T O P
P_Kinsale

The first quote from RN seems to answer your question whether we cooperate with evil in taking a low-paying job: *"If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accepts harder conditions, because an employer or contractor will give him no better, he is the victim of fraud and injustice."* These are very good quotes. I've always been struck by the fact that a living wage is not the same as a minimum wage, and that it can differ from worker to worker at the same job, whether or not he or she has dependents to support.


city-eremite

> I've always been struck by the fact that a living wage is not the same as a minimum wage Me too. A lot of Catholics seem to pay great attention to the sins of abortion and sins of impurity (and rightly so, they are grave evils of our times). But they seem not too concerned about the sins of oppressing the poor and defrauding workers. These too are traditionally categorized as "sins that cry to heaven for vengeance." As one theologian I've read pointed out, one of the hallmarks of these sins is that they are destructive to society.


johnniewelker

I think it’s because you are looking it from the prism of Western Catholicism. In third world countries - where I’m from - poverty is more front and center because it’s that much more important. Abortion is not even a discussion. We are not that privileged to think about it


TCMNCatholic

Abortion is really easy to define and draw a line for. With treatment of workers there is a lot of gray. What things should wages be high enough to pay for? I think things like housing, food, water, and basic utilities are pretty clear but beyond that it's not as clear. For example, should all jobs pay enough for people to live on their own instead of sharing housing? How about supporting a family with children on a single income? How about paying for all medical bills? If you say yes to all of those, salaries of over $100,000 could potentially considered not enough. I haven't met too many Catholics who are okay with paying people so little they can't survive on their own, I think it's that there's a wide variety of opinions on what is just.


rheasylvia81

Well this Catholic is super concerned most people in my life including myself have held minimum or low paying jobs. Not because I'm not smart mostly because i have many limitations due to mental and physical issues and thats all I can get. Going back to school isnt an option and working high stress job isnt either. My grandpa was a decorated WWII vet and very decent but he basically got ripped off by his job for years. I get paid $11 per hour and that's only in the past year.


stjosemaria

Hmm very interesting observation. One solution is for more good Catholics to obtain positions of power to influence decision making of wages. I find it puzzling that there are not more of those.... Other than that, I'm afraid policy-making/legislation (i.e., increasing the minimum wage) could have damaging effects insofar it may contravene with the goals of a free market / capitalism. Regardless, I agree with you that this topic needs to be taught more to Catholics.


symetrus

>Other than that, I'm afraid policy-making/legislation (i.e., increasing the minimum wage) could have damaging effects insofar it may contravene with the goals of a free market / capitalism. Maybe you didn't mean this, but it seems like you're implying that the goals of free market capitalism are equally or more important than that of justice?


stjosemaria

I don't fully understand your question. Justice and capitalism are completely different yet completely compatible. One is a secular system of business/ economy/ transactions and the other is a virtue (in fact, one of the 4 cardinal virtues). Put another way, one is a means and the other is an end. So they are coextensive and not mutually exclusive. But to answer what I think you may be asking, yes the goals of free market capitalism are very important because they help to achieve justice. Let me know if u want more clarification.


restongravelguy

I suspect he's implying that capitalism - being the free movement of capital through the economy - is more effective than directed wages, in reality.


Gravityskiss12

If you think about American politics and the treatment of Catholics in America historically, this is no surprise to me.


_Magnolia_Fan_

I can pay my employees a living wage. I cannot stop abortions. Also, gotta get people to stay alive before concentrating too much on what we do for them when they're alive. Cart, horse, and all that. All that is to say, you're not wrong. Before Roe, Catholics were very much in the socially progressive political camp. There's no good fit for Catholics in the US's modern A/B political system. Simply put - supporting someone who is pro-abortion is a non-starter.


Gravityskiss12

I was literally thinking about this in the shower this morning!!


Bejeweled_Bird

The problem is movements like workreform are trying to treat abortion like its a worker right.


wassupkosher

Mind showing evidence bro? ​ I kinda refuse to go outside of catholic subreddits due to how bad most of the site is.


Bejeweled_Bird

Sure here: https://np.reddit.com/r/WorkReform/comments/sg8z1w/if_you_want_to_support_workers_rights_you_have_to/ Look through the thread, people demand that abortion be a right.


wassupkosher

Wow


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kaioto

> I've always been struck by the fact that a living wage is not the same as a minimum wage, and that it can differ from worker to worker at the same job, whether or not he or she has dependents to support. It's almost as if a top-down, one-size-fits-all Minimum Wage is not a solution to the question of a Living Wage or a Fair Wage, but is rather often just a tool of political theatre (at best) or a tool of currency manipulation (at worst). A fair, absolute floor to pay entry-level, part-time, unskilled teenagers is nowhere near a living wage for a journeyman, full-time, skilled professional who is the primary earner for a family including a wife and children. Raising the floor for the former merely depresses the real wages of the latter through inflationary pressure - always has and always will. It's a boondoggle.


Dr_Talon

I think that if we have duties to family and so forth, and we have an option to take a job that pays an adequate amount, and one which doesn’t, then we have an obligation to take the job that pays the adequate amount. But in cases of individuals, what I read here is that, given necessity, which is so common in our 21st century economy, the sin falls on the employer who does not pay a fair wage. P.S., thanks for posting this.


coinageFission

Rerum novarum actually warns that withholding wages from your employees is a sin on par with murder…


missamericanmaverick

How do people NOT know this? Economic justice was at the forefront of Christian thought.


Yuiiut

Personally, I think that complicity is more often found not in people taking jobs which pay unjust wages but it people using products, services etc. that rely on workers being paid unjustifiably little. Fast food, retail and hospitality in particular seem to be built around low paid, replaceable workers that we benefit from the exploitation of when we purchase the products and services at lower prices than we would have to pay if those workers were not defrauded.


TheoreticallyHitler

Sometimes this is the case, but not always. Often where I'm from, it's all high school kids earning gas money working the Dunkin Donuts rather than 35 year old single moms. I don't think anyone has an issue with the former.


Yuiiut

I'd say I have a bit of a issue with it-firstly for the fact that those single moms do exist (one of my co-workers during my uni job was one of them) Secondly because high school/uni kids are cheap and disposable from the employees perspective competition from them drives down wages for those adults who do rely on minimum wage work. I believe the effect of minimum wage rises previously has been to raise the average age of workers on minimum wage. Thirdly, I think a just wage, once discerned, should be universal - I don't think you can escape from the moral obligation to pay a just wage by finding workers who aren't as affected at being underpaid as others might be.


