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Age Codes

Geek of Ages

For the age codes, do they refer to the mental age or physical age of the characters?

Most of the time they're the same, but I'm things like do-over stories, or mind-swap stories (or even things like that Tom Hanks movie Big where the kid gets an adult body). In those cases, how would that be coded? By physical age of the participants, or mental age?

Obviously, I'm not interested in under-14 with either body or mind. Just teenagers and adults.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
robberhands

As a reader, I wouldn't be overly impressed by your ingenuity to code someone underage as mature because of her well developed mental age. So my answer is simple, you should code according to the 'real' ages of the characters involved in sexual activities and a do-over doesn't change it. If the character is 14 after the do-over, then he is 14 and not eighty-seven as he may have been in his previous life.

Replies:   Vlad_Inhaler
richardshagrin
Updated:

I suspect the important decisions are made by those people who enforce laws against child pornography. I suggest any errors be made in the direction of avoiding ages that will cause the government to arrest you or seize your property. Mr. Bywater has a story that recounts parts of his adventures with the Australian authorities who appear to be wrong but can not be convinced. In the unlikely event I wrote a story with characters under legal age in either appearance or based on date of birth, I would not post it. Maybe anonymously on ASSTR? Just stories appear to be legal in the USA but that is now. Things change, even the meaning of the Amendments to the US Constitution. No man's life or property are safe when the legislature is in session. Or the Supreme Court. Anyone is just a Tweet away from ignominy.

AmigaClone

@richardshagrin

For completeness I would include both the codes that would reflect the biological age and gender of the characters having sex as well as the ones reflecting their mental age.

In Once more with feelings by The Night Hawk MC starts as an adult male and is transferred 30 years in the past into a female teenagers body. At the same time, the mind that lived in the adult version of the body the MC's mind occupies now resides in the 14 year old version of the MC's original body.

In a situation like that, if the two had sex prior to their bodies turning 18 I would code it as MaFa and mtft. I could even justify a code of Maft if the MC masturbated.

Geek of Ages

Okay, let's go with a more concrete scenario set.

Alice is 26 and female. If she has sex absent shenanigans, it's Fa.

Bob is 16 and male. If he has sex absent shenanigans, it's mt.

Those should be in controversial.

Okay, so now shenanigans happen, and they swap bodies.

Bob is in Alice's body, and has sex. What code is that?

Alice is in Bob's body, and has sex. What code is that?

(I consider the gender question tangential, if interesting in its own right. Right now, though, I'm primarily concerned with age)

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

Lazeez laid down the guiding principal in this regard some time ago when he had to change his policy regarding underaged sex (under 14) years ago. He goes by first impressions. If it sounds like you're talking about abusing a child, it IS abusing a child, no matter how you dress it up. Legally, the entire site is liable for your attempts to be clever. If you code it incorrectly, expect the story to be pulled.

Now, assuming everyone is of legal age, I'd STILL code it accurately, just so readers aren't attracted and then confused by the incorrect coding (squick avoidance is a primary concern in story coding), so I'd leave the theoretical age as a subplot/character development issue, instead of a major plot selling point.

If you think it's important for readers to understand, then include something in the story description. But the story codes are the wrong place for that kind of thing, as readers will punish you for 'false claims' (plus, as everyone knows, readers prefer youngsters having sex to old dudes having sex!)

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

I suspect the important decisions are made by those people who enforce laws against child pornography.


In the US, SOL is in Canada, child pornography laws cover only real images of real children.

However, authors and/or publishers of pedo stories involving prepubescent children have been brought up on obscenity charges.

The one case I can think of off the top of my head which actually went to trial and got a guilty verdict involved not just sex but violent rape and torture.

Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

Now, assuming everyone is of legal age, I'd STILL code it accurately, just so readers aren't attracted and then confused by the incorrect coding (squick avoidance is a primary concern in story coding), so I'd leave the theoretical age as a subplot/character development issue, instead of a major plot selling point.


But which age is the "accurate" one? Physical or mental?

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

If you code it incorrectly, expect the story to be pulled.


This has happened recently. I saw a story pop up in the new story list that was coded mt/ft, but the description read to me like the male was under 14 (significantly under fourteen).

I sent a message to Lazeez suggesting he take a closer look at the story. He did, and he pulled it.

Capt. Zapp

@Geek of Ages

But which age is the "accurate" one? Physical or mental?


Another situation that could come up is someone who is over 21 and has the same mental age, but is involved in an accident and ends up with 'the mind of a ?-year-old'.

Replies:   docholladay
Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

But which age is the "accurate" one? Physical or mental?


Physical.

A few months back, someone else on the forum asked about a story he was writing where a character appeared to be a prepubescent human but was actually an alien several centuries old.

Lazeez said that would be a violation of age rule.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

For the age codes, do they refer to the mental age or physical age of the characters?


Physical age is the way most legal jurisdictions view it, although the laws where I live were changed some years back without any public notice to word it such that if they appear to be under age it's unlawful. Thus a photo of a 28 y/o woman with a-cup breasts and a young looking face may be seen by the courts as appearing to be under 16 and thus it's against the law.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Mr. Bywater has a story that recounts parts of his adventures with the Australian authorities who appear to be wrong but can not be convinced.


I do need to get to work and update that for the court action and exchange of documents that have happened since I wrote that. It started in July 2015 and the cops are dragging their feet so much it's still on-going.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

I'm less concerned with legal jurisdiction (again, I'm talking about ages 14 and up) than I am with "how does this get coded on the site?"

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

It started in July 2015 and the cops are dragging their feet so much it's still on-going.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMartin_preschool_trial

Daycare sex abuse case in Los Angeles, California. The investigation and trial ran 7 years. No convictions. The investigation started in 1984 and all charges were dropped in 1990.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

"how does this get coded on the site?"


That's simple, go with the code list and ask the Webmaster when in doubt.

http://storiesonline.net/docs/code_faq.php

Replies:   Geek of Ages
richardshagrin

Age/Gender
Ma/Fa Adult Male over 18, Adult Female over 18
mt/ft Teen Male under 18, Teen Female under 18

Which leaves open to question which applies on the character's 18th birthday. When you are exactly 18 are you over 18 or under 18? It is possible but unlikely you have to be 19 to be over 18. Or perhaps we should interpret mt/ft as 17 or younger. Once they reach the magic age of 18, they are Mt/Ft. Once upon a time you had to be 21 to be an adult.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Which leaves open to question which applies on the character's 18th birthday.


If you count time of birth, you are only exactly 18 for one second.

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

But which age is the "accurate" one? Physical or mental?

The 'implied' one. One trick that several sci-fi authors tried was creating an alternate universe with an alternate solar year. Thus someone who on Earth would only be 12-years-old was, in this alternate universe, 18. The bottom line is, no one buys it. The story will still be deleted, SOL will still be criminally responsible for it's posting (if it's not caught in time) and the entire site may end up being shut down because you decided to be clever. In short, it's just not worth it!

If you want to post underaged stories, go to ASSTR, which is based in the U.S. and subject to U.S. laws. However, if you do, be aware that the Justice Department is currently monitoring everyone visiting the site (either to read or to post) apparently in a preparation for a new 'freedom of speech' lawsuit brought by the Federal Government. SO do so at your own risk.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

If you're in a country where you can buy alcohol once you're over 18, you can buy it at one minute past midnight even if you weren't born until one minute to midnight.

AJ

Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

The code list doesn't discuss instances where mental age and physical age differ, hence why I asked here.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

If you want to post underaged stories


Again, I'm not trying to be clever or skirt the rules or any of that. I am not trying to post stories with ages under the site limit. Please stop answering the question like I am.

I am simply asking: does the age code of teen vs adult apply to a character's physical age or their mental age, in the event of stories where the two diverge because magic.

Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

I am simply asking: does the age code of teen vs adult apply to a character's physical age or their mental age, in the event of stories where the two diverge because magic.


And the question has already been answered multiple times. Use the physical age for story codes.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
robberhands

@Geek of Ages

I am simply asking: does the age code of teen vs adult apply to a character's physical age or their mental age, in the event of stories where the two diverge because magic.

Code for the age with the highest risk to squick your readers and in such cases, it's the lowest age, mental or physically.

Geek of Ages

@Dominions Son

You're the only one who actually gave a straight answer, actually. I was content to let the matter rest from that (assuming your answer is accurate), but people keep answering with twisty words and implications that I'm trying to find a loophole to post something that isn't actually allowed on the site.

richardshagrin

@Geek of Ages

does the age code of teen vs adult apply to a character's physical age or their mental age


I think the consensus is physical age. In part guided by what will get you in trouble with the police or other law enforcement agency. If your character looks like an adult and has a birth certificate that proves his or her age is 18 or 21 or whatever the age for adulthood is in the jurisdiction in question, he/she is an adult. No matter how young she behaves.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Which leaves open to question which applies on the character's 18th birthday.


no it doesn't - it says under 18 so that's anything up to the day before the 18th birthday, after that they're 18 or over.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

The code list doesn't discuss instances where mental age and physical age differ, hence why I asked here.


And why I earlier said it was physical.

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

Again, I'm not trying to be clever or skirt the rules or any of that. I am not trying to post stories with ages under the site limit. Please stop answering the question like I am.

I am simply asking: does the age code of teen vs adult apply to a character's physical age or their mental age, in the event of stories where the two diverge because magic.

And again, if you want a definitive answer, ask Lazeez. But the established guideline is: it's the implied age, regardless of any presumed plot gimmicks, that determine the age. Thus, in your case, it's the age the character is at the time they have the sex. If he's a pre-teen boy, then he's a pre-teen boy, NOT an 86-year-old man or a 7-year-old alien!

Vlad_Inhaler
Updated:

@robberhands

As a reader, I wouldn't be overly impressed by your ingenuity to code someone underage as mature because of her well developed mental age. So my answer is simple, you should code according to the 'real' ages of the characters involved in sexual activities and a do-over doesn't change it. If the character is 14 after the do-over, then he is 14 and not eighty-seven as he may have been in his previous life.

I remember a story called Best Girl by bJohn (long since removed) where the girl involved was a few months old but had been her own grandmother in a "rebirth" scenario.

When I stopped reading it, she was seriously horny. Although there was no question that she was going to wait a number of years before doing anything about that condition it was still more than I wanted to process.

I thought he had published it somewhere but his website only points to his Clann books.

Replies:   AmigaClone
AmigaClone

@Vlad_Inhaler

I thought he had published it somewhere but his website only points to his Clann books.


In the FAQ he mentions "merged together Best Girl and Interesting Times".

It's been a number of years since I read any of BJohn's stories but if I recall, she and a few others who in that universe who were in infant bodies "grew up fast".

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Geek of Ages

Okay, so now shenanigans happen, and they swap bodies.

You are not attempting anything contrary to site policies but need to be careful about triggering any reader's squicks.
I would code the story you describe as 'mt/FA' - but also include this comment in the story description:
(Warning: story codes are based on the character's physical bodies)

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages
Updated:

@Ross at Play

I'd figure if the story description/title indicated body-swapping, then readers should expect that things are a little wonky.

