There's a lot of discussion lately about raising the minimum wage. And not just a little bit, a few cents or dollars but a lot. I'm not an economist and I don't know what might result, good and bad, from doing so. But, I want to suggest that we do some thinking first.
I write music that no one values. No one buys it and no one seems inclined to do so. In other words, I have a skill with little economic value. Kind of like flipping hamburgers or bagging groceries.
But, I have something else don't I? A right to earn a living wage. Or so the argument goes. So, should I be able to demand a minimum wage for writing my music? Right now, I'd be happy to earn the minimum wage for the time I spend writing my music as I currently earn $0.00 for doing so. But, how could I not be in favor of $15.00 an hour for doing so? That would be great!
I could do what I want and earn a living doing so. I could support my family, save money for retirement, afford health care.
So, is there anything wrong with this? Does it matter that the activity for which I am getting paid has absolutely no economic value? Does it matter that what I am producing is something no one wants or benefits from?
Now, before you get angry let me say that I realize I am in a different position than most of the people who are currently working for minimum wage. For one thing, what they provide does have economic value. At $7.25 an hour they provide a service that others value at that level. Those people bagging groceries and flipping hamburgers are doing something with economic value.
On the other hand, what I do has zero economic value. I come to this conclusion by the fact that no one is willing to purchase my music. At any price. Even free I can't get people to listen to my music! Perhaps my music might have negative economic value. That is, I may have to pay people to listen to it. So, you get what I'm saying?
But, don't I have just as much right to earn a living wage as anyone else. And, I can't do anything else. Nor can I add to my skills or learn anything else to do which might command a higher economic value. I write music. That's all I do and all I can do. So, I'm stuck. I'm just as stuck as any other minimum wage worker except that I don't earn minimum wage.
So, shouldn't someone have to hire me and pay me a living wage? If not, why not? If so, are you willing to be the one to hire me. I'm available to write music at $7.25 an hour!