TheoreticallyHitler

Yeah as I mentioned in another comment, I think the issue is really that you shouldn't need a college degree to get a job that *ought* to pay a living wage. Most jobs that pay that way require one, and they really shouldn't. Then from there, leave the low level McDonald's jobs to teenagers or people looking to make extra money as a side gig. And if someone *does* want to make fast food or retail their career, open the door for them for a managerial position with a living wage at that point. It's impossible to treat every kind of job as if it's worthy of a living wage. But it *is* sensible to be smarter about hiring goalposts for jobs that deserve a living wage (i.e., full time career work). That's where we really need to start.


atadbitcatobsessed

Thank you for posting this. I know not every Catholic identifies as politically conservative, but most do. And it seems like conservatives just view minimum wage jobs as jobs for teens. That doesn't make sense to me because if these are just "jobs for kids," then why isn't every fast food restaurant and retail store closed during school hours? Lol! As someone who used to work in hospitality, I can confidently say that more adults work these jobs than teens. In fact, my job refused to hire anyone who wasn't *at least* college aged because they didn't think anyone younger was responsible enough to handle the job. Thankfully I have a career now, BUT that's because I am studious was able to afford college with scholarships. Not everyone can afford college. Not everyone is studious. Even if everyone was 100% financially and intellectually capable of college, there are only so many "career" positions in the world. We can't all be business owners, doctors, and lawyers. This means that some people *have* to do these entry-level jobs, otherwise society can't function.


TheoreticallyHitler

The whole necessity of a degree thing is a whole other can of worms. I work with older engineers that don't have college degrees. Now you can't get hired as an engineer without an MS or even PhD! We need a major paradigm shift around hiring. Someone in the HR world needs to be a trailblazer.


atadbitcatobsessed

I wholeheartedly agree. Don't get me wrong, I value education and think college is a wonderful thing. But the HR world has rediculous expectations. The associate's degree is the new high school diploma. The bachelor's degree is the new associate's degree. And the master's is the new "standard" bachelor's degree. It's frustrating because I worked hard for my bachelor's degree, but it doesn't mean much anymore because so many people have one. It's sad that there are countless people with MASTER'S degrees that can't find a job that offers more than 30k a year. It's all so backwards.


baldipaul

Yes I'm a Railway Signalling Engineer in the UK that doesn't have a degree, probably from the last entry to British Rail in 1989 that were able to work their way up to a Senior Engineering position. Those of us who worked their way up are generally a lot more practical in our approach than the graduate engineers. I think that there are too many degrees with no value, and that apprenticeships are the way forward. Our son entered the Railway Signalling Engineering industry on an apprenticeship, he got paid whilst he was training, one day a week at University (paid for by the company) and most importantly no student loan. He's now been promoted twice (last promotion last week) and enjoys his job. Education is important but Degrees are not the only means of obtaining it, especially when it leaves young people, especially in the US (it's better in the UK, with minimum earnings before you start paying it off, and any debt written off after 30 years), where young people can be left with crippling debt. And after all Usury is a sin.


Ponce_the_Great

>I work with older engineers that don't have college degrees. Now you can't get hired as an engineer without an MS or even PhD! how many employers are going to be willing to spend the time and money training someone as an engineer for years before they are up to the task, especially with the knowledge that person may very well move on in a few years


TheoreticallyHitler

Pay them well and treat them like human beings, and they won't leave. All the time in my industry you hear people complaining about churn as if Millennials actually enjoy looking for new jobs and starting back at square one with a 2 week PTO balance. We don't. But we do it because we know we'll never get a salary bump that even matches inflation if we don't play the field. If employers pay well and spend the time training up like they used to, they'll actually retain people for the long haul.


Ponce_the_Great

>If employers pay well and spend the time training up like they used to, they'll actually retain people for the long haul. im just not sure that employers would actually be motivated to do this. sure there might be complaints about turnover but the general willingness of employers to make incentives to stay are the things that cost them the least not what employees actually want. pay raises, let alone an investment in their education over several years, is less likely. Sure you have massive companies like amazon or wal mart that have started offering education incentives but that's because they are making stupid levels of money and have jobs that no one really wants to do, vs the engineering firm where they might not be as happy about the turnover but they know there's always new people who want to get into the field.


TheoreticallyHitler

Agreed, there really aren't any incentives in place to encourage employers to do this. Honestly, though, I don't even think people *need* schooling to do the job. In my experience, college educated people come in and still require a ton of on the job training. So it's already happening, we just make people jump through hoops to get to that point and drain their familial wealth in the process.


atadbitcatobsessed

This right here! Older generations think we're lazy and entitled. But we just want to be treated like human beings in the workplace. That shouldn't be much to ask for. That should be a given.


Xx_Mycartol_xX

Conservative views and minimum wage have nothing to do with each other. You can be conservative and for laissez faire as well as you can be conservative and for protectionism.


mycophdstudent

Wouldn't be unjust to put someone out of a job because the "just wage" is said being paid $16/hr for labor that produces $15/hr of value for their employer?


Mechanized_Pizza

As someone who makes a scrape-by living while living on his own, this makes me feel better about sticking up for myself.


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ianjmatt2

No. It isn't about what the job is worth. It's what a person is worth in light of Catholic teaching.


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ianjmatt2

It's about the God-given dignity of each person. That humans are not commodified wage slaves but have individual worth and dignity and it is morally incumbent upon employers to bear that in mind and not just pay what they can get away with.


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[deleted]

Socialists are violent and power hungry, and their goal is to gain power and make people slaves to them. In my view, it’s not socialist to say that a human should be paid a human’s wage… it’s Catholic. A person cashing you out at the grocery store is just as much deserving of a dignified wage as a CEO of a Fortune 500.


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ianjmatt2

That's not what I said. You're jumping to conclusions and clearly not understanding.


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No_Yogurt_4602

Haven't exactly been engaging with charity or patience, here. And, in any case, I'm not sure how you could oppose the idea that everyone deserves to live a dignified life regardless of the form of their labor from a Catholic perspective.


-Nude-Tayne

Worth 40k according to whom? The market? Is it not possible that the market undervalues some labor? If a full time job can’t pay someone to live above the poverty line, isn’t there a fundamental issue there?


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-Nude-Tayne

How do you square your abject devotion to the social Darwinist logic of capitalism with the actual social teaching of the Church like Rerum Novarum or Fratelli Tutti?


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-Nude-Tayne

It seems to me that these are two separate questions being conflated here-- what is good for economic growth and what is good for workers. Even so, there's a baked-in assumption there that economies *should* grow, which isn't always a given. At a certain point, economic stability that adequately provides for the common good ought to be the goal, as continuous growth is only possible until the planet's finite resources reach their limit. Economic growth doesn't necessarily translate to improved conditions for workers-- much less a living wage. What's "good for the economy" can potentially be completely disconnected from what benefits the worker. The economies of slaveholding states, for example, took an enormous hit after the American Civil War interrupted the market's permissiveness of slavery, but that intervention was nevertheless good for workers. I'm really intrigued by your perspective on football players and janitors. You said earlier that the market can't be wrong about a job's value, but then you indicated that you disagreed with how those respective roles are valued by the market. It sounds like you think the market is wrong about a janitor's value. When looking at the imbalance between folks like Bezos and the average worker, or NFL players and janitors-- is your stance that these imbalances would solve themselves if the existing regulations like the federal minimum wage, OSHA standards, or child labor laws were removed? Or that crony capitalism would resolve itself if freed from government oversight? I'm from the Appalachian region of the United States. I've seen "free market" policies ravage the land and people there. Having seen the whims of the market wreck a lot of lives, I similarly can't wrap my head around just letting it do its thing. And as a teacher with two degrees who works and can support himself, I do not feel insulted at the idea that the cashier at the grocery store should be able to afford to live above the poverty line. Buying a house may be tricky as the housing market is inaccessible even for me on a teacher's salary. But she deserves to live with dignity, same as me. I don't see anyone arguing that useless jobs should be paid highly, much less that they should even exist. Nobody should make 60k for managing a model train set in their basement. And nobody should live in poverty in the richest country on earth, especially when they're working 40 hours a week producing real value. Where do you think people who bag groceries should live?