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

I'd figure if the story description/title indicated body-swapping, then readers should expect that things are a little wonky.

That was my assumption. I'd assume that for ANYpast-lives/body-swap story. Trying to code explicitly is only asking for confusion (ex: "Where's the other woman in the story?").

Ross at Play

@Geek of Ages

I'd figure if the story description/title indicated body-swapping, then readers should expect that things are a little wonky.

I figured that too. So, to be ultra-cautious, just provide a simple explanation of how you chose the story codes. That's all I was suggesting.

docholladay
Updated:

@Capt. Zapp


Another situation that could come up is someone who is over 21 and has the same mental age, but is involved in an accident and ends up with 'the mind of a ?-year-old'.


For legal purposes its the physical age. I knew a woman back in the late 60's who had an accident putting her mental age to around 4 or something like that. Her physical age was around 30. The differences really showed when ever she had periods. She always had a major panic reaction to them.

Now for me personally the requirements get a little weird. I start at the physical but add in mental and emotional ages. Then I add in the requirement that all participants have to understand what they are doing and hopefully the risks. Some of the requirements merge into each other, but exceptions can happen.

JohnBobMead
Updated:

The way it's being treated on SOL reflects the way its being treated in Canada, and a number of other jurisdictions.

1) Those involved have to be of legal age.

2) They have to look like thay are of legal age as well as actually being of legal age.

This is having quite the impact upon the Soap Opera and Movie Industries within those countries. When the first shift occured, to requiring that those involved had to be of legal age, they just shifted to hiring actors/actresses who were of legal age but looked to be the age of those they were representing. While this still works in some jurisdictions, in a great many, including Canada, which SOL is based out of, the response was, "Nice try, if it looks like a duck, it swims like a duck, quacks like a duck, its a duck." In other words, if those involved appear to be underage, for the purposes of legal prosecution they are underage.

While it hasn't yet become an uncontested definition, one definition of rape which is gaining ground, and has considerable support within the female half of the species, is that unless all parties involved are in a condition to give reasoned consent to sexual activities, and have done so, rape has occured.

So if your story involves sex with someone who doesn't have the mental capacity to grant informed consent, you'd better code it for rape. This includes wake-up sex with someone who has previously given informed consent in other circumastances; there have been enough documented cases of women being woken up this way who were _not_ pleasantly surprised because they felt violated for it being done without their consent that it's clearly a very real issue. Consent can never be presumed, it has to be granted each time, and it has to be uncoerced for that consent to be truly valid.

That the consent has to be uncoerced to be valid is a sticky point within the legal community since if it becomes an accepted legal standard in regard to rape, it will transfer over to other areas of contract law, and then the whole question of where does negotiation end and coercion begin in regard to employee/employer contracts, and contracts between manufacturer and supplier, and manufacturer and their market? In theory, the entire free market system could come under attack. So there will be those arguing that staying when you have the option of leaving, no matter what threats to your employment are involved, is active binding consent, because to establish otherwise opens up a whole nother can of worms in regard to economic negotiations of any kind.

robberhands
Updated:

@JohnBobMead

So if your story involves sex with someone who doesn't have the mental capacity to grant informed consent, you'd better code it for rape.

The coding on SoL has no legal connotation. Your example should be coded as 'NonConsensual', not as 'Rape'. The 'Rape' tag should only be used for violent non-consensual sex.

Dominions Son

@JohnBobMead

That the consent has to be uncoerced to be valid is a sticky point within the legal community since if it becomes an accepted legal standard in regard to rape, it will transfer over to other areas of contract law


It's all ready the law in the US that a contract signed under coercion is void.

The problem with what is happening in regards to rape claims is not that it's creating the idea that coercion voids consent, but rather that it's pushing the line between persuasion and coercion in a direction that is going to have very undesirable consequences in the long term.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@Dominions Son

It's all ready the law in the US that a contract signed under coercion is void.

The problem with what is happening in regards to rape claims is not that it's creating the idea that coercion voids consent, but rather that it's pushing the line between persuasion and coercion in a direction that is going to have very undesirable consequences in the long term.


I sit corrected (since I'm sitting, not standing). Though I would point out that while persuasion and negotiation are, indeed, different activities, they are closely related activities, that if successful, result in someone agreeing to do something they didn't initially intend to do.

I think we already have the problem where one party may believe they've succeeded in persuading someone else about something, while the other party feels they've been coerced. I think something that will need to be taken into account when looking into such conflicts is whether any mention was made during their interaction of negative effects of saying no that aren't an inevitable result of saying no. While the blatantly obvious "have sex with me or don't bother showing up for work tomorrow, and good luck getting hired by anyone I can influence" cannot be argued to be persuasion, rather than coercion, I suspect that there are other ways things can be phrased that might be taken as a threat when that wasn't the actual intent. I'm having a hard time coming up with an example, But given the misidentification of intent occuring in our current ideological conflicts in the US, I'll conceed the possibility.

Replies:   Dominions Son  Joe Long
Dominions Son

@JohnBobMead

I suspect that there are other ways things can be phrased that might be taken as a threat when that wasn't the actual intent. I'm having a hard time coming up with an example, But given the misidentification of intent occuring in our current ideological conflicts in the US, I'll conceed the possibility.


One case that has actually come up in the college/university sexual misconduct context, a male student was accused of coercing her into sex because he said "have sex with me or I'll find a new girlfriend".

Replies:   JohnBobMead
Joe Long

@JohnBobMead

I'm having a hard time coming up with an example, But given the misidentification of intent occuring in our current ideological conflicts in the US, I'll conceed the possibility.


A contract to hide illegal activity can't be enforced. So if Harvey Weinstein settles out of court and has the woman sign a non-disclosure agreement, it may not be enforceable if what he did was a crime (rather than civil.) Rose McGown now says he raped her, but Weinstein at the time gave her like a million and had her sign an NDA.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@Dominions Son

One case that has actually come up in the college/university sexual misconduct context, a male student was accused of coercing her into sex because he said "have sex with me or I'll find a new girlfriend".


That's one where I'd side with all the advice I've seen on Quara: if someone gives you an ultimatum like that, ditch them then and there. Choosing to stay with someone who makes demands enforced by that type of threat is indeed a freely made choice, as the very threat declares them as unfit for the very relationship they are using as leverage. When it's your job it's a little different, as you need a job to be able to keep a roof over your head and food on the table, but when it's a personal relationship, the option to walk away is always a valid option, and thus choosing to stay in such a relationship is a freely made decision; I will grant a caveat for if they are known to get physically violent, that you will need to get others involved for your protection when you do leave, but leaving is still the proper choice. And if they are your source of food, clothing, and shelter, the cost of leaving also goes up, but staying ultimately puts you under a death sentence. Just as staying in the employ of anyone who uses that employment as leverage should only last as long as it takes to find another job that you can live on.

Replies:   Dominions Son
JohnBobMead

@Joe Long

A contract to hide illegal activity can't be enforced. So if Harvey Weinstein settles out of court and has the woman sign a non-disclosure agreement, it may not be enforceable if what he did was a crime (rather than civil.) Rose McGown now says he raped her, but Weinstein at the time gave her like a million and had her sign an NDA.


If you don't think anyone will believe your testimony, you take the money and sign the NDA, since it's the closest thing to justice that you think you will achieve.

I do feel that you don't offer up that type of money in a settlement unless a) you think a court case would cost you more than that even though you are sure of winning, or B) you think you'd lose and the penalties would hurt you more than paying that amount of money in a settlment. If you don't think anyone will believe your accuser you answer, "Sue and be damned." to misquote Winston Churchill. The settlement has to be economically to the advantage of the person offering the settlement, or they won't offer it. And yes, professional reputation is an economic consideration, so even if innocent and sure to win at a lesser upfront monetary cost, you might still choose to offer an advantageous settlement to your accuser to prevent the accusaton becoming public.

Clearly, her coming forward now is because she thinks she will now be believed, while previously she didn't. Which doesn't change the question as to whether her charges are true or not, just that previously she didn't think she would be believed and now she does.

If they were true then, they are true now, and the NDA was uninforcable. If they were false then, they are false now, and she is in violation of the NDA; additionally, if they were false then, it's blackmail, threatening to destroy a reputation unless paid off.

Replies:   Joe Long
Dominions Son

@JohnBobMead

hat's one where I'd side with all the advice I've seen on Quara: if someone gives you an ultimatum like that, ditch them then and there. Choosing to stay with someone who makes demands enforced by that type of threat is indeed a freely made choice, as the very threat declares them as unfit for the very relationship they are using as leverage.


On the other hand, if he wants a sexual relationship,and she is refusing same, on what grounds is he not entitled to dump her and go look for someone more compatible with his desires?

Note: The quote is her characterization, not the exact words he used.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
Joe Long

@JohnBobMead

Clearly, her coming forward now is because she thinks she will now be believed, while previously she didn't. Which doesn't change the question as to whether her charges are true or not, just that previously she didn't think she would be believed and now she does.

If they were true then, they are true now, and the NDA was uninforcable. If they were false then, they are false now, and she is in violation of the NDA; additionally, if they were false then, it's blackmail, threatening to destroy a reputation unless paid off.


McGowan started tweeting a year ago about an unnamed studio boss who raped her. Said that her lawyer told her she couldn't win in court, so she took a settlement and signed an NDA. After several others came forward against Weinstein McGowan did then name him.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@Dominions Son

On the other hand, if he wants a sexual relationship,and she is refusing same, on what grounds is he not entitled to dump her and go look for someone more compatible with his desires?


Of course he is; they are clearly incompatable.

But if he feels he has to threaten to leave to get her to sleep with him, and she does sleep with him and then claims coercion, they are both in the wrong; him, for thinking that the relationship was worth maintaining if he had to threaten her to have sex with her, and her, for thinking the relationship was sufficiently worth keeping to acquiesce to his threat when she really didn't want to be involved sexually. While her calling it coercion afterward is true, it is also unjust on her part to blame him for her decision to knuckle under, as she should have realized that there was no viable relationship to save.

But in the workplace it is different. Unless the job description says sex is expected as part of your duties, she has no reason to put out if she doesn't want to, and he has no legal justification for firing her if there is no valid ground for dismissal. And there are legal job descriptions that say that sex is an expected part of your responsibilities; what else can they put into a porn stars job description? It's not considered acceptable outside of that industry, and within that industry they recognize that it's not supposed to include sleeping with studio managment, but rather with your co-stars in your videos, but there are occupations where it is legally included.

JohnBobMead
Updated:

@Joe Long


McGowan started tweeting a year ago about an unnamed studio boss who raped her. Said that her lawyer told her she couldn't win in court, so she took a settlement and signed an NDA. After several others came forward against Weinstein McGowan did then name him


Nothing like theorizing in a vacuum and finding that it matchs reality.

