Although there are many arguments for and against the idea of an minimum wage, the fact is that it exists in the UK. However, a key issue I have with the minimum wage system is that it discriminates in terms of age.
Why does the minimum wage vary according to your age? The reason given is that younger people do not have as much expense so do not need as much money. Therefore, it is acceptable to pay older people more since they have more responsibilities. While this may seem reasonable, there are a few flaws with this argument.
Firstly, if we were all payed according to the expenses we have, we would be living in a socialist society in which the principle of ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need’ would exist. People would be judged on how many children they need to care for and given enough money to meet their bare necessities. Clearly as shown by the vast gap between the rich and the poor, this principle does not exist so why should under 21 year olds have to suffer this discrimination?
Secondly, the fact the minimum wage is lower for young adults may be negatively affecting the economy. This is because young adults may not even bother to start working until they really need to by which time they are older and have no work experience. This would make finding a job even more difficult, especially in today’s economic climate.This reduces the quality of the young workforce as well as disadvantaging young adults.
Thirdly, the difference in wage rates also affects all adults because if there is a job that a 16 year old can do to the same ability of a 21 year old, the employer is most likely going to choose the one that will cost less. This is the same effect some people claim workers who are willing to work for a lower wage have on those who cannot afford to do the same. This has a knock on effect as adults who are in need of a job to build up their experience find it difficult to gain one.
So it is not only the cries of injustice from young adults that means the minimum wage system should change but also the overall effect it has on the economy at large.
Are you for or against?
Until Next Time,
A Worried Student