– “Milgrim’s Prison And Minimum Wage” –
How would you feel…. if you were working at a fast food restaurant, earning $10.10 an hour?
Because today in America… an everyday minimum wage employee currently earns the sum of $400 dollars / per week, gross. Furthermore, that same weekly wage then ends up closer to $325-350 dollars / per week, after taxation, rounding out to about 1300$ or 1400$ dollars / per month, if given a full schedule.
Now, that level of income does not afford an automobile, often forcing this employee to walk to work… Also, to further elaborate on this economic burden, a minimum wage employee is then forced to choose between; paying their rent, paying for a car, or saving very little…..
(*And I’ve written about my experiences with minimum wage before….. in previous articles, here… http://civiliansnews.com/civilians-news/why-increasing-the-minimum-wage-is-not-the-answer-to-inequality/).
But, with that being said, I oppose increasing the minimum wage and here’s why.
I’ve personally disagreed with raising the minimum wage several times, for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, I believe that bolstering the economy through increasing the minimum wage…. is like using a band aid… to clean a gun shot wound. To be clear, this type of legislation is demeaning to currency and I believe that this type of solution often fertilize’s future wealth gaps… that then exceed even the current income disparities, over time. (*Minimum wage goes up…. but then so does; rent, food, gas and everything else.)
But with that being said… I would also ask that conservatives in office….. try to view minimum wage in terms of, “systems of thought.” To be specific, I view the minimum wage in accordance with, “Stanley Milgrim’s: Stanford Prison Guards Experiment.”
That is to say, in my experiences (as a minimum wage employee) often times managers don’t want to promote minimum wage employees. That is how the lower class functions. Most of us have experienced it, particularly in lower class work environments where employee’s feel insecure about their own value…… Sub-managers don’t want new sub-managers, they want a revolving door of employees underneath them. Worse yet, this style of business is incredibly common within the United States, today.
In my opinion this situation leaves employees and employers… trapped in a system, nearly congruent with Milgrim’s classic experimentation on prisoners and prison guards. In Milgrim’s notorious social experiment, carried out by Stanford University, subjects were asked to carry out inhumane orders, on other civilians who were deemed as, “prisoners,” although the prisoners, nor the prison guards, actually had any history of crime. To be clear, in this infamous experiment, for those who don’t know….. the guards, did not know the prisoner’s were guilty of no crimes and were still asked to torture them, making the variable in this experiment simply the concept of, “power.”
This experiment was done to essentially determine the liability of subordinates, who committed crimes under orders. Furthermore, this experiment was run several times, by various different groups, in order to properly assess blame for heinous acts committed under orders (*like in WWII). Nevertheless, in each trial, people were most often seen as willing to torture, “their prisoners,” regardless of whether they were even truly guilty of crimes. This result was discovered on multiple occasions. This occurred, whereby subordinates were almost always willing to inflict serious levels of pain, on people under their control, “when ordered to do so.” To be clear, “guards in this experiment,” often hurt people, simply because they were told to do so, by a superior, or boss. Now, with that being said, in many ways, I also find that these results are nearly congruent to minimum wage employment today.
It’s a situation where people are willing to carry out orders, even when the orders are cruel, or inhumane, like cutting someone’s hours below the poverty line. Furthermore, I also see this experiment as nearly congruent to some of the circumstances, that I’ve encountered… in terms of lower class power structures, in America today.
When are we as a nation, as a planet, as a global economy, going to look at this issue and say, “the jobs issue is fixed, we’re no longer going to be having un-employment issues?”
Never? Will we ever change the conversation to something more advanced? Or is this, “political rhetoric,” never ending….. in terms of jobs and job creation?
I don’t believe that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, is the worst idea…. but this must be considered normalcy with caution, because it can trigger inflation, in turn raising the cost of living and making current income disparity… even worse.
Also, I beg the question; “what should the best fast food cashier in the country earn per hour?” What about the world?
How would you know, if you were the best pizza delivery man on Earth? Or the best barber in America? How would you even know?
Also, I find that many corporations take advantage of their employees, in this way. Furthermore, I find that highly skilled employees often don’t know how good they are, within America today. I also believe that this is a common fallacy, in America today, whereby most people judge employees by their field, and not the employee’s work itself.
“Burn out,” is also a major problem, within America today.
Most recently, I was fired from one pizza place, despite having 3-4 years of experience and a college degree….. Rather ironically, I was fired after not saying anything at all, for the entire first month that I worked there.
Too much turnover…..
So, what I seek to reform is attention to detail….. and pay grades that take into account, exemplary employees, even if that said employee, specializes at the cash register, or drive through window.
In many instances… this could be as simple as paying more attention to details. This could be done through new corporate policies, which underline the issues themselves and set forth increased awareness, particularly in terms of Milgrim’s psychological case study. In particular, I would like to see management that does not hesitate to promote lower class employees, regardless of whether or not those employees work at an unenviable position.
-William Larsen, Civilians News Founder