Edit to add. Not a complete vacuum. My sister posted "Me too." I know her well enough to know this is not something she would lie about. I have not asked her for details, I am not going to ask for details, but if it ever comes up in direct conversation, she will know that I believe her.

Replies:   Joe Long
Dominions Son

@JohnBobMead

But if he feels he has to threaten to leave to get her to sleep with him, and she does sleep with him and then claims coercion, they are both in the wrong; him, for thinking that the relationship was worth maintaining if he had to threaten her to have sex with her, and her, for thinking the relationship was sufficiently worth keeping to acquiesce to his threat when she really didn't want to be involved sexually.


True, but under no circumstance does that amount to some form of sexual assult, which is what the female college student was claiming.

Dominions Son

@JohnBobMead

Unless the job description says sex is expected as part of your duties, she has no reason to put out if she doesn't want to, and he has no legal justification for firing her if there is no valid ground for dismissal.


Every state in the US recognizes "at will" employment, which means that unless she has an explicit contract he does not need any grounds for dismissal.

At will employment allows for termination without cause. Though in most states an employer can be liable if the dismissal was found to be based on cause explicitly prohibited by law (such as racial discrimination).

Replies:   docholladay
Joe Long

@JohnBobMead

Nothing like theorizing in a vacuum and finding that it matchs reality.


I believe it has been verified that McGowan received a cash settlement from Weinstein.

I RT'd McGowan's old tweet to Lisa Bloom, so I'll take credit for Bloom dropping Weinstein as a client a couple of days later.

docholladay
Updated:

@Dominions Son


At will employment allows for termination without cause. Though in most states an employer can be liable if the dismissal was found to be based on cause explicitly prohibited by law (such as racial discrimination).


There can be a small problem if you need to have witnesses willing to testify to the reasons for the firing. If everyone who could potentially testify are scared of losing their jobs or in my experience their insurance coverage. Filing a Law suit is useless or even filing with the state/federal employment agencies. I ran into that little problem myself. No one who knew the facts were willing to testify because of the threats made to them by the insurance company.

edited to add: I could have sued two different organizations in that incident: The hospital for illegally releasing my medical records. And the Insurance company for using them as grounds to have me fired with no legal release form for those records.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@docholladay

I could have sued two different organizations in that incident: The hospital for illegally releasing my medical records. And the Insurance company for using them as grounds to have me fired with no legal release form for those records.


But not unfortunately, your employer if you were an at-will employee.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Dominions Son

But not unfortunately, your employer if you were an at-will employee.


Not their fault. The Insurance company threatened to terminate all of their insurance coverage. So I didn't blame them, just wished their management had the courage to testify which they didn't. I was lucky enough to be told as to the reason. Seems I was too good a worker. I was about to be promoted into a position where I had to be individually covered by their insurance company. So my employee information was submitted to the damned insurance company. No release forms were signed to give them permission to access my medical/psychological records in any form from any hospital. Only one hospital that had those particular records however. Grounds quoted were taken directly from those records. I wonder why I eventually got tired of trying to constantly find a new job.

JohnBobMead

I keep wondering what the result would be if we could get everyone to sit down and seriously discuss that employers are entitled to a reasonable profit, that employees who fulfill their job responsibilities are entitled to a reasonable wage and job security, that employees who don't fulfill their listed job responsibilities get fired or, if everyone agrees they could successfully fulfill the responsibilities of another position that's available transfered to that position, and can we come to some sort of agreement on just how we define reasonable profit and reasonable wage in this context? Without your employees you have no product; without someone who has the vision, skills and abilities to manage the enterprise it will fail; both require the other to succeed.

I've worked as a Library Page, frontline Librarian, Librarian/Supervisor, and Library Manager, and they all require different skills, knowledge, and abilities, as well as having very different responsibilities, I have no arguments concerning the higher up the structure the more you make, just with the disparity in wages in some cases.

I've worked for people who expected absolute loyalty on the part of their staff, considering someone looking for work elsewhere as a personal betrayal, but didn't discuss with any of the lower management potential changes to their budget requests, but were informed of staff cuts at the same time as the staff being cut. My vocally objecting to how they handled that in a senior staff meeting nearly got me fired, and had a great deal to do with their wanting to hire someone else when they decided to upgrade my position to Library Director, rather than just being in charge of the "standard" library operastions, with Manuscripts and Photo Achives on the same level as mine. Somehow my feeling that loyalty was a two-way street didn't set well with them. I will give them this, however, they _did_ arrange to have specialists in job search activities come in to work with the staff being let go, paid for by the firm, which they didn't have to do; as it turned out the only one of my staff who had their position cut already had a job offer elsewhere, but she had been afraid to ask me to be a reference because of what the reaction at the top would be if they found out she was looking; she knew I wouldn't have a problem with her looking for a better paying position, and that I'd have given her a good recommendation. Of course, her position being cut meant I was running a library with no clerical staff; professional staff were already doing all the reshelving of materials each day. I'd have really rather they cut my one part-time Librarian; they would have reduced the budget by a greater amount, I'd have had clerical work done by someone being paid clerical wages, and the remaining librarians would have worked more hours on the reference desk, but they would have lost the same amount of time from their non-desk responsibilities doing clerical work to deal with no clerical staff. But they didn't want my input.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@JohnBobMead

I keep wondering what the result would be if we could get everyone to sit down and seriously discuss that employers are entitled to a reasonable profit, that employees who fulfill their job responsibilities are entitled to a reasonable wage and job security, that employees who don't fulfill their listed job responsibilities get fired or, if everyone agrees they could successfully fulfill the responsibilities of another position that's available transfered to that position, and can we come to some sort of agreement on just how we define reasonable profit and reasonable wage in this context?


A nice thought, but it'll never happen, because the unions will insist you've no right to fire anyone for anything, and no right to promote a better worker over a slack worker whose been there longer, nor will the unions accept you should get a high percentage profit return on your investment than if you'd stuck it in the bank.

Then the politically left leaders will claim the government has the right to tax all your profit into their pocket.

Add in the slack people who don't want to work at all, and you can easily see why the good idea won't happen.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Ernest Bywater

A nice thought, but it'll never happen, because the unions will insist you've no right to fire anyone for anything, and no right to promote a better worker over a slack worker whose been there longer, nor will the unions accept you should get a high percentage profit return on your investment than if you'd stuck it in the bank.

And the thought of people being paid a fair days wage for a fair days work & a reasonable profit & remuneration for those higher in the company will never go over with those that own or run such companies.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Grant


And the thought of people being paid a fair days wage for a fair days work & a reasonable profit & remuneration for those higher in the company will never go over with those that own or run such companies.


It all comes down to what you call a fair wage and a fair amount of work - having been on both sides of these types of issues I can tell you a lot of people who call for a fair wage don't want to deliver a fair day's work for it.

typo edit.

Dominions Son

@Grant

And the thought of people being paid a fair days wage for a fair days work


A truly fair wage must be fair to the employer as well as the employee.

In my experience, most of the people calling for a "fair wage", don't give a rat's ass if what they consider a "fair wage" would bankrupt the employer.

And most of them think a reasonable profit for the employer is 0.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Dominions Son

In my experience, most of the people calling for a "fair wage", don't give a rat's ass if what they consider a "fair wage" would bankrupt the employer.

And many employers arguing for lower wages for their staff don't think that it should also apply to them.

That's why there are business plans. You determine how much it will cost run your business and if it will be profitable before starting it up- using realistic numbers.
Unfortunately there are more & more businesses that are only viable if the employees work 10-12 hour days, with no breaks, and 1 day a fortnight off.
The manager of course works, or not, as they feel like it.
And to them a viable business is one where they take home $300,00 a year or more, and their employees might have enough for food after they've paid for their accommodation, power, phone bills & the like.

Maybe if more businesses paid a bit less to their management, and a bit more to their employees, the business itself might actually do better?
Just a thought.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Grant


That's why there are business plans. You determine how much it will cost run your business and if it will be profitable before starting it up- using realistic numbers.


and two months later the government approves a union demand for an extra $25 per week per employee and your budget is sot down in flames.

typo edit

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Ernest Bywater

and two months later the government approves a union demand for an extra $25 per week per employee and you budget is sot down in flames

See, you didn't make a business plan with realistic figures. If you had the slightest clue, you would have also checked the news to see what was likely in the next 12 months.
A business plan that only looks 4 weeks ahead isn't much of a plan.

And even with that increase, those people will still be worse off than they were 5 years ago.
Along with the majority of the population that won't get that increase that will be even worse off.

Just like when taking out a mortgage on a house- even if interest rates are anticipated to fall, you would still work out what you're able to afford if they went up 3-5% from what they are at the time you're looking at getting your mortgage.
At least that's what I did with my Mortgage broker. It just made sense to do so.
As it turned out, rates fell. Sometimes you do get a win.

Michael Loucks

@Grant

See, you didn't make a business plan with realistic figures. If you had the slightest clue, you would have also checked the news to see what was likely in the next 12 months.
A business plan that only looks 4 weeks ahead isn't much of a plan.


So I make a business plan that looks out 1, 3, and 5 years. "Fight for $15" manages to convince enough lawmakers to impose a $15/hour minimum wage, but my employees can only generate enough revenue to pay them $10/hour. I'm out of business if I can't raise my prices enough to cover the new wages.

Remember - I can only generate sales equal to what people are willing to pay, NOT what I decide to charge. See the results on low-wage jobs in areas with the $15/hour minimum wage.

Replies:   Grant
Ernest Bywater

@Grant

See, you didn't make a business plan with realistic figures. If you had the slightest clue, you would have also checked the news to see what was likely in the next 12 months.
A business plan that only looks 4 weeks ahead isn't much of a plan.


It didn't happen to me, but happened to my neighbour when secret union negotiations with the government ended up in a sudden announcement of an increase in the award wage. The only times I was asked to go into business with someone as an owner I refused to deal with any business using union labour due to the way they work so hard to screw over small business.

Replies:   Grant
Dominions Son

@Grant

Maybe if more businesses paid a bit less to their management, and a bit more to their employees, the business itself might actually do better?
Just a thought.


Most small business don't pay their management that much more than the employees.

With a large corporation the ratio of workers to high payed management positions is too large to make a significant difference.

The CEO of Ford made $18.5 Million last year, but Ford has 200,000 employees. If you completely eliminated the CEO's salary and used it to raise the rest of the employees pay, each employee would get a extra $92.50 per year. Not so big a raise is it?

Replies:   Grant
Ernest Bywater

@Grant

Grant,

What's worst of a pay rise for a small business is for every $1 an employee gets each week the actual operating costs to the business is between $1.60 to $2.50 depending on the business size and industry. Payroll tax, compulsory employer pension contribution payments for the employee's pension, recreation, sick, and long service leave entitlements plus the costs of managing all that. Back in the late 1990s I did the book work to see how much extra a couple had to have in extra income to employ two people to expand their much in demand business. It worked out to hire two workers they needed to increase their revenue by quadruple to maintain the same take home pay they had. They were considering expanding due to demands for double the business, but the work required people to work in pairs, so that meant two people, then all the new on-costs and extra part-timers for business issues like personnel management etc.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Dominions Son

Most small business don't pay their management that much more than the employees.

