March 25, 2012
A Developing Nation

America continues to soil itself. Ho, hum.

So what is the best anti-poverty program? Higher wages for the jobs that are out there, currently yielding impossibly low annual incomes. The current American minimum wage ranges between $7.25 and $8.67 per hour. From time to time senior executives of Wal-Mart call for a rise in the minimum wage since, in the words of one former CEO, Lee Scott, “our customers simply don’t have the money to buy basic necessities between pay checks.” The minimum wage in Ontario, Canada, is currently well over $10 per hour, while in France it now stands at nearly $13. Australia recently raised its minimum wage to over $16 per hour, and nonetheless has an unemployment rate of just 5 percent.

Posted by Jerome Doolittle at March 25, 2012 08:15 PM
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But all those other countries listed are civilized nations. Perhaps some day, with hard work, we can aspire to their level of development.

Posted by: montag on March 25, 2012 10:58 PM

My theory is we're karmically doomed (or purgatorially, depending on your theology) to a period of what used to be called "Third World" status until we get over our claims of exceptionalism and admit that we have colonies, corruption, bribery, political prisoners, secret police, torture, a history of forced population transfers, a history of peonage extending to well within living memory, continuing instances of de facto slavery, a class system, prostitution, an officially tolerated/regulated recreational-drug economy, shantytowns, beggars, street vendors, street-sleepers, garbage-pickers, peasants, hunger, and other concomitants of imperial societies.

Then we'll be able to get on with becoming civilized.

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on March 26, 2012 12:40 AM
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