a minimum wage in that post to illustrate the futility of telling people to move!
                    All right, forget minimum wage, the average family would find it very expensive to move if they were unemployed.

  2. Moderndayslave profile image61
    Moderndayslaveposted 9 years ago

    US wages haven't kept up to inflation period.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-2 … e-day.html 
    I bet Bigmart cares about it's shareholders.
    Yes, they should care about their workers enough to at least have some sort of  increase in pay for their more productive workers. Not only on a human interest side but to reduce turnover.
    The corporate climate of America has caused this. It's profits over people. It wasn't like this 30 or 40 years ago.
    The labor unions combated and rectified this problem. How soon everyone forgets.

  3. knolyourself profile image59
    knolyourselfposted 9 years ago

    The system says "no obligation to Bob", that is what the government is for. However I bet if the owners had to live in the same communities as the workers, there would be some change of heart.

  4. wilderness profile image95
    wildernessposted 9 years ago

    Bigmart has lots of responsibilities to Bob.  They have a responsibility to:

    provide a safe workplace
    pay Bob the agreed amount, on a timely basis
    keep Bob free of sexual harassment
    maintain Bob's unemployment and workman's comp. insurance

    There are many others as well but Bob's compensation is another matter.  Bigmart has a job available that is worth only at minimum wage.  It doesn't need a careful employee; mistakes are tolerable.  It doesn't need an employee that is on time every day or even there at all; such things are forgivable.  It doesn't need an inventive employee that works at finding better ways of doing the task; they have taken care of that.

    Bigmart is able to use entry-level employees to fill this job, employees that would be unfit to handle a more advance task.  The task Bob was hired for does not need top quality workers.

    Neither Bob, you, I or anyone else can make that determination; only Bigmart.  That Bob is an exemplary employee and performs far beyond the minimum doesn't change the requirements of the job and Bigmart has no responsibility to pay any more for a job than it is worth.  It may well be to their advantage to do so and keep Bob on the payroll, but they have no responsibility to do so.

    Bigmart, in conjunction with the free market place, is the determining factor as to what a job OR an employee is worth, no one else - not even the employee.  If Bob disagrees or he feels his abilities transcend the job he is free to find other work.


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