True.
Unfortunately some of them tend to be the biggest offenders when it comes to underpaying.

The CEO of Ford made $18.5 Million last year, but Ford has 200,000 employees.

And the board of directors, upper management?
And that 18 million was that everything, or just the base pay. Add on all the bonuses & other little benefits, many COEs base pay can often be the smaller amount they receive.

If you completely eliminated the CEO's salary and used it to raise the rest of the employees pay, each employee would get a extra $92.50 per year. Not so big a raise is it?

Nope.
But reduce the pay of a few others higher up, and that amount becomes greater.
And given the lower level of income, even such a small amount can make a significant difference.
$92.50 isn't a lot the receive, but it is a lot to lose.

Grant

@Ernest Bywater

The only times I was asked to go into business with someone as an owner I refused to deal with any business using union labour due to the way they work so hard to screw over small business.

Different sides of the fence.
You consider it screwing over a small business. Those doing the work see it as getting enough to hopefully be better off than just getting by.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Grant

@Michael Loucks

Remember - I can only generate sales equal to what people are willing to pay, NOT what I decide to charge. See the results on low-wage jobs in areas with the $15/hour minimum wage.

So maybe you should consider running a business that doesn't require people to earn less than they need to survive?

Grant
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

It worked out to hire two workers they needed to increase their revenue by quadruple to maintain the same take home pay they had.


So they either decided it wasn't worth while doing, or they reduced their own personal income for a period of time in order to build the business up.

That's what my first boss did. Adding staff added to his expenses hugely, but over time he figured it would boost the overall business & result in (eventually) him benefiting from it.
It took about 15 years, but it did work out that way.

Dominions Son

@Grant

And that 18 million was that everything, or just the base pay.


It was his total earnings for the year.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Grant


And the board of directors, upper management?


Average compensation for outside directors in the US is only $240K and there are typically no more than a dozen directors.

Ford pays it's directors $315K according to one of the exhibits attached to their annual report.


But reduce the pay of a few others higher up, and that amount becomes greater.


More than a few. Most of the rest of Fords Executives make less than 1/3rd what the CEO makes.

To come up with even a $0.10/hour raise for 200,000 employees would take $41,600,000.

There simply aren't enough executives at even the largest corporations with compensation packages in the $millions to make the math work for what you are suggesting.

According to Morningstar ( http://insiders.morningstar.com/trading/executive-compensation.action?t=F )

Ford Motor companies aggregate executive compensation (all executives combined) is $55,591,882.

If you zeroed all executive compensation, across 200K employees that would be just $0.13/hour.

The math simply won't work the way you want it to.

Dominions Son

@Grant

It took about 15 years, but it did work out that way.


The average new business won't last 5 years.

Replies:   Grant
Dominions Son

@Grant

So maybe you should consider running a business that doesn't require people to earn less than they need to survive?


So you think every restaurant with an average meal price under $50 a plate should just close it's doors?

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Dominions Son

The average new business won't last 5 years.

The average new business probably didn't put enough effort in to their business plan.

Grant

@Dominions Son

So you think every restaurant with an average meal price under $50 a plate should just close it's doors?

If they can't pay their staff enough to get by on, then yes.

As economic circumstances have changed over the years, many industries & professions have come & gone. If low end (although at $50 a meal i'd consider that high end) restaurants are no longer viable, they're not viable.
Most likely new business models will come along, that provide a similar (or very different) service that are still able to pay those that work for them enough to get by.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Grant


Most likely new business models will come along, that provide a similar (or very different) service that are still able to pay those that work for them enough to get by.


Yes, by replacing employees with machines, so you can run an entire restaurant on 1/10th the staff.

All raising the minimum wage to $15 will accomplish is to price low skill workers out of the job market completely. Sure, the few left with jobs will be making a living wage, until you factor in the fact that the prices of goods and services across the board will have to increase to pay for it so the cost of living will also increase, but at the cost of massive increases in long term unemployment.

ETA: McDonald and Burger King are already spending $millions on trying to figure out how to provide their current level of service with fewer employees and this is being driven in large part by the $15 minimum wage movement.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Dominions Son

@Grant

If they can't pay their staff enough to get by on, then yes.


Another type of business that would have problems with a $15 minimum wage is grocery stores.

Profit margin is defined as the profit/gross revenue.

The average profit margin for grocery stores in the US is 0.5% (yes, half a percent).

Where do you expect grocery stores to come up with the money to nearly triple their labor costs without going out of business?

If they all go out of business, how will you eat? What happens to your so called living wage when everyone has to go back to subsistence agriculture?

Replies:   Not_a_ID
richardshagrin

To some extent, prices will go up if all the grocery store competitors face the same problem and all raise prices. There are will be more automation, or at least self checkout counters will increase and there will be fewer live people to run food through normal cash registers. Its possible more food delivery will be made by "independent contractors" who don't get the high wages unionized grocery stores get. Some stores may go out of business if profits to support them can not be earned. People will go to food banks where volunteers handle food distribution and the food is donated or provided by the government for low income food bank users. Local governments may re-task school cafeterias or other food preparation locations to supply already cooked food for low rates, instead of people buying groceries and cooking themselves. People who can't buy food cheaply may eat less, or grow their own in gardens. Farmers markets may sell more products, year round. There are alternate food distribution channels if grocery stores become less competitive. Maybe Amazon will take over all food distribution?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Grant

I'm going to take one more shot at this, maybe one of them will take.

Think about it this way:

The current federal minimum wage is $5.25. What would happen if you could magically increase that to $15 without increasing unemployment?

Here's what would happen. The cost of ALL goods and services would have to increase to compensate.

Money is not wealth. Wealth is tangible goods and useful services. Money is just a useful tool for measuring value across dissimilar goods and services.

If the minimum wage increased to $15 without increasing unemployment, the cost of living would increase by as much as you increased the minimum wage.

In the end, when all the dust settled, a minimum wage worker would be able to buy no more goods and services at $15/hour than that worker was able buy at $5.25 an hour.

The only way to increase the average price of labor without creating inflationary pressure is to increase the productivity of workers.

Demanding at the point of a gun (government=force) that people pay worker more does nothing to make those workers more productive. Nor does in make the goods and services those workers produce more valuable in real terms.

Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

ETA: McDonald and Burger King are already spending $millions on trying to figure out how to provide their current level of service with fewer employees and this is being driven in large part by the $15 minimum wage movement.


And once figure out how to get RoboCook(TM) to perform to their satisfaction, the smaller (local, independent) fast food joints are going to be crushed. As RoboCook will be both too expensive for them to finance obtaining themselves, and more cost efficient than any human workers they could afford.

A great day for the owners of RoboCook, and the shareholders of McDonald's but not so great for the community who just lost their local BurgerShack, as well as being a bad day for the now displaced former McD's and BurgerShack workers.

But the reality at this point is RoboBurger is coming regardless. Significant hikes to minimum wage just hastens its arrival.

The "real solution" isn't higher wages for McDonalds employees. The real answer is finding a way to put those people on a career path that doesn't involve menial minimum wage jobs.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

To some extent, prices will go up if all the grocery store competitors face the same problem and all raise prices.


Which will hit poor people (the minimum wage earners)the hardest.

Its possible more food delivery will be made by "independent contractors" who don't get the high wages unionized grocery stores get.


We aren't talking about unions here, but a large increase in the minimum wage, which means independent contractors to deliver food save nothing.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

The real answer is finding a way to put those people on a career path that doesn't involve menial minimum wage jobs


Which means teaching them how to be more productive, and therefore more valuable, workers.

Demanding higher minimum wages doesn't do that. What it does is price low skill, low productivity workers out of the labor market.

Replies:   Joe Long
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

But the reality at this point is RoboBurger is coming regardless. Significant hikes to minimum wage just hastens its arrival.


Political pressure to increase the minimum wage has been around for decades. In fact certain interest groups have been continuously pushing for higher minimum wages since the minimum wage was first created.

You are right, further increases will only hasten the arrival of robocook, but if the minimum wage had never existed, nobody would be trying to build a robocook at all.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

Where do you expect grocery stores to come up with the money to nearly triple their labor costs without going out of business

Simple, as it impacts their entire industry, they just raise their prices across the board.(Exception: the wage hike is purely "local" in Which case they either slash expenses(workers), or shut down/relocate outside of the footprint of the increased wages) Which will in turn nullify many of the gains said wage hike was supposed to grant.

Ditto for housing. You thought that extra $5/hour was going to let you get a better apartment? Haha. Welcome to supply and demand, the housing supply didn't change, but the amount of money people are willing to pay for said housing just increased. Rents will thus increase, as will property values(which will increase property tax rates--remember rental units are considered commercial properties for taxation purposes so they're taxed at a higher rate than homeowners would pay, which will in turn increase rental fees) so buying a place of your own also just became more expensive.

Making things even more fun is the people on public assistance are likewise then going to need an increased level of financial support because their costs just increased as well. Which means the government needs to come up with more money for that from somewhere as well. That isn't to mention any public employees who "benefited" directly from the wage hike as well.

And the ripples just continue to expand from there.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

You are right, further increases will only hasten the arrival of robocook, but if the minimum wage had never existed, nobody would be trying to build a robocook at all.


Eh, I think someone would be trying to build it anyway. The difference in the amount of money and resources dedicated to the task would be much lower... And it would likely be a small business owner/inventor who cobbled one together(eventually). Rather than a undertaking pursued by tech sector businesses with multi-million dollar budgets.

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Which will in turn nullify many of the gains said wage hike was supposed to grant.


Yep, I said exactly that above in a reply to Grant.

Grant

Over the years there has always been a cry of doom & gloom & wide spread job losses and failed businesses whenever the minimum wage has been increased here.
Guess what? Each time the effects have been... minimal. No widespread job losses or business collapsing (oh, and you don't have much of an inflationary impact either, if any).
For a time, till the (already existing) inflation eats away at that increased income it generally results in a lift in the economy, as those that didn't have money to spare now have a bit of discretionary income. And often instead of putting it away for a rainy day, they spend it- boosting the over all economy.
And guess what?
That boost to the overall economy results in increased tax revenue for the government.

Certainly we've never had an increase as great as the proposals appear to be in the US, but then there have been incremental increases every 12-24 months and so even though the minimum wage hasn't always kept up with inflation, it generally hasn't gotten too far behind it either.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Grant


Certainly we've never had an increase as great as the proposals appear to be in the US


No where in the world has there been a minimum wage increase within an order of magnitude of going from $5.25 to $15.

As to job and inflationary impacts, with small increases, a business can take lower profits for a while while they work to increase productivity to compensate and bring profits back up.

Take business operating on a narrow margin (the profit margin average in the US across all industries is under 10%) and triple their labor costs overnight and the impact will be catastrophic. There is no way to increase worker productivity fast enough to offset a 300% increase in labor costs.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Dominions Son

@Grant

Oh, and with such a large increase in minimum wage, the effects of the labor cost increase won't be confined to companies that employ minimum wage labor.

