What is a job?

With the minimum wage discussion, people on one side of the discussion view jobs as if they are an entitlement. Everyone deserves a job and a certain minimum wage, no matter what.

That vision works well to get votes in the world of politics.

People on the other side of the minimum wage discussion view jobs more closely to what they actually are: value creators for employers.

I contend that even people on the first side mentioned above, when acting in the non-political world (like when they are buying things), share the view of jobs with the people on the other side of the discussion, whether they realize it or not.

In the political world, it’s easy to say that everyone deserves a minimum wage. It’s even easier to say that everyone deserves a living wage. There’s a lot of upside to saying those things and no cost.

But, in the real world, there is a cost. When given a choice, people rarely choose to spend more to put-their-money-where-their-mouths-are with their political sayings.

Why? Because in the real world, they, too, see jobs as value creators for employers, themselves. They hire the neighbor kid to shovel snow off their driveway to avoid the work.

They hire a building contractor to finish their basement or remodel their bathroom to have it done right and allow them to continue to do whatever it is they do best.

They hire plumbers to fix their pipes, mechanics to fix their cars, restaurant workers to fix their meals, HVAC guys to fix their air conditioner and so on. Out of all of these transactions they conduct to make their lives better, how often to they inquire to see if everyone providing them the service is making a living wage or how much extra they would need to pay to ensure they did for their job?

Are they willing to pay the neighbor kid a ‘living wage’ for shoveling snow?

1 thought on “What is a job?

  1. Pingback: What is a job? Part III | Our Dinner Table


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