Reflections on a Just Wage

Catholic Social Ethics

A week ago Monday, in the United States and Canada, we celebrated Labor Day, a holiday established to remind us of “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations.” Before we are too far past the holiday, I wanted to respond