If the minimum wage increases from $5.25 to $15 do you think workers currently making $10.50 an hour will be happy to work for the new minimum wage or will they demand $30/hour? What about union workers making $15/hour? Will they settle for making minimum wage or will they in turn demand $45/hour?

The biggest backers of minimum wage laws and increase in the US are the labor unions? Why because the increase in the minimum wage is used as a lever to demand corresponding increases for their members who are already making well above minimum wage.

Ernest Bywater

@Grant

Those doing the work see it as getting enough to hopefully be better off than just getting by.


Grant,

As a worker I've been screwed over by the unions ten times more often than by any company management. The union management have less regard for the workers than the management do. To the union management it's an exercise in power play and nothing else.

Back in the late 1980s we were establishing Workplace Agreements under the terms set up by Bob Hawke, and it was always the unions vetoing them after the workers came to an agreement with the management. It got so bad the only way one group could get the agreement they wanted for their workplace was to convince everyone to resign from the union so they could refuse to let the union have a veto. So, no I don't ever want to be involved with union thugs.

Ernest Bywater

@Grant

So they either decided it wasn't worth while doing, or they reduced their own personal income for a period of time in order to build the business up.


Yeah they would've had to reduce their own income for over 20 years for the local population to increase to the point they'd have enough extra business to generate the needed revenue levels - it wasn't worth it.

helmut_meukel

@Dominions Son

Its possible more food delivery will be made by "independent contractors" who don't get the high wages unionized grocery stores get.

We aren't talking about unions here, but a large increase in the minimum wage, which means independent contractors to deliver food save nothing.


That depends on how you define "independent contractors". If they have employees, you are right. If they however are freelancers having to come up with their own delivery van and you pay them a (low) price per delivered unit, then they may earn finally less than $2.50 per hour.

I know many independant one-man-delivery businesses here in Germany going bankrupt less than one year after signing a contract with one of the nation-wide parcel services. A clause in those contracts forbid working for competitors and they usually didn't realize this included their own small business. The parcel service didn't tell them that they had relatively few deliveries per day in a vast area or an area with small twisted roads and no customers there to pick-up parcels from.

BTW, a fair solution would have been to allow the contractor to work concurrently for two or three parcel services.

HM.

Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

No where in the world has there been a minimum wage increase within an order of magnitude of going from $5.25 to $15.


The federal minimum is $7.25 except for those working in fields where their income is "supplemented" by way of tips. So an increase to $15/hour is closer to a doubling than a tripling.

Michael Loucks

@Grant

So maybe you should consider running a business that doesn't require people to earn less than they need to survive?


Which will invoke the TRUE minimum wage: $0.

Not_a_ID

@Grant

Over the years there has always been a cry of doom & gloom & wide spread job losses and failed businesses whenever the minimum wage has been increased here.
Guess what? Each time the effects have been... minimal. No widespread job losses or business collapsing (oh, and you don't have much of an inflationary impact either, if any).
For a time, till the (already existing) inflation eats away at that increased income it generally results in a lift in the economy, as those that didn't have money to spare now have a bit of discretionary income. And often instead of putting it away for a rainy day, they spend it- boosting the over all economy.
And guess what?
That boost to the overall economy results in increased tax revenue for the governmen


Consulting wiki brings this up:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_wage_in_the_United_States

According to a survey conducted by economist Greg Mankiw, 79% of economists agreed that "a minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers."

A 2015 survey conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center found that a majority of economists believed raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would have negative effects on youth employment levels (83%), adult employment levels (52%), and the number of jobs available (76%). Additionally, 67% of economists surveyed believed that a $15 minimum wage would make it harder for small businesses with less than 50 employees to stay in business.

A 2006 survey conducted by Robert Whaples, professor of economics at Wake Forest University, found that, among the economists surveyed[How many?], opinions about the minimum wage were as follows:

46.8% favored eliminating it
14.3% favored keeping it the same
1.3% favored decreasing it
5.2% favored increasing it by about 50 cents per hour
15.6% favored increasing it by about $1 per hour
16.9% favored increasing it by more than $1 per hour


Or

According to a February 2013 survey of the University of Chicago IGM Forum, which includes approximately 40 economists:

34% agreed with the statement that "Raising the federal minimum wage to $9 per hour would make it noticeably harder for low-skilled workers to find employment", with 32% disagreeing and 24% uncertain
42% agreed that "...raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour and indexing it to inflation...would be a desirable policy", with 11% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing and 32% uncertain.

According to a fall 2000 survey conducted by Fuller and Geide-Stevenson, 73.5% (27.9% of which agreed with provisos) of American economists surveyed[How many?] agreed that minimum wage laws increase unemployment among unskilled and young workers, while 26.5% disagreed with the statement.


But that's opinion. Let's look at the hash that is their data:

Empirical work on fast food workers in the 1990s challenged the neoclassical model. In 1994, economists David Card and Alan Krueger studied employment trends among 410 restaurants in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania following New Jersey's minimum wage hike (from $4.25 to $5.05) in April 1992. They found "no indication that the rise in the minimum wage reduced employment." However, a 1995 re-analysis of the evidence by David Neumark found that the increase in New Jersey's minimum wage actually resulted in a 4.6% decrease in employment. Neumark's study relied on payroll records from a sample of large fast-food restaurant chains, whereas the Card-Krueger study relied on business surveys.

Additional research conducted by David Neumark and William Wascher (which surveyed over 100 studies related to the employment effects of minimum wages) found that the majority of peer-reviewed economic research (about two-thirds) showed a positive correlation between minimum wage hikes and increased unemployment—especially for young and unskilled workers. Neumark's analysis further found that, when looking at only the most credible research, 85% of studies showed a positive correlation between minimum wage hikes and increased unemployment.

Or

A 2013 Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) review of multiple studies since 2000 indicated that there was "little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage." Another CEPR study in 2014 found that job creation within the United States is faster within states that raised their minimum wage. In 2014, the state with the highest minimum wage in the nation, Washington, exceeded the national average for job growth in the United States.


Of course, causation and correlation are two different things, and Washington state has had a big of inflation related to cost of living.. And economists have also tracked a strong correlation to inflation and job growth as well. Just saying. But for yet another data point:

A 2012 study led by Joseph Sabia, professor of economics at the University of New Hampshire, estimated that the 2004-6 New York State minimum wage increase (from $5.15 to $6.75) resulted in a 20.2% to 21.8% reduction in employment for less-skilled, less-educated workers. Another study conducted by Joseph Sabia, then an assistant professor at American University, found that minimum wages were ineffective at alleviating poverty for single mothers. The study further concluded that a 10% increase in the minimum wage was associated with an 8.8% reduction in employment and an 11.8% reduction in hours for uneducated single mothers.

Research conducted by Richard Burkhauser, professor emeritus of Policy Analysis at Cornell University, concluded that minimum wage increases "significantly reduce the employment of the most vulnerable groups in the working-age population—young adults without a high school degree (aged 20-24), young black adults and teenagers (aged 16-24), and teenagers (aged 16-19)."

A 2007 study by Daniel Aaronson and Eric French concluded that a 10% increase in the minimum wage decreased low-skill employment by 2-4% and total restaurant employment by 1-3%.

The Economist wrote in December 2013: "A minimum wage, providing it is not set too high, could thus boost pay with no ill effects on jobs...Some studies find no harm to employment from federal or state minimum wages, others see a small one, but none finds any serious damage...High minimum wages, however, particularly in rigid labour markets, do appear to hit employment. France has the rich world's highest wage floor, at more than 60% of the median for adults and a far bigger fraction of the typical wage for the young. This helps explain why France also has shockingly high rates of youth unemployment: 26% for 15- to 24-year-olds."


But here is where it can get fun:

In February 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported the theoretical effects of a federal minimum wage increase under two scenarios: an increase to $9.00 and an increase to $10.10. According to the report, approximately 100,000 jobs would be lost under the $9.00 option, whereas 500,000 jobs would be lost under the $10.10 option (with a wide range of possible outcomes).


Except:

CBO estimated in February 2014 that raising the minimum wage would reduce the number of persons below the poverty income threshold by 900,000 under the $10.10 option versus 300,000 under the $9.00 option.


So by the CBO in 2014, a $9 minimum wage would take 100,000 workers who are employed, but in poverty, and remove them from the workforce. But it also would lift another 300,000 people out of poverty. A $10.10 minimum costs 500,000 jobs, but brings another 900,000 people out of poverty. (At least, for a while) Also by that CBO report, the $9 wage increases economic activity by 1 billion dollars, while the $10.10 minimum nets $2 billion more.

Of course, it seems wiki didn't(or couldn't) cite what the estimated costs to government assistance programs would be from those 100,000 or 500,000 additional unemployed respectively. But just doing napkin math and saying they become an additional $10,000/year tax burden each that results in a cost to tax payers of either $1 billion or $5 billion respectively. (Also bear in mind that not everyone below the poverty line is eligible for government assistance, or inclined to use it)

richardshagrin
Updated:

I took Economics a long time ago, in the 1960s. What I remember is that interference with free markets, including the ones for labor, introduce inefficiencies that cost everyone money. Or raise prices for goods unnecessarily. However minimum wages are incredibly popular politically, so economists who also need to retain their employment do not fight them any more. If you are 14 or 18 or just entering or re-entering the labor market at any age, legislation on a number of topics reduce your options. As a group, we are lucky that laws and rules have limited impact on what we can read and write. Except about fictional characters under 14 years of age in Canada.

Minimum wage = Minimum age.

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Dominions Son

Which means teaching them how to be more productive, and therefore more valuable, workers.

Demanding higher minimum wages doesn't do that. What it does is price low skill, low productivity workers out of the labor market.


They are being told the opposite - that no matter how much their labor actually contributes, they deserve to be paid what they need. It may sound cruel, but the employer is buying your labor and doesn't care how much the employee needs. That's their responsibility. If someone needs $15/hour to get along, then they need to apply for a job that pays at least $15/hour. If they don't have the skills then again it's their responsibility to improve their skills. I'm 58 and I'm still working on bettering my knowledge and skills. I've been told that's cruel, that I shouldn't have to. That is an attitude of entitlement, that one can expect to be given things without having to offer equal value in return.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Joe Long

They are being told the opposite


And it is this, not greedy companies that traps them in poverty.

Joe Long

@richardshagrin

If you are 14 or 18 or just entering or re-entering the labor market at any age,


People often try to refute with the commonly used unemployment rate, but that's people who are actively looking for work. In the last 25 years the labor participation rate for 16 to 25 has fallen by quite a bit while remaining steady for higher ages. Employers don't want to pay the higher minimum wage to kids just starting. Part time jobs for high school and college kids are disappearing, which also means that many more graduate college, looking for a fulltime career, with no previous job experience. My dad starting working at age 12, even while he finished high school, served in the military, then went on to get his master's degree. He was on my ass by the time I was 15. I didn't get work until after I was out of high school, but sometimes failing at my jobs flipping burgers, delivering pizza and waiting tables prepared me for when I had to go out on my own and support myself. Some of this makes it's way into my story.