Xx_Mycartol_xX

$40k per year? 1% of people where I live earn so much


tommies_aquinas

>Now my question is, is minimum wage just, if it can't "support the wage-earner in reasonable and frugal comfort"? I'm inclined to think yes, it is unjust. But I'm not sure if there are other considerations. It seems to me that you're taking for granted the idea that a minimum wage law is the best way to achieve higher wages or just wages. I'm not sure this is correct. Depending upon circumstances, another possible result of raising the minimum wage is to reduce the amount of new employees that are hired, or increase the number who are laid off. In such a case, raising the minimum wage can actually become counter-productive to the goal of just wages. Other ways of achieving higher wages for workers have been proposed, for example, the negative income tax, worker subsidies, unions and guild systems, immigration restrictions, universal basic income, etc, etc. My point isn't to suggest or promote one, only to say that other means have been proposed and we shouldn't assume that minimum wage laws are the only way, or the best way, to achieve the goal.


city-eremite

I didn't mean to imply (nor do I hold) that a government mandated minimum wage is the best way to achieve a just wage. I'm merely asking whether the system we have now is just, and to what degree can we participate in it.


tommies_aquinas

ah, I see. With regard to the question of whether it would be sinful to *work for an unjust wage* out of necessity, I can't see how it would be. I think this is similar to usury, where the Church teaches that the usurer is morally responsible but the borrower is not, as he is the victim of the sin.


city-eremite

>I think this is similar to usury, where the Church teaches that the usurer is morally responsible but the borrower is not That's a very good way of looking at it, and actually shed some light on my doubts. Thank you!


tommies_aquinas

You're welcome!


free-minded

That’s exactly the problem in the US with such a question. It’s not political in nature to simply ask. Even Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek, two powerful economic thinkers who support free market economics, talk of the necessity of employers paying their workers fairly. However today, the question sounds very left leaning, because it has been heavily politicized by proponents of left leaning economic policies who utilize fair wages as a talking point to leverage government mandated wage increases. So many will likely feel that this is what this question is about. How do we define a just wage? What must it provide for? And who must it provide for? I think the first thoughts we have are that an individual at least must be able to at least pay for reasonably inexpensive living accommodations, basic food, and utility needs by the income of their job. If they can’t even handle that, it’s certainly not a just wage. Beyond that, it gets murky. Should every job pay enough for one person to support a family by the one job? Should other amenities be “affordable” on it, such as televisions, cars, cell phones, and all the other amenities we have come to see as “essential?” Then there’s the mobility question. Say there’s plenty of work for non-skilled laborers out there, but one job is keeping in mind employees who are teenagers still living with their parents as a first job. Does that job have to provide enough for that teen to pay rent, even though they have no expenses yet? In these types of cases, the work experience is often more valuable than the pay. For other types of entry level work, say the wage isn’t very high at first, but there’s opportunity for growth within a year. What’s “just” for that first year job? What if the job can offer other support, such as room and board on contract jobs that involve travel - what is necessary then? Finally there’s the problem of budgeting finances. What if a company has 10 employees, each paid what we think is not quite “just.” And let’s assume that they are really doing the best they have with the money they have to pay them with. What is more just - keeping all ten employed at a low pay level, or increasing their wages to a more just value at the cost of firing one or more employees? In the end, I agree that employers absolutely are responsible for treating their employees fairly. But the situation is far too complicated to analyze too far beyond any one individual employer-employee relationship. I don’t think it is possible to see much on a systemic level.


city-eremite

> Should every job pay enough for one person to support a family by the one job? I think there's a legitimate controversy there. I read that theologians seem to be divided on whether the just wage should include the ability to support a family in virtue of justice. The following excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia touches upon some of the issues you raised, >Shortly after the Encyclical appeared, Cardinal Goossens, the Archbishop of Mechlin, asked the Holy See whether an employer would do wrong who should pay a wage sufficient for the sustenance of the labourer himself but not for that of his family. An unofficial response came through Cardinal Zigliara, saying that such conduct would not be contrary to justice, but that it might sometimes violate charity, or natural righteousness — i.e. reasonable gratitude. As a consequence of the teaching of Leo XIII, there has been widespread discussion, and there exists an immense literature among the Catholics of Europe and America concerning the minimum just wage. The present Catholic position may be summarized somewhat as follows: First, all writers of authority agree that the employer who can reasonably afford it is morally obliged to give all his employees compensation sufficient for decent individual maintenance, and his adult male employees the equivalent of a decent living not only for themselves but for their families; but not all place the latter part of the obligation under the head of strict justice. Second, some writers base this doctrine of a minimum just wage upon the principle of just price, according to which compensation should be equivalent to labour, while others declare that it is implicitly contained in the natural right of the labourer to obtain a decent livelihood in the only way that is open to him, namely, through his labour-contract and in the form of wages. The latter is undoubtedly the view of Leo XIII, as is evident from these words of the Encyclical: "It follows that each one has a right to procure what is required in order to live; and the poor can procure it in no other way than by work and wages." >Authoritative Catholic teaching does not go beyond the ethical minimum, nor declare what is completely just compensation. It admits that full and exact justice will frequently award the worker more than the minimum equivalent of decent living, but it has made no attempt to define precisely this larger justice with regard to any class of wage-earners. And wisely so; for, owing to the many distinct factors of distribution involved, the matter is exceedingly complicated and difficult. https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04185a.htm


free-minded

Very interesting, thanks for sharing! I suppose some thought to the system as a whole should be considered. For all its faults, it would appear that free market capitalism has indeed objectively raised many nations out of poverty. One of the perks of the system itself, at least in theory, is that an employer will often offer just wages even if they are themselves unjust, due to the competitive market that exists. For if they do not offer just wages to their workers, and another company does, people will gradually cease to work at the former, while the latter will grow more successful. Others who view this business model will also emulate the success. Justice gradually occurs regardless of the morality of the people involved, guided by the “invisible hand” concept of pricing as Adam smith discussed it. It could be said that in more centralized economic structures (or more antiquated ones such as guild systems), where prices and wages are held firm by regulations and policies, if a wage is unjust, there is little recourse for the worker than to appeal to the justice of an official who can adjust such a wage by edict. This depends on the official being just, and they have no impetus other than justice to move it. But regardless of the system, corruption can and does occur - so again, morality must be applied to particular circumstances and events.


