Since when does a corporation's right to make money, trump a human's right to eat?

This was posted as a comment elsewhere, but I thought I'd share it:

There are so many issues that need to be addressed with precarity and wages; not the least of them being eradicating the entire idea that (as an example, for the sake of argument) service industry jobs should continue to be relegated to the 'lower class' as we have put them.

You aren't supposed to want to do that your entire working life; you're supposed to go to university and get a better job. Well, I hate to burst the dream bubble of the folks for whom that sort of thinking is a viable lifeplan, people with the means of having the luxury to think that way, but the world of employment doesn't work that way. Not everyone can go to university - and not just for reasons related to money. It's just not meant for everyone, nor does every single person want it. Some folks want a simple job they can leave at the end of the day. Some folks are not able to do work that's more complex. And, frankly, these lovely university-educated jobs that we're all supposed to be striving for, don't exist in the numbers that we need them to in order to satisfy this 'dream'. I did it. I went to university. I ended up twenty-four thousand dollars in debt with an education I was happy to have, but it's done me no favours employment-wise. I come from a generation that, when young, still had the advantage to think that a university education was an automatic stepping-stone to employment. What they should have told us, is that it will make you employable, it just won't (necessarily) get you employed.

Service jobs are no longer the temporary stepping stone to bigger and better things that we used to see them as. This is what there is. This is all that some folks can get. We must take the labour that's available to us, and hold on to it, because there's nothing else out there. Temp jobs become permanent jobs, because the ladder has no more rungs on it.

I know people who have children with varying levels of Autism which is going to greatly impact the work they do. Do these kids deserve to live in poverty because they might not be able to do something more? Do I deserve to work only shit jobs, and get paid a slave wage, because life dealt me a disability that prevents me from aiming for certain kinds of other work?

Some people also don't think that youth should get paid the same wage as an adult, for doing the same work. There's another classist concept that needs to be eradicated. Work of equal pay for work of equal value, assuming they're doing the work equally well, doesn't just apply to gender. It applies to everyone; or should.

Speaking of education, we need to stop making it such a horror-show for young people. We have turned graduating from university into a ritualised debt. No kid should leave school at the age of 22, tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Who's paying that off on an entry level wage, especially with rents the way they are? My student loan payments were initially $450 a month, and that was when minimum wage was $10.75 an hour. That's a generous version of $10.75, if it can pay bills and debts and leave you enough for food. Way back in the misty dawn of time, people used to have to pay for high school if they wanted their kids to do that past grade 8. At some point, the government realised that in order for anyone to survive, to get work, a high school education was becoming necessary, so they took the step to include it in their funding, as they had with primary education. It is LONG past the time when post-secondary training - whether that be university, college, specialised training, or apprenticeship - has become necessary in order for anyone to gain footing in the work world. It should be covered.

And before anyone has a cow about people abusing the system, let me point out that every system gets abused. Also, it's pretty easy to build in safeties to ensure that the system is used, not abused. Such as: Require that a person keep a certain average, or they have to pay for that term/year/whatever. The sort of people who would wish the heavy continued burden of education debt on a kid as some sort of grotesque rite of passage, especially since "if I had to do it, they have to do it", is a small-minded ass who, hopefully, isn't homeless like many university students in Canada are. Yes, that's right, there are homeless students in Canadian universities, sleeping in lounges on campus because they can't afford a place to live. How is that providing a means of success to that person? Let me help you out: It Isn't.

We also have to get rid of the idea that anyone who's living a low-income life, deserves to be poor, and deserves to be grateful to be poor. It's a disgusting attitude, but that's going to be a hard battle to fight.

Businesses thrive because of demand, not because their workers get paid low wages so a company's profit margin can survive. Businesses thrive because people spend money at them, so you need to give them money to do that spending. The rich do not drive the economy. Trickle-down economics is a farce. As Nick Hanauer puts it (paraphrased), "I make a thousand times the median wage, but I don't spend a thousand times more on clothing, or eating out at restaurants." (Nick Hanauer is a billionaire venture capitalist in the US, who is a vocal supporter of a living wage. Watch his TED talks.) It never fails to stun me, how much people are willing to do to sanctify a company's profit margin, rather than support quality of life. Since when does a corporation's right to make money, trump a human's right to eat? Why do we do this to each other?

2018 06 08 - 18:48

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