REP

@Grant

what was likely in the next 12 months.


The market research for a new business should address a much longer period. The plan should also factor in salary increases.

You can't predict what politicians will do. Here in San Diego, California we recently had a big increase in minimum wage. I think it predominantly affected the restaurant business. The most likely immediate impact will be higher prices in the affected businesses followed by an overall increase in both wages and prices.

If wages increase, prices increase, followed by another wage increase, followed by ... It is a vicious cycle.

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@REP

If wages increase, prices increase, followed by another wage increase, followed by ... It is a vicious cycle.


But I hear people longing for the situation where wages continually rise faster than prices.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp  Dominions Son  REP
Capt. Zapp

@Joe Long

But I hear people longing for the situation where wages continually rise faster than prices.


Unfortunately that can not happen. In order to pay the higher wage, the company has to make more money. To make more money, they have to raise the prices on their product. If the price increase is less than the pay increase, the company loses money.

Replies:   richardshagrin
Dominions Son

@Joe Long

But I hear people longing for the situation where wages continually rise faster than prices.


That is impossible unless worker productivity is rising faster than general inflation. Trying to force wages to increase will only make prices rise that much faster.

If you truly want to make workers better off as opposed to say increasing government or union power, you have to work on improving productivity. There is NO other answer that will produce sustainable wage increases.

Replies:   Grant  Not_a_ID  REP
Grant

@Dominions Son

If you truly want to make workers better off as opposed to say increasing government or union power, you have to work on improving productivity.

That hasn't worked either.
Computerisation & mechanisation over the last 40 years has resulted in massive increases in workers productivity, however it hasn't resulted in any improvement in their financial position as any increases in pay they have received have been either on par with, or less than, inflation over that period of time.

Even back in the mid 20th century mechanisation resulted in significant increases in worker productivity. It didn't result in improved financial positions for the majority of the workers.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Dominions Son

If you truly want to make workers better off as opposed to say increasing government or union power, you have to work on improving productivity. There is NO other answer that will produce sustainable wage increases.


Which is where Marx actually starts to be right about a couple things(I won't say most). Technology has now reached the point where "How do you make workers more productive?" Ends up with wildly divergent answers. Although the common theme, in an echo of the 19th/20th century mechanization, is to now digitize/virtualize the work. In some cases, this increases the skill/knowledge level of the worker needed, but in many others it actually lowers it. But more often than not, it also translates into fewer workers needed in general. (It may take a lot of people to develop and install the initial infrastructure, but once in place, maintenance is going to be downright trivial in comparison to the alternative.)

We're now playing in a realm, much like with mechanization(which hasn't fully stopped, such as the prospect of "RoboCook"), where workers are being displaced as more of their work becomes digital, where virtual systems then begin to process things through various algorithms before spitting out results.

Sure they help the worker "be more efficient," but those same algorithms are making it so that one (skilled) worker can now do the same work that used to require 2 or more additional (skilled) people to perform. In some cases, the algorithms/limited AI's have started to reach the point where they can even replace almost entire corporate departments full of Advanced Degree and Certification holders.

So for example the CPA is endangered in many companies, but the people doing the data entry at the lowest level still remain, for now. Which makes it challenging in regards to what advice to give those low-wage data entry types. Sure they can get more training in "a marketable skill" but what skill is that?

Accountants are getting pinched by AI now, Lawyers and Legal Assistants are likewise getting hammered by digitization. Even Doctors and Surgeons aren't safe from what's happening now.

Engineers are likewise getting hammered by the computers as CAD and other comparable programs become increasingly capable of doing their work for them. Sure, that's a productivity boost, after a fashion, at least until the software becomes so good that instead of 15 Engineers working on a project, you have 1 guy and a limited AI doing that work.

We're nearing the point where the value of even highly skilled labor from our fellow human beings is going to plummet because there will be far more workers (of every skill/knowledge level) than there are jobs to fill.

The old economic model where those people then move into a different field also is "broken" at this point because as those AI and digital systems become more advanced. They're going to likewise "take over" most of the work in whatever new industry all that surplus labor tries to move into in fairly short order.

The biggest problem is we're at the onset of a transition and the "Easy answer" (that Marx supported) is exactly the wrong answer for the time being(as it stops the transition), and should hopefully forever remain wrong. The real answer is going to be a lot more complex, and probably very messy to implement.

Replies:   Dominions Son
richardshagrin

@Capt. Zapp

To make more money, they have to raise the prices on their product.

If they make more sales at the same profit margin, they may not have to raise prices. Also, some businesses have relatively low labor costs compared to sales and gross margin. Jewelry stores have very high margins and what they pay their workers has relatively little to do with their profit. It is low margin companies like grocery stores and most restaurants that have minimum wage problems. But the current minimum wages have already priced out a lot of potential young workers, teenagers who used to be able to get part time jobs, even delivering newspapers. Of course newspapers have other problems, competition from the internet, for example. There aren't a lot of out-of-work nude dancers, the margins in that business aren't affected by a rise in minimum wages. In some cases the nude dancers pay the house to perform. Their pay comes from tips.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Joe Long

@Grant

Even back in the mid 20th century mechanisation resulted in significant increases in worker productivity. It didn't result in improved financial positions for the majority of the workers.

Bull. The rise of the middle class. A much higher percentage of people are out of poverty and can work a 40 hour week while owning a home and raising a family.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Lawyers and Legal Assistants are likewise getting hammered by digitization.


No, Lawyers and Legal Assistants are mostly getting hammered by oversupply problems.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

If they make more sales at the same profit margin, they may not have to raise prices.


Not possible if labor costs increase.

Replies:   richardshagrin
Dominions Son

@Joe Long

The rise of the middle class. A much higher percentage of people are out of poverty and can work a 40 hour week while owning a home and raising a family.


What's more, even the poorest of the working poor are materially better of than they were even 50 years ago.

They have so many things that they didn't have before, Refrigerators, Air Conditioning, TV, Phones, Cars.

The main reason we haven't made more progress in reducing poverty is that progressives keep moving the goal posts.

Measures of poverty used in the US exclude government transfer payments (welfare).

Their answer to the problem of poverty (transfer payments) is excluded from measures of poverty, so they have created a situation where by definition we can never make any progress on solving the problem.

Replies:   Grant
Grant
Updated:

@Dominions Son

The rise of the middle class. A much higher percentage of people are out of poverty and can work a 40 hour week while owning a home and raising a family.


What's more, even the poorest of the working poor are materially better of than they were even 50 years ago.
They have so many things that they didn't have before, Refrigerators, Air Conditioning, TV, Phones, Cars.

Materially better off, yes. Financially/socially better off, no.

They themselves haven't moved up in society, however many products became cheaper so they could now afford them.
Someone living in the middle class is materially much better off than they were previously. Someone living in poverty is also materially so much better of than they were previously. However the middleclass is closer in level to those in poverty than they used to be, and further from those higher up.
And living in poverty, is still living in poverty.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Grant

Materially better off, yes. Financially


Bull shit! Finances(money) is merely a measure for access to material goods and services. If they are materially better off (more access to material goods and serivces) then they are financially better off by definition.

You are cheating by insisting on using a meaningless relative measure of poverty.

Replies:   docholladay  Grant
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

No, Lawyers and Legal Assistants are mostly getting hammered by oversupply problems.


Services like legalzoom, and digitized computer searchable records both are functioning to reduce the number of "legal professionals" are needed to perform a task. Further, since a lot of the legal code is procedural in nature, in makes it easy to turn it into an algorithm. Sure, you probably still want a human to verify it, but it removes the need for the "professional human" to generate it in the first place.

Replies:   Dominions Son  REP
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Services like legalzoom, and digitized computer searchable records both are functioning to reduce the number of "legal professionals" are needed to perform a task.


True, but but even without those factors, there is a very large oversupply of lawyers.

docholladay

@Dominions Son

I just have to add. That any business is an investment. If the investment stops giving an income the investor will most likely stop investing. Which means small businesses will shut down and any employees they have will automatically for a while go on the unemployment lists. Those lists do not include all the unemployed just the ones collecting unemployment benefits and those have time limits.

No investor will keep putting money into an investment that does not give a return on the investment. That is just common sense the heck with the so-called experts.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@docholladay

Those lists do not include all the unemployed just the ones collecting unemployment benefits and those have time limits.


At least one of those lists is supposed to include people who are not receiving benefits but are actively looking for work.

To get the fullest possible picture of what's happening, you need to look at both the unemployment lists and the national payroll survey ( a government survey of employers on how many people they employ ) together.

However even that is incomplete as the national payroll survey is slow at picking up new businesses, it takes two years for a new business to show up in the survey.

Grant

@Dominions Son

If they are materially better off (more access to material goods and serivces) then they are financially better off by definition.

The amount of disposable income after the essentials are taken care of, and the ability to cope with unexpected expenses shows whether people are financially well off or not.

You are cheating by insisting on using a meaningless relative measure of poverty.

Any measure of poverty, lower, middle or upper class is a relative measure.
Poverty in a developed country is very different from poverty in an undeveloped one.

Replies:   Joe Long  JohnBobMead
Joe Long

@Grant

Any measure of poverty, lower, middle or upper class is a relative measure.


So people have a warm place to live, clothes on their back, food on the table, entertainment, communication, transportation - but because others have more or better they're still poor? You're focused on what people don't have instead of what they do.

I'm not saying people shouldn't strive for more. I want everyone to do the best possible - but I don't believe in some phony equality achieved by limiting achievement.

I don't resent the rich, I want to become rich.

Replies:   Grant
Centaur

@Grant

That hasn't worked either.
Computerisation & mechanisation over the last 40 years has resulted in massive increases in workers productivity, however it hasn't resulted in any improvement in their financial position as any increases in pay they have received have been either on par with, or less than, inflation over that period of time.

Even back in the mid 20th century mechanisation resulted in significant increases in worker productivity. It didn't result in improved financial positions for the majority of the workers.


You don't pay robots

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks

@Centaur

You don't pay robots


No, but you pay the robot repair guy, and the manufacturer, and the guys who operate it. Robots do not mean zero jobs, they mean different jobs (albeit likely fewer) with significantly different skills.

I have a son who is, in effect, a robot service engineer. It pays VERY well.

Replies:   helmut_meukel  Not_a_ID
helmut_meukel
Updated:

@Grant


That hasn't worked either.

Computerisation & mechanisation over the last 40 years has resulted in massive increases in workers productivity, however it hasn't resulted in any improvement in their financial position as any increases in pay they have received have been either on par with, or less than, inflation over that period of time.


Using the term "workers productivity" muddles things.

Often computerisation and nearly always mechanisation comes with high costs for the new installations and high maintanance costs. An increase in pay is only possible after all those costs are payed for and there remains some net value to distribute.