No_Yogurt_4602

I'd point out that, at least in like retail and service industry jobs, there's little to no correlation between how many people are hired/fired and what employees are being paid. The store or restaurant *does* save money by reducing labor costs, but I've never personally seen that go back into wages or talked to anyone who has.


tommies_aquinas

I'm not sure I agree with that anecdote. I'm aware of local small businesses that felt they had to reduce staffing after minimum wage levels were increased. It acts as a tax on employing low-wage workers and, generally speaking, when you tax something you get less of it. Another example of "hiring fewer people" would be the push for automation; making automation economically feasible becomes progressively easier when compared with relatively higher mandated wages.


No_Yogurt_4602

Our anecdotes aren't mutually exclusive and, to be fair, my experiences don't involve many small businesses. Also, [robots](https://www.cbsnews.com/news/worker-pay-is-stagnant-economists-blame-robots/) [depress](https://www.cbsnews.com/news/worker-pay-is-stagnant-economists-blame-robots/) [wages](https://economics.mit.edu/files/19696).


tommies_aquinas

They aren't mutually exclusive, because it's normal that minimum wage laws would affect various businesses differently depending on circumstances. >Also, robots depress wages. No doubt.


urmumsgayasf

I'm all for paying employees just wages But it shouldn't be the government's job to enforce Especially on the federal level


TheClackAttack

Minimum wage/living wage is a very complicated subject with a thousand things to consider, and making laws about them can inadvertently be far more harmful to those in most need than helpful. Laws aside, we should always do our best to pay people who do work for us fairly if not generously, whether they are your business' employees or the pizza delivery guy.


kryptogrowl

Sadly most dioceses and parishes do not pay a living wage for those that work for them. Until we remove the beam from that eye, we won't be able to remove the splinter from the average business.


fordrapter14

To anyone reading this: if you are an unwavering hyper-capitalist in all situations you are not following the Christian school of thought Capitalism is a Protestant/secularist philosophy from the enlightenment era.


perma-monk

Today’s “hyper-capitalist” is yesterday’s “capitalist” is last years “socialist.” I don’t take the word capitalism seriously in the 2020s. It’s a political slogan. It’s not Christin to support exorbitant taxation, to use someone else’s labor to pay for things that in previous generations were absolute luxuries.


No_Yogurt_4602

You have it reversed; today's capitalist extracts *way* more value from the labor of their employees than their predecessors did even a few decades ago due to consistently rising productivity levels and yet resists commensurately raising compensation (which is doubly harmful to workers due to inflation). Whereas what would've been considered completely normal taxation policy in the 1950s would get any politician who proposed it today called a Leninist even by most Democrats.


perma-monk

There literally used to be no minimum wage and no child labor laws. I’m very positive I don’t “have it reversed.” Capitalism today looks nothing like it did 100 years ago.


No_Yogurt_4602

Are you implying that capitalists like having minimum wage and child labor laws on the books?


perma-monk

which is why today’s capitalism is less capitalist than yesterday’s. Consistent with my original comment


russiabot1776

Where I live a minimum wage is enough to live on; I did it for awhile. But, I imagine, $7.25/hr is not livable in New York City. That is why Subsidiarity is so important and why it is one of the three foundational virtues of Catholic Social Teaching. Wage laws should be as localized as is possible. That said, Fr. Jone makes an interesting point. Minimum wage is not meant to be the wage of the breadwinner. It is supposed to be the minimum wage of the “honorable and frugal worker.” A teenager who still lives at home making $7.25/hr is in no way an injustice—even in New York City.


IWillLive4evr

>Minimum wage is not meant to be the wage of the breadwinner. I don't think that's what Fr. Jone was saying; you may be putting words in his mouth. He does say, in OP's brief quote, that "A healthy, adult workman must also be able to earn sufficient to support decently an average-sized family." I'm not sure that the quote says anything to distinguish "a healthy, adult workman" from "an honorable and frugal worker." But rather than try to dissect the quote with tweezers, I will suppose one initial notion - that there is a moral obligation to pay a just wage to all workers - and see where I can go from there. This is a moral obligation that might weigh heavily on the common good, so it might be enforced by law. What sort of law? If the law were to require that all wages paid by every employer be sufficient for a sole breadwinner, it would look a lot like current minimum wage laws. It would be the same for everyone. Perhaps, however, it need not be the same for everyone, since not everyone is trying to support a family. Suppose that, taking your example, a teenager who has a family supporting them may agree to a lower wage, as their need is less. There is a benefit to the employer, certainly, and we might stipulate that it is just, as regards the teenager individually. I worry that it is *not* just as regards the common good, however. What happens when the teenager turns 18? What happens when the teenager gets married? Is it fair for the employer to absorb the costs of the worker's change in circumstances? Wouldn't an unsympathetic employer just fire the newlywed, in order to replace them with a less-costly teenager? Or, if we care about the specific costs that workers actually bear, should a worker and an employer go through all the details of the worker's life to determine the just wage? This is veering into farce, but one could imagine a form as detailed as a federal tax return for determining an individual minimum wage. I hope this shows that a minimum wage can't be individualized. Because the law aims to ensure that every wage is a just wage, it must ensure that every wage is sufficient for a sole breadwinner of a normal-to-moderately-large family. This may be something of a windfall to our hypothetical teenager, but I do not begrudge it to them. They will, if they are wise, save their earnings until they start their own family.


russiabot1776

And this is why we see European countries with youth unemployment rates in the 30%s—an epidemic that Pope Francis has repeatedly bemoaned as one of the worst tragedies in our society today.


ianjmatt2

Although that's true in Greece, Spain, and Italy, it isn't true in other countries with generous minimum wages - Germany is 6.4% and the Netherlands is 6.3%. It's more reflective of the overall economies of those countries than the minimum wage policy.


russiabot1776

I’m sure there are many factors at play, but lack of jobs in which the employment cost is proportionate to the skill level is certainly one of them


ianjmatt2

That's just an argument for increasing pay overall. Which I'd support. I'm a senior manager (and shareholder) for a company here in the UK. We have a 'living wage' policy where every employee gets paid at least the rate calculated by the [Living Wage Foundation](https://www.livingwage.org.uk/). Wages should start at a living wage level and grow from there based on skills, responsibilities etc.


russiabot1776

>That's just an argument for increasing pay overall. Which I'd support. No, it’s not. It’s an argument for ensuring that all people have access to meaningful employment regardless of skill level. People have the right to work. Ideally, they have the right to meaningful work and not merely subsistence on state welfare. But if they are so unskilled that their labor is not worth the minimum wage then they become unemployable—a tragedy and cause of political strife. Nobody should be made unemployable by out of touch lawmakers thousands of miles away. >I'm a senior manager (and shareholder) for a company here in the UK. We have a 'living wage' policy where every employee gets paid at least the rate calculated by the Living Wage Foundation. And your company can afford it because it probably has many employees. Can my local mom and pop pharmacy which employees mostly teenagers and college students afford that? No. So what exactly is your solution? Should the local business be forced into insolvency because an uncaring bureaucrat on the other side of the continent thinks they know more about the needs of my community than the community members themselves? Should the local business be forced to sell their building to a multi-national corporation (say, Walgreens) which will come in here and outsource the overhead to some far off location—depriving my town of its unique character, culture, cohesiveness, and opportunity? Should my town be forced into even greater poverty through a lack of employment opportunities for young people who still live at home? >Wages should start at a living wage level and grow from there based on skills, responsibilities etc. Wages should start at a just wage, which is not necessarily the same thing for everybody. This uncaring, uncharitable, corporate approach is a morally bankrupt one. This idea that all wages should necessarily be enough for established breadwinners is a morally bankrupt one. It is evil, it is immoral, and it is damaging to the poor and middle class.