OTOH, optimizing workflow can gain you vast increases in productivity often with low additional costs.

I worked as a consultant and have seen management decisions for new machines and systems to come on par with their competitors in using bleeding edge technology even if it increased their costs per unit.

It's easy to say the workers have to improve their skills, but a few are mentally unable to do so.

Others are unwilling to learn new things.

Increasing minimum wages will make both groups unemployed.

HM.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Ross at Play
Grant

@Joe Long

So people have a warm place to live, clothes on their back, food on the table, entertainment, communication, transportation - but because others have more or better they're still poor?

No, what i'm saying is just because they have a roof over their heads & a TV & mobile phone doesn't make them well off. Especially when having those things might mean that the clothes aren't in the best of condition, nor is the house, or the car (when it's running), and the food isn't regular.

Replies:   Joe Long
richardshagrin
Updated:

@Dominions Son


Not possible if labor costs increase.


Lets examine some hypothetical figures that justify not having to raise prices.

Jewelry store sells 100 watches for $1,000 each (grossing $100,000.) The cost of goods is $25,000 ($250 each.) It pays its staff $50,000 including all costs like workers compensation, employee benefits, social security taxes, etc. The net profit, unless I have left out significant costs like rent, insurance, franchise fees, etc which might be $5,000, is somewhere near $25,000.

If the store can sell 200 watches for $1,000 each, not increasing its prices per watch, it can afford an additional staff member paying her (probably) $15 an hour plus say 50% (of $15 times 2,080 hours which is 52 weeks of 40 hour weeks). So wages are a little over $30,000 and other costs add about $15,000 so we are back at about $50,000 per employee costs. If rents, license fees, other non-payroll costs don't increase (much) for double the sales, profits probably have doubled from the lower sales figure. How does adding another "minimum wage" worker double sales? The business can be open twice as long as when there was one worker, or if they don't extend their hours having someone available to serve potential clients immediately when there are more than one probably will increase sales. Maybe not double, but the $100,000 sales has room for more payroll and still give the owner a reasonable profit for adding a new worker.

helmut_meukel

@Michael Loucks

I have a son who is, in effect, a robot service engineer. It pays VERY well.


Because there are not enough workers with these skills. I don't think this will change over the next 20 years.
To train enough people to do this job properly is a real bitch.
Even the trained specialists need further training to cope with new systems.

HM.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Grant

Ah fuck it.

It's days like today where keeping up with the news just brings me down.
Latest news headline,

Two 8-year-old boys dead after a car crashed into a demountable classroom in Sydney

helmut_meukel

@richardshagrin

Wrong in so many points.
* where does this hypothetical jewelry store gets so many more customers? Don't tell me it's from a competitor!
* a jewelry store with such high priced items employing staff at minimum wages?
* "can be open twice as long"? In most european countries there are shop closing laws and open earlier like 7 AM is possible but selling $1.000-watches at this time?

Your hypothetical figures are fantasy without any relation to the real world.

HM.

Not_a_ID

@Michael Loucks

Robots do not mean zero jobs, they mean different jobs (albeit likely fewer) with significantly different skills.


In order for robots to be a viable option for a business to deploy, there has to be an expectation of (long-term) profitability. Now that could be improved quality control because robots perform repetitive tasks VERY well and consistently. Or it could be because that robot does the work of __ people at a lower cost(over time).

If the robot maintainer + everything needed to keep the robots running costs more than simply having humans do it. Then the humans will be used to do so outside of highly unusual or other extenuating circumstances. (Such as bomb disposal robots, but again, the calculation there is the technicians life is being valued higher than the cost of the robot so the robot "is cheaper" even if it is the most costly thing in their budget)

JohnBobMead
Updated:

@Grant


The amount of disposable income after the essentials are taken care of, and the ability to cope with unexpected expenses shows whether people are financially well off or not.


The ability to cope with unexpected expenses I go along with. That's what would break me.

What people consider an acceptable cost for a service sometimes disturbs me. I recently installed iTunes on my desktop, because it was necessary in order to access something I wanted to see; don't remember what, there was no charge involved, just required the software to handle it.

Since then I've been recieving Apple's ads in my email. Got one last week. I could get $375.00 off the cost of the new iPhone X with an trade-in of my existing smartphone (if it was on their list of acceptable models).

Um? I paid $70.00 for my Android smartphone! Reducing the cost of the iPhone X by $375.00 with a trade-in, what's the base price of the iPhone X and what did you pay for your existing smartphone?

The Week only has digital subscriptions available for iOS. theSkimm has added value materials available via their app, but since 90% of their users use iOS, they don't provide an Android app.

These are both publications clearly aimed at the Left. Equally clearly, not my part of the Left, not any of those I associate with, as none of us have iOS devices, because we can't justify the price when looking at added capabilities over what we consider minimum acceptable functionality for a smartphone.

I only have a smartphone because when Cricket forced me to upgrade my existing cellphone (they were discontinuing support for the communications protocal it used) I saw that a smartphone service contract was just $5.00/month more than a non-smartphone service contract, and that was a small enough difference that I could budget it, given the difference in what I would be able to do.

Clearly, my definition of an acceptable standard of living differs from theirs.

The acceptable standard of living I'm arguing for is the one I practice. I pay less than $100.00/month for groceries, and am well fed; I'm single, don't eat out, have no pets.

My desktop computer was purchased many years ago, at least eleven; it's a Gateway DX4200, it that means anything to anyone. It runs Windows 10 just fine at this time, it came with Windows XP. I do have a laptop, but I shouldn't have purchased it, as I haven't used it for anything.

While I buy quality clothing, years can pass between clothing purchases; the jeans I'm wearing right now are close to 20 years old, Costco's house brand.

I own a 2001 Scion, which replaced a 1987 Stanza wagon.

While I do own a TV, it has a Cathode Ray Tube, and is non-compatable with current broadcast technology. Since upgrading to a non-CRT monitor two years ago I haven't used it for watching DVDs. DVDs, not Blu-Ray.

Not_a_ID

@helmut_meukel

I worked as a consultant and have seen management decisions for new machines and systems to come on par with their competitors in using bleeding edge technology even if it increased their costs per unit.

The current in vogue school of business management is another issue entirely. They have all these metrics they're using to gauge various things, but most of the management team will not have even the foggiest idea what even a quarter of them are. Their hired consultants aren't likely to be much better, in fact as they are likely/often there with agendas of their own, they're more likely to make things worse, not better. But hey, they'll probably have some new performance metrics they can track.

Not_a_ID

@helmut_meukel

Because there are not enough workers with these skills. I don't think this will change over the next 20 years.


Most of those service jobs are easier to train people for than you would think. There just happens to A LOT of screwed up gatekeeping happening in HR departments. Poorly targeted instruction at institutions of higher learning don't help. In particular the cult of Liberal Arts Degrees where critical thinking is an option you can now safely ignore.

Of course, the other issue is everybody has their own special proprietary means of operating their own respective equipment and/or systems. Further compounding this is larger companies then have those same proprietary systems custom tailored for their specific use so they've added additional levels of complexity to an already needlessly complex system.I

They can't find people with experience in ___ because ___ is a niche within a niche within a niche. 50 years ago that wouldn't be a problem, they'd find someone in house and get them trained. These days? Hahaha.

Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

I worked as a consultant and have seen management ... using bleeding edge technology

I suppose it was inevitable that management consultants would eventually think of using robots to disembowel former employees.
I naively hoped they'd stick with merely dismissing them and introducing leading edge technology. :-)

Replies:   helmut_meukel
Ernest Bywater

@Grant

Computerisation & mechanisation over the last 40 years has resulted in massive increases in workers productivity,


Only where they know how to use the computerised systems, and they usually get higher pay rates for those skills.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Ernest Bywater

Computerisation & mechanisation over the last 40 years has resulted in massive increases in workers productivity,


Only where they know how to use the computerised systems, and they usually get higher pay rates for those skills.


Except both the mechanization and the computerization, while it did create "a new technical job" it also eliminated several less technical jobs in the process. Jobs which were probably costing the company more than what replaced them.

So let us say that new Technician replaced 3 lower skilled workers. Those 3 lower skilled workers now need to find employment elsewhere.

This is how the economy has worked for centuries. Labor gets displaced due to innovation. Labor then finds a new field to specialize in and they move on.

Only those former factory workers then decide to learn a new skill, only to have their next employer lay them off after a year because they off-shored the work to India.

They pursue some further training, get another job, and get laid off again 2 years later because their employer has decided their job has been rendered redundant by new software packages they've recently acquired.

Rinse, repeat, continue.

Replies:   Joe Long
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

it can afford an additional staff member paying her


1. When I was talking about increasing labor costs, I wasn't talking about adding additional staff, but increasing the per unit (hour) labor cost across the board. That's an entirely different situation.

2. In the post to which I was replying and saying that it as impossible if labor costs increase, you mentioned profit margin, not raw profit.

Profit margin is profits / gross revenue.

First, rent, insurance, utilities (electricity) are significant costs rent alone could easily exceed $5k and insurance for as jewelry store could be even higher (product is high value and highly portable so theft risk is high). But lets ignore them for now.

For the first example First your calculation is off unless you assume just 1 employee. But lest do that.
'
Gross revenue is 100,000

Cost of goods 25,000
Cost of labor 50,000
Overhead (rent and such) 5,000
Total costs is 80,000

Profit is 20,000 and profit margin is 20%.

Second case with second employee double sales.

Gross Revenue: 200,000
Cost of goods 50,000
Cost of labor 100,000
Overhead costs:

Rent won't increase, However, if the store is open longer then utility costs will increase.

To double sales the store must stock more inventory, which for a jewelry story must be insured, so insurance costs will increase.

It won't double, just from doubling payroll, but lets call it 7K

So total costs of 157,000
Gross profit is 43,000
profit margin is 21.5% A minor increase.

However, things work very different when what changes is not the amount of staff, but the unit cost of labor.

It's going to be much harder to increase sales / unit labor than it is to increase sales by consuming more units of labor.

So lets look at what that would look like if you double the unit cost of labor.

The employee may be feeling good about the increase in pay, so he works harder. Productivity (sales) increase by 25%. Note: I consider a 25% productivity increase to be extremely optimistic.

Gross Revenue: 125,000
Cost of goods: 31,250
Cost of labor: 100,000

?? Hmm we seem to have run into a problem here.

Overhead: 5,000
Total costs 136,250
Net loss 11,250
Profit margin 0.

Not_a_ID

Which isn't to mention the cost of those goods will increase as their "upstream" suppliers will also be likely to have encountered increased costs as well.

Which would be even more true for the grocery store. Crops don't harvest themselves, they also don't transport themselves, or turn themselves into packages of food ready for retail sales. Even the farmer's market would be seeing a price increase from a minimum wage hike.

Joe Long

@Grant

No, what i'm saying is just because they have a roof over their heads & a TV & mobile phone doesn't make them well off. Especially when having those things might mean that the clothes aren't in the best of condition, nor is the house, or the car (when it's running), and the food isn't regular.