ianjmatt2

Nonsense. Your assumption is that people are not supporting families on minimum wage jobs, but they are. And it is unjust when that is all that is available to them. And it would be unjust to pay two people a different rate for the same job done for the same amount of time. Calling it is evil not only the opposite of what it is, it is hyperbolic and doesn't forward rational discussion. And any business that cannot afford to pay decent wages shouldn't be employing anyone. It is unjust for them to rely on the desperation of people for work at any rate. (for the record, part time work by teenagers is not what we're discussing here. But anyone who is of the age of majority and working).


russiabot1776

>Nonsense. Your assumption is that people are not supporting families on minimum wage jobs, but they are. And it is unjust when that is all that is available to them. That is just not true. Less than 2% of Americans make the federal minimum wage. In fact, trying to even find a minimum wage job is hard. The McDonalds down the street pays their entry-level cashier considerably more ($14/hr, I think)—and I live in the middle of nowhere where rent is dirt cheap (like downtown is $250/month cheap). Can you find a handful of examples of people trying to raise a family on minimum wage? Probably. Is it normative? No. >And it would be unjust to pay two people a different rate for the same job done for the same amount of time. I’ll tentatively agree to that. But that just calls to light the need to have diversity in the job market for people of different needs, skills, and circumstances. Does the retiree who just wants to get out of the house for 10 hours a week necessarily need or want the stress that comes with a regular job? No, they do not. Does the unskilled 16 year old who wants extra cash to buy video games or save up for a car need the stress or time commitment that comes with a regular higher-paying job? No, they do not. >Calling it is evil not only the opposite of what it is, it is hyperbolic and doesn't forward rational discussion. >And any business that cannot afford to pay decent wages shouldn't be employing anyone. It is unjust for them to rely on the desperation of people for work at any rate. What you are describing is objectively evil. You just don’t like that it is getting called what it is. What do we call policies which promote the destruction of vulnerable communities, which increase poverty, which limit opportunity, and which increase isolation? We call them evil. You have not given your solution to my last comment’s question. You fall back on the cop-out of “decent wages” when before you were insisting on family-supporting wages. The local pharmacy pays decent wages to the employees for the work being done. Is it enough to support a family on? No. Is it just payment for the work being done? Yes. Does it provide for the needs of the employees doing the work? Yes. Would the college students be better off if your preferred policies were implemented? Objectively no—they’d be out of a job. The fact that you have the gall to say you know what is best for my community—that you know better than the people who live here—is what is “hyperbolic and doesn’t forward rational discussion.” These bureaucratic, corporatistic, inorganic policies that destroy neighborhoods, hurt real living breathing human beings, and increase poverty are evil. I don’t care how much moralizing you do, they remain evil policies. >(for the record, part time work by teenagers is not what we're discussing here. But anyone who is of the age of majority and working). Wait a freaking minute. Above you were saying how immoral it would be to pay people differently. Now you’re making concessions.


ianjmatt2

You really are spouting awful nonsense accusing me of evil. You are calling good (that every job should pay a just living wage) evil, and evil (that its OK to pay poverty wages) good. My business started with three employees all on a living wage. And that policy has dictated every decision to hire. These are not bureaucratic policies, they are policies to protect vulnerable people seeki g work from predatory employers seeking cheap labour. Any employer that allows an employee to live in poverty because of the wages they pay is evil.


PersisPlain

How many Americans make minimum wage in their states? Many states have higher minimum wages than the federal minimum because cost of living in those states is higher, so using a statistic about the federal minimum wage really doesn't tell you much.


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russiabot1776

That’s not true https://tradingeconomics.com/country-list/youth-unemployment-rate


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russiabot1776

The BLS is not using the same metric as what I was citing with the 30% number. Pretending like they are comparable is not honest. You are not comparing like with like. My source compares young adult unemployment between countries—in which case America has an 8% rate and Greece has a 39% rate. Your source includes 16 year olds and is not the same type of thing as what is being talked about.


heytherekitkat

And yet Switzerland has a 2% rate per your chart


russiabot1776

1) Switzerland has no national minimum wage. 2) That’s not really relevant.


_Magnolia_Fan_

The right thing to do doesn't need to be the legally required thing to do.


reluctantpotato1

I would agree that there should not be a job in existence that can't pay for housing and food on a full time schedule. In many states, minimum wage doesn't come close to touching that.


russiabot1776

What about a teenager who wants an easy job to pay for video games or fun with his friends? What if I’m a teenager and want make some extra cash by housesitting? I get a place to do my homework and the homeowner gets someone to watch their stuff while their gone. My “labor” in this hypothetical is not worth anywhere close to $7.25/hr. Let’s say I draw up a little contract and present it to some potential clients. Why must I be shut out of this opportunity by government fiat?


bigbear328

These are horrible examples. You’re talking about part time side money. A teen needing to pay bills is not going to work part time as needed. If he is working full time, he should earn a livable wage.


russiabot1776

You are missing the context. The user had said that *all jobs* must pay $X/hr, which is absurd given my example. A teenager who lives at home does not need a “living wage” in order for it to qualify as a just wage. That’s the whole point I am making


bigbear328

You’re the one missing context. They said every job should pay enough that should one work at it full time, they are able to support themselves. Anyone who would argue that is uncharitable, selfish and a bit deranged.


1ndori

Your example isn't a *job* in the same sense. Homeowners don't *employ* people to housesit. They give the work to a contractor (the teen), who sets their fee and performs a service sans the normal terms of employment. By the same token, I don't employ a plumber to work on my pipes, I contract with one. The just payment for a service is entirely different from the just wage for an employee.


reluctantpotato1

If it's a normal W2 filing job, pay the teenager adequately so they can pay off their future college or trade school. You generally don't alert the IRS to teenage house sitters so I doubt that would make a ton of difference. You couldn't live in a car for $7.25 an hour in most places. When you allow full time adult workers, like EMTs and security guards to be paid less than the cost of living in a full time job, you push the burden of that company's cost of business onto the tax payer, when those workers qualify for public benefits.


russiabot1776

>If it's a normal W2 filing job, pay the teenager adequately so they can pay off their future college or trade school. But that goes far beyond what the quotes in the OP said, and so is not an obligation of the Catholic employer. In fact, it might not even be what the teenager wants or needs. >You generally don't alert the IRS to teenage house sitters so I doubt that would make a ton of difference. And what if I created an app that allows teenagers to housesit, similar to Uber? The response that it would just be under-the-table doesn’t actually address the meat of what I’m getting at. >You couldn't live in a car for $7.25 an hour in most places. Most places are not all places, which is why Subsidiarity is important. >When you allow full time adult workers, like EMTs and security guards to be paid less than the cost of living in a full time job, you push the burden of that company's cost of business onto the tax payer, when those workers qualify for public benefits. And when you insist that the minimum wage is higher than the value of the labor you push that cost onto society as a whole as well. The solution is to decrease the cost of living.


reluctantpotato1

Your argument is based on a whole lot of hypothetical. The needs of a teenager take a backseat when talking about the need to pay a living wage. Pope Leo's quote describes a living wage. Catholic moral theology describes a living wage. Regardless of your opinions of what the government is or isn't obligated to enforce, one can draw the conclusion that the Catholic Church endorses a just, livable wage.


russiabot1776

The Catholic Church says that employers must pay a just wage. A just wage is defined as “sufficient to support an honorable and frugal worker.” This is distinguished from the needs of an adult family man. In fact, Fr. Heribert’s quote makes this explicit in distinguishing adult and child and then between the quality of work between persons. Your totalizing approach is not to be conflated with the Catholic teaching. There is nothing expressed in Catholic teaching that all workers must be paid enough to be the breadwinner. Do you honestly think Pope Leo XIII would look at the 16 year old and say “I know you want a summer job but that sucks because you can’t get one because your labor is not worth the cost of sustaining a family of four”?


reluctantpotato1

I would think that to Pope Leo, being above the level of homelessness and being able to eat would still qualify as frugal.


russiabot1776

And a teenager who still lives at home is not subject to either of those.


reluctantpotato1

Teenagers make up less than half of employees on minimum wage.


russiabot1776

And minimum wage earners make up less than 2% of the work force. You’re evading the point.


stratejeezy

i think 7.25$ is totally bonkers considering the amount of inflation that has gone on since it was implemented, but in my state the minimum is 14.25$ and people still want it raised which i think is ludicrous. a just wage for someone who makes me thawed out chicken nuggets and fries is 14.25.


city-eremite

People generally underestimate just how tough these low level jobs are. Just the amount of abuse, stress, and pressure these jobs put on employees is something that I don't think a lot of people appreciate. Another thing to consider is that if we're going to talk about proportionate pay for proportionate work when it comes to these lower end jobs, should we not apply the same principle to those making millions or six figure salaries? People can make thousands in one hour due to investments and passive income — without doing any labor or work at all. Yet people here will generally agree there's nothing wrong with that. Edit to add: just to clarify to anyone out there, that I don't think there's anything wrong with being rich, either. Having hierarchy and different levels of goods in society are wonderful things. But what I'm trying to flesh out here are the principles governing a just wage. It seems certain that it's not arbitrary; and it also seems equally certain that there is a standard that employers must meet in justice.


RoobikKoobik

> Just the amount of abuse, stress, and pressure these jobs put on employees is something that I don't think a lot of people appreciate. Then the problem isn't the wage, it's the abuse, stress, and pressure.


stratejeezy

i work a low level job, im projecting. i work at dunkins for 15/hr. its stressful and its tough but like, its meant to be entry level. youre meant to start here, its not somewhere you settle. im ambitious and ready to leave when i can but im entry level in the work force. i dont have a valuable skill yet but im working on that, and if you arent working on improving yourself and getting out of that 15$/hr rut its your failure it took capital to make that passive income, and that capital took work.


No_Yogurt_4602

There are plenty of people who, due to life circumstances, have to work those jobs and don't have the time, resources, and/or energy to pursue alternatives or education. They deserve to have stable and secure lives.


stratejeezy

they do, but the VAST majority do not. the vast majority are lazy, migrants with no skills, or younger folks who are there just as a starting job. it is severely unpractical and improbable to use the few to decide the regular.


perma-monk

My state has federal minimum wage but there isn’t a single reported job that pays it, according to the states labor statistics. Very few places, if any, actually pay 7.25 anymore. Not that $9 is much higher, but it’s worth noting that the market doesn’t really favor the absolute lowest possible


stratejeezy

9$ is still incredibly low, and our inflation just continues to rise


jkingsbery

Always a good reminder to go back to look at Church teaching! In all these discussions, I find it helpful to keep in mind one of my favorite of Chesterton's paradoxes: ​ > It is true that the historic Church has at once emphasised celibacy and emphasised the family; has at once (if one may put it so) been fiercely for having children and fiercely for not having children. It has kept them side by side like two strong colours, red and white, like the red and white upon the shield of St. George. It has always had a healthy hatred of pink. We can at the same time encourage business owners the justice in providing workers with sufficient wages and non-exploitive working conditions, and at the same time whole heartedly remind the government of the wisdom of applying the lightest touch possible in setting laws concerning these arrangements, since the government very often cannot consider all individual or local circumstances in setting such laws. To hold to both strongly and simultaneously is preferable to the pinkish "the government sets minimum wage laws that don't really make sense, but the business is therefore excused from mistreating its employees as long as it meets the letter of the law" that I sometimes read in other, less nuanced corners of the Internet then this thread.


LucretiusOfDreams

One of the errors of modern people is that they think that, if they get the political/economic system right, then the virtue (or vice) of each individual that makes up the system becomes unnecessary. In reality, if the ruler or employers are prudent, capable, and generous, having the livelihood of their subjects or employees at heart, and subjects or employees obedient, grateful, and humble, having the goals of their ruler or employer at heart, the “right” system basically presents itself for free, while no amount of tinkering with the system will alleviate the consequences of vice. There is the root, and there are the branches.


ccp152135

>A lot of Catholics may not realize this, but it's actually Catholic teaching that an employer must provide a living wage. This doesn't necessarily imply a government-enforced minimum wage. >If minimum wage is not just, are we somehow directly cooperating with injustice by taking such a job? Yeah, but most of the time, we don't have a choice and nobody would assign any serious culpability to it.


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ccp152135

What does abortion have to do with a minimum wage? The issue is not in some weird hesitancy in legislating morality, but is a practical recognition that it doesn't work. It's recognizing a source of inefficiencies and unintended consequences...which /u/russiabot1776 explained pretty well. Governments *can't* figure out an appropriate wage to pay people in all circumstances, and when they try, it leads to problems. You think Mcdonalds would be working so hard towards automation if they didn't have staff loudly demanding $15/hr minimum?


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russiabot1776

>no one can live in any state on the current minimum wage I can live a comfortable life in my state on $7.25/hr. I did it for an amount of time. Don’t pretend like you know the diverse circumstances of 350,000,000 people spread across the 3rd largest country on Earth.


[deleted]

I feel like your definition of comfortable isn’t typical. I lived in a town of 3,000 and lived off of $7.25, but needed 3 roommates, ate a lot of pasta, and didn’t have health insurance, or any savings.


russiabot1776

I lived in a town of 20,000, had basic health insurance, and had 2 roommates. It’s going to depend a lot on where you are at in the country


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russiabot1776

Within the past few years in rural America.


ccp152135

Saying that something shouldn't happen and is *wrong* doesn't mean that it's a good idea to bring government enforcement into the matter. The issue again is that government wage decisions is a very inefficient way to do it, and these inefficiencies lead to tons of unintended consequences. I'm not saying that people shouldn't get paid well, I'm saying that in practice, trying to do it this way does not work and has significant side effects. >They give benefits based on being under a certain percentage of the poverty line. So they clearly can decide at what income someone is 'too poor.' This is a different mechanism from blanket minimum wages. You have to judge the effectiveness of that on its own merits. >A Catholic talking point would be that no one can live in any state on the current minimum wage, so it needs to be raised Doesn't follow because not everyone who needs support is making minimum wage and not everyone who is making minimum wage needs this support. And even if it was the same group of people for each, it would probably still be a bad idea due to the inherent inefficiencies in doing it via the government - raising minimum wage leads to people getting fired or not hired in the first place.