Maybe not well off, but still a big improvement than where they would've been (or where their parents were) 50 years before. Their needs are being met. That they desire more is fine and an incentive to improve their skills and bring in more money in order to get those things.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Joe Long

@Not_a_ID

They pursue some further training, get another job, and get laid off again 2 years later because their employer has decided their job has been rendered redundant by new software packages they've recently acquired.


It all comes down to making yourself invaluable.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  sejintenej
Not_a_ID

@Joe Long

Or the matter that in many (urban) areas, a car isn't quite so essential. Of course, many of those areas also tend to have housing affordability issues, which generally have only very tangential relationships with wages in the area. The most direct relation being if a locally offered wage could afford to live there.

Which isn't even really a commentary on the wage itself at that point. But one on how current markets/expectations are structured and the various as well as sundry distortions imposed on said markets by regulations imposed at any/all levels of governance.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Joe Long


It all comes down to making yourself invaluable.


But how is John Q Public supposed to know what that is from the outside?

And what is to stop employers/others from identifying the relevant skill set(s) and either causing a subsequent "flood" of people with your "invaluable" skills, or worse, finding a way to make that skill redundant through more technology?

It is one of those highly annoying things where it makes it difficult to justify throwing down (tens of) thousands of dollars for (months/years of) more training in a field when you cannot count on that field being particularly viable in even 10 years due to improvements in technology causing workforce reductions within that field.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Not_a_ID

workforce reductions within that field

Based on my experience, the older and better paid you get the higher the chance you will be replaced by someone younger, just off training, who works for much less than you do. Employers get merged and taken over by new management and your prior long service and superior training don't mean much to the new bean-counters who can replace you with someone who meets their requirements for your job and will be paid a lot less.

REP

@Joe Long

But I hear people longing for the situation where wages continually rise faster than prices.


Longing is essentially the same as wishing in one hand and shitting in the other.

REP

@Dominions Son

There is NO other answer that will produce sustainable wage increases.


True. And there are limits on increasing productivity, but not pay increases.

REP

@Grant

Computerisation & mechanisation over the last 40 years has resulted in massive increases in workers productivity


Computerisation & mechanisation does increase productivity. However, they also result in the employer not requiring as large of a work force.

The employer may have needed additional people to maintain and operate the machines that resulted in the increased productivity, but there was still a reduction in the number of people the employer needed.

Replies:   awnlee jawking  Not_a_ID
awnlee jawking

@REP

Computerisation & mechanisation does increase productivity.


Ten years ago I could drop off a repeat prescription request by 4pm and it would be ready by 9am the next morning.

The system has now been computerised so it takes three working days for a repeat prescription to be prepared.

All hail the great god Computerisation :(

AJ

Replies:   Grant
REP

@Not_a_ID

Services like legalzoom, and digitized computer searchable records both are functioning to reduce the number of "legal professionals" are needed to perform a task.


Not exactly true. They will help you prepare legal documents, but they don't give legal advice. Ask them a legal question and they tell to go ask a lawyer. They create more problems than most people are aware of and that increases the amount of work lawyers need to do.

I used Legalzoom to prepare a Living Trust. Legalzoom's service focuses on a number of boilerplate documents. They present a series of questions to ascertain your legal needs, and then put the information you provide into one of the boilerplate documents. If your needs don't 'fit' their documents, they put your data in a document and send it to you. They inform you that you need to review the document to ensure it meets your needs.

They did this to me and their filled-in document contained provisions that contradicted my wishes. I made notes about what I wanted changed. When I called them to have them change my document, I was told that they did not have a legal staff that could modify their 'legal' documents to reflect what I wanted. I was told to talk with a lawyer and was recommended to several lawyers, who consult with Legalzoom's customers. I arranged a conference call with the lawyer and provided her with sample text that I wanted incorporated. When I talked with her, she said my wishes were acceptable under current laws and suggested that I start with Legalzoom's document, modify it myself, and proceed.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@REP


Computerisation & mechanisation does increase productivity. However, they also result in the employer not requiring as large of a work force.

The employer may have needed additional people to maintain and operate the machines that resulted in the increased productivity, but there was still a reduction in the number of people the employer needed.


Witness: Rust belt auto factories. After finally(!) getting the unions to let them mechanize and automate, you have facilities turning out comparable volumes to their heyday. But instead of employing 10K+ people for the task, they now have a workforce of roughly 1,500 people. That was a LOT of disappearing payroll for that community. And from both sides of the argument that can follow, I highly doubt the remaining 1,500 workers make anywhere close to 8 times as much(inflation adjusted) money as the people who were there "back when." ...Which of course is why the unions fought against it so hard, it shrank their (dues paying) membership roster considerably.

Replies:   REP  Capt. Zapp
REP

@Not_a_ID

I highly doubt the remaining 1,500 workers make anywhere close to 8 times as much(inflation adjusted) money


Productivity of the workers is measured in the number of units they produce per unit of time, not the money the manufacturer makes on selling those units.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
sejintenej

@Joe Long

Not_a_ID

They pursue some further training, get another job, and get laid off again 2 years later because their employer has decided their job has been rendered redundant by new software packages they've recently acquired.

It all comes down to making yourself invaluable.

In theory, yes. In practice not necessarily.

Going back a long way my office used SuperCalc and I wrote all the macros including some facilities Computer Associates didn't know about.

Then Microsoft launched Excel; my bosses were not prepared to spend money on training - only putting the programs on all out PCs and telling us to use it.

My abilities were completely redundant (except that my wife's firm had trialed the beta version and we had legal copies of every Office program on our home PCs.) If it hadn't been for a large US company I would have been redundant (for that job - I had several others)

Replies:   Joe Long
Not_a_ID

@REP

Productivity of the workers is measured in the number of units they produce per unit of time, not the money the manufacturer makes on selling those units.


Well, in that case volume was unchanged, but workforce was reduced to less than 1/8th of its previous size. That would imply productivity increased by a multiple of 8. So if pay was indexed to productivity, they should have seen an 8x increase in pay.

Of course, the reality on this in regards to productivity gains is that the employer doesn't necessarily pocket the difference. They use that extra margin to absorb increased costs in other areas(to keep the price constant), or to, shocking concept as it may be, to lower their asking price on their product in order to better compete in the market.

Joe Long

@sejintenej

My abilities were completely redundant


That means you were no longer invaluable. You'd been replaced.

The employee is selling his labor - units of time that are valued by their quality. If the employer can find the same quality for less they'll go for it. It's up to us to develop our skills and try to be in the right place. I know it's not easy. However, I believe you have to think of having a job as selling your labor, which means that someone needs to want your labor. It's your responsibility to anticipate which skills will be in demand and put in the effort to develop your skills to the highest possible level.

Capt. Zapp

@Not_a_ID

I highly doubt the remaining 1,500 workers make anywhere close to 8 times as much(inflation adjusted) money as the people who were there "back when."


I worked in a UAW plant making $28.50/hr + full benefits back in the late 90s. After I had been there 7 years, a cut in production eliminated 1500 positions just in the plant I worked in. Add in he 800 jobs lost at all the support companies (tire, seat, glass, electronic components) and we had 2000+ people looking for work. Needless to say, jobs became scarce unless you were willing to go to work for minimum wage. After making $28.50/hr, only making $7.50/hr sucked. I got lucky and found a job making $12.50/hr.

Grant

@awnlee jawking

Ten years ago I could drop off a repeat prescription request by 4pm and it would be ready by 9am the next morning.

The system has now been computerised so it takes three working days for a repeat prescription to be prepared.

?
Here you can wait for it, or come back 10-15min later (for most prescriptions). For more unusual requirements if you drop it off in the morning it'll generally be ready after lunch.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Grant

You're not in the UK, I assume :(

AJ

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@awnlee jawking

You're not in the UK, I assume :(

Australia.

Joe Long

Yesterday my wife had a 10 am regularly scheduled appointment for an EKG. Her cardiologist didn't like the results, so sent her across the street to the hospital for a catheterization. That looked good, but he was still worried so she had a CT scan just to make sure there was nothing in there. We were home by 8 pm.

helmut_meukel

@Ross at Play

introducing leading edge technology. :-)

I deliberately used "bleeding edge". Many customers of leading edge technology are unaware they are used as beta-testers and using it will probably cost them dearly.

HM.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Ross at Play
Not_a_ID

@helmut_meukel

I deliberately used "bleeding edge". Many customers of leading edge technology are unaware they are used as beta-testers and using it will probably cost them dearly.

^^^ This, that is why it is normally called exactly that. Those who choose to operate in that realm need to be prepared to pay through the nose and have occasion to regret their last purchase.

richardshagrin

@Joe Long

develop your skills to the highest possible level.

That does not guarantee continued employment with your current employer. If you increase your compensation to reflect your higher skills, the next management of the company may decide to replace you with a lower paid employee who may lack some of your advanced skills but is "good enough" for your job description. Its like the laws of thermodynamics, You can't win, you can't break even, and you can't get out of the game.

Replies:   Joe Long
Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

I deliberately used "bleeding edge".

Sorry. I should have searched if it did have a meaning before making my post. The vision of what it might mean amused me, but bleeding the purchaser dry makes sense.

Joe Long

@richardshagrin

That does not guarantee continued employment with your current employer


Nothing's guaranteed. It's just trying to increase your chances.

I developed a software system that's making the company lot's of money. I'm handling 5% of the revenue of the largest company in our industry in North America. At first only I could operate it. I needed help, so it became more user friendly. One still has to have a head for computers, and that rules out many. However, eventually I may make it easy enough that they don't need me to operate it.

Meanwhile, I'm using those same skills to build a consulting business from home. At first I started in unserved areas, finding a niche with little or no competition. Once I established my bona fides and had a stable of customers, I expanded my product line which put me in direct competition with an established consultant. I'm offering at half his price, and have already garnered 13% of available clients in less than a year.

There may come a day when I'll be crowded out of my home business, but in the mean time I may be able to tell my day job goodbye before they decide to replace me.

Replies:   sejintenej
richardshagrin

Back-up plans are good. Especially if they work.

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@richardshagrin

Back-up plans are good. Especially if they work.


Thing is, if I get down to one job (which doesn't require me to log 8 hours every day) I'll have time to do some serious studying, such as enrolling in online courses.

sejintenej

@Joe Long

My abilities were completely redundant

That means you were no longer invaluable. You'd been replaced.

Not quite. I was not replaced; staff were ordered to use Excel but there was nobody to tell them how to use it or to write the multitude of macros they had relied on until then.

de facto that had been a small sideline to the many other functions I had. I got a manual and spent many nights at home and several very very long flights immersed in that so when I got back I could help.

sejintenej

@Joe Long

There may come a day when I'll be crowded out of my home business, but in the mean time I may be able to tell my day job goodbye before they decide to replace me.

Try to do a "3M". They reckon on any product having a three year life before competition takes over. Therefore they are constantly developing new products and give staff time off in the office / factory to "dream"
It's called contingency planning

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