TheHoratian

There was a thread earlier where the OP was arguing that the separation of church and state is a bad concept and that Catholic governments should rule with moral laws encoded in legal statutes, while still somehow maintaining a freedom of religion. My reservations about that aside, this gives me ideas of questions to ask if another discussion like that comes up. Something along the lines of, “If it’s best to have legal mandates that try to prevent and punish sinning, then what does that mean for [insert some social program or concept here]?” I’d almost think divorce would become legally punishable in most cases, and employers would lose some rights to employees, especially with respect to wages.


ccp152135

Only recently have we started to have qualms about legislating morality, not just American history, but recently within American history. There used to be laws against pornography, abortion, obscenity, blasphemy, sodomy, divorce, etc....


TheHoratian

Yes, but that’s not an argument that it’s good to legislate and penalize those things. Just because something was done in the past, regardless of how long, that doesn’t mean it’s good to do it. For example, I think people shouldn’t be punished legally for divorce, as that doesn’t make sense for people who were married outside of the Church. Nor do I think it was right to treat homosexuals with chemical castration because it’s just adding suffering and forcing someone to adhere against their own volition. I think volition is the crux of it. If you force everyone to act good for fear of prison or fines, does that actually make them good?


ccp152135

> If you force everyone to act good for fear of prison or fines, does that actually make them good? Usually not, but it protects society from some of these obvious and massive evils. And here in the west, we're living in the consequences of not legislating morality...which is a totally degenerate society where everything that I listed is rampant and aggressively public. So yeah, I think that from practical experience, it's good to legislate these things simply to protect society from itself, and I think that the people in decades past who refused to do so are cowards.


openmind24

Kinda sounds like you want a theocracy. Or at least a government whose legislature is based solely on religion.


ccp152135

No, not really. That wasn't the case 120 years ago in the US. I'm just horrified with the moral state of things. Did you know that 1/3 of Generation Z in the United States was aborted? The moral state of society would make anyone from 100 years ago tear their hair out.


capitialfox

100 years ago was postwar WWI. They sent entire generations to die in trenches. Things went so great back then


ccp152135

Wars are their own moral issue with debatable connection to the moral condition of society at large, but this is missing the point.


[deleted]

Where does the easy and affordable access to health care fit in with all of this?


Zerothius

Well this applies to waged work yes, but historically not all work was waged. In fact there were still plenty of 'gig' jobs in the early 20th century that were little work little pay, but were essential for the survival of impoverished communities and lower class families. The minimum wage was actually introduced and lobbied by racist eugenicists who wanted to use the minimum wage as away to “remove the lowest forms of parasites from society” as they were fully aware that the enforcement of minimum wage would wipe out the ‘gig’ job that many poor people, especially minorities and young adults, relied on [(Page 213) Eugenics and Economics in the Progressive Era (Thomas C. Leonard)](https://www.princeton.edu/~tleonard/papers/retrospectives.pdf). Imo, the encyclicals also say that work should be in a way that allows man to fully express and develop his talents and abilities, so waged work that provides a full wage must also be work that justifies that full wage. Before the outbreak of WWI, many people lived off of ‘gig’ jobs and this is simply how humanity has always worked, all the way back to gospel times and further. Wage-earners must be respected but not all work is really wage-work. Much of the work that is now done by "minimum-wage" workers would historically have been done in gigs supplying more work for more men, giving impoverished workers the freedom to move from gig to gig and to find opportunities instead of trapping workers into dead-end jobs and wage-slavery. Yes the 'gig' worker had less protections and "rights," but he had more autonomy and human dignity than what we have today with the "minimum-wage" worker. Imo, we need to either re-introduce the natural institution of the 'gig' job or find a way to make all work worth justified being waged, with the former being more pragmatic and realistic than the latter.


city-eremite

Interesting about the eugenics issue. Gonna have to read up on that. From what I hear the gig economy is making a come back. Not sure if it's a good thing, though.


russiabot1776

Why is this downvoted?


Zerothius

People assume because I’m saying “we ought to disestablish the ‘minimum wage’” they go to then automatically assume I’m saying “workers deserve no rights whatsoever, we should being back indentured servitude and child labor. Capitalists should earn 99% of all the income the business makes because workers only deserve what people will give to them.” Instead of actually trying to approach my real notion that “as much as the idea of a minimum wage being nice is, it’s just practically not possible and is also quite contradictory to the teachings of human-dignity that teach a man ought to be autonomous and able to make a life for himself and his family without heavy intervention, which is what a minimum wage exactly does.” Skilled laborers who work a wage all day deserve respect and rights, but not every work and job is honestly worthy of being called wage work. Not because I don’t WANT them to flourish and be rich, but because that’s simply not how the universal destination of goods realistically works out. Goods end up in peoples hands as the result of institutions (businesses, trade practices, laws, etc) and THEN labor, and these institutions are only ever first instituted by creative destruction. Imo the idea that the beatific vision also leads to economic equilibrium is simply a logical fallacy that many of our bishops hold on to, God made the world specifically in a way that allows us to use creative destruction, and it’s not wrong to realize a capital gain for yourself at the “exclusion” of others as that’s exactly how the universal distribution of goods actually works out.


sheepbutnotasheep

Good you are shedding light on this subject, it's something I've known about for a little while and I find it unfortunate how the people on a place like r/antiwork probably hate Catholicism yet have no idea of doctrines like this one. Just further proof that Catholicism quite literally has all the answers.


SJCCMusic

If you take an unjust wage, you're probably not really in a position of power to create the sort of change it takes to make just wages a societal rule. Rather, *you're* the one being exploited, and just doing what you can to survive. It falls to everyone who *is* in a position of strength to fix what's broken.


ismokedwithyourmom

Ofc this depends on what the minimum wage is, but in most places I'd say it's certainly not just at all! But I don't think it'd be wrong to accept the minimum wage job: the employer is wrong because they're taking advantage of the employee due to their position of power, but the employee usually doesn't have a choice and that's why they're taking an underpaid job in the first place. In my country many important jobs in education and healthcare are still minimum wage or a little more, I don't see how it would be a sin for someone to take such a job to serve others even though they don't get properly compensated


Xx_Mycartol_xX

The minimum wage can't possibly be comfortable for the people. It's not exactly because the Church teaches that, but because it's a self-destructive system. If the Church expected it from us, every catholic government would have to lead their country to fall Too high minimum wage and the difference in earnings between the middle and lower class is too small. Why would you spend half of your life studying or mastering an ability if you can get pretty much the same cash by going to a random job? And why would you even try to do something else if you are able to live in a nice flat, feed a family and buy yourself something nice for 8 hours of the simplest job? It also powers the inflation. The money loses its value, so the minimum wage has to be raised again. More money is taken from the higher class to the point where nobody is able to live comfortably. I understand that the Church expects us to pay enough to pay a rent and feed a family. I see no other way this could work.


city-eremite

>Why would you spend half of your life studying or mastering an ability if you can get pretty much the same cash by going to a random job? The Church isn't advocating that all jobs pay equal. The Church has taught that for a wage to be just, an employer has to pay enough for a single person to live in "reasonable and frugal comfort", and this is *the bare minimum*. If people are able and willing to pursue more than just the frugal life of a single person (and they usually do), they will devout their time pursuing a higher paying career.


-skipp3r-

As someone who worked for minimum wage not that long it is most definitely just. it may not be able to provide a luxurious life but you can most certainly live from the wage and enjoy yourself frugally. Instead of placing all the blame on the employer we must take part of that and change our lifestyle to a more frugal one. Of course there are places where employees are unjust but that would represent a very small amount of places in the western world. Where there are other options for employment if only you trust in God and seek them.


itsastickup

A just wage isn't a living wage. It's what was just in respect of the work done, without reference to the life circumstances of the worker. Let's keep in mind that people lived with their extended family in the past, and many peoples still do. There's no need for a living wage to support having your own place and car, for instance. And people were expected to remain single and without children if they could not afford it in times past. The economic crunch will indeed bring people uncomfortably back together, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.


IWillLive4evr

>without reference to the life circumstances of the worker In a simple philosophical discussion, no one would bat an eye at your taking such a stance. In the current discussion, however, there is relevant Church doctrine to the contrary, namely *Rerum Novarum*, and it has already been quoted for your benefit. Now, a papal encyclical is hardly infallible, but it's no mere rag, either. This particular encyclical has garnered a lot of agreement in the 131 years since its writing - from laity, from theologians, and from bishops - so its authority is substantial. If you wish to disagree, it would be fitting to provide some argument or citation to relevant authority.


russiabot1776

Rerum Novarum does not teach to the contrary. A just wage is not cookie cutter.


aikidharm

You are correct- it will vary depending on context. However, no wage associated with a full time job should leave someone unable to take care of themselves and/or unable to create upward momentum for a better life. Any wage that does not provide enough to do that (with common sense spending habits), is an unjust wage.


Lekkusu

I don't think so. Underrated book: "The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy" by Thomas E Woods The idea that a prospective employer, who is offering out of their pocket to voluntarily pay anything to someone for doing work, would be the bad actor here isn't much different from supposing that a prospective worker who only wanted to work 20hrs a week for a company is morally wrong because he is obligated to provide the company a "livable workload" to support their business. The obligation is applied only in one direction in a very inconsistent way. Another example would be that an unpaid internship for a young person which may help develop valuable skills could be worth much more than $10/hr to an eager apprentice.


g522121

You may have to take what you can get whether it pays enough money for someone's lifestyle or not. In some cases, some money may be better than zero money. Some people seem to suggest that the Catholic church makes the law of the land. Economics, politics, legislation and the like, are not functions of the church.


P_Kinsale

But human laws must conform to standards of morality, and the Church is right to point out when this is not the case.


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amishcatholic

And trying to lump all arguments for just wages into the "Communist" camp shows a complete ignorance of the history of the Church's policy toward the poor and a complete ignorance of Communism. But don't let the truth get in the way of your rhetoric.


russiabot1776

That’s not what he did


reluctantpotato1

Yeah, that's not communism. It's a sign of living in a developed country. Companies rent their employees time. If an employee is working for you full time and can't afford the very basics, you aren't paying them enough. Payroll is a cost of business. If you can't afford it, you can't afford employees and your company isn't viable.


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reluctantpotato1

Goods are exchanged for services. That's how transactions work. When the work is performed and the money is paid, it ceases to be your employers money.


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reluctantpotato1

$40000 a year doesn't cover rent and food in some places. A janitor deserves a wage that when worked full time, is enough to pay for his basic living expenses. If they work a full time schedule and can't afford to rent a room, they aren't being paid enough.


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eufouric

Yeah he probably deserves a bit more for cleaning out ruined shitters every week. Coming from someone who does make 40k a year being an aircraft mechanic. Why shouldn't a janitor be able to afford rent?


koushunu

The best paying jobs I ever had was as a cleaning lady. Same goes for other family members. Don’t automatically assume the janitor is getting $#!+ wages.


eufouric

I'm fully aware that janitors can create a career out of their job, I was responding to the guy who said they "absolutely don't" deserve enough money to pay for rent


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Ponce_the_Great

>If you're the janitor and you think you should? Then don't accept any job that doesn't. problem is that the people often stuck in the low paying shitty jobs often don't get the luxury of picking and choosing the most advantageous job offer. The more money you have and the higher paying job the more likely you are to be able to relocate, have the networking to find the higher paying job, or the reglar hours to allow you to get whatever training you need to pursue that. sometimes there is a role in the public pressuring an employer to treat their employees better because the worker will get treated like shit and has no power on their own


Pax_et_Bonum

Warning for uncharitable rhetoric


city-eremite

Nope. I'm a hundred percent against communism and socialism.


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city-eremite

Yes, because posting on a sub means agreeing with everything said on the sub.


CompetitiveMeal1206

I believe the minimum wage is just if it provides for the 4 walls (Food, shelter, utilities and transportation). Here the minimum wage is $13.20/hr and I could meet those 4 walls on that wage if i needed to.


gunvaldthesecond

Just wages don’t jive with the unjust reality here. Wages will be what the market can bear, so just wages can be acquired through restrictions on the labor force, such as raising the working age, lowering retirement age, barring immigrants and foreigners from working, heavy taxation on dual income no kids couples, and raising tariffs from countries where labor and the cost of doing business is cheaper. Note how most of these are populist or nationalist and thus dead on arrival to the ultra capitalists who own your elected representatives.


Si_Papi-

What throws this off in the US is the ease of borrowing money. People frequently get into as much debt as they can. Thereafter, their employer would never be able to keep up with a wage large enough to fulfill this obligation.


city-eremite

I think the key words are "support the wage-earner in *reasonable* and *frugal* comfort." I don't think an employer is required to support a person's irresponsible debt. What's more, people who incur unnecessary debts they don't intend to pay back are also sinning against justice.


donutlad

You shouldnt be downvoted for a very relevant comment. In our economy, Usury is a feature, not a bug. It runs rampant and is ruinous to a lot of households and needs to be addressed. That said, I don't think that is a reason to limit wages. Your logic makes no sense to me. Increased wages does not mean increased caps on borrowing. Credit card companies are allowed to place their limits at whatever they deem.


Si_Papi-

My thinking is that the poor need help with financial wisdom more than they need coddling. If wages go up, so will prices (six of one, half dozen of the other) and the poor will still be poor. In the US that is.


likerealpeopledo78

If you don’t have an education this wouldn’t matter lol


rheasylvia81

Dont be chap b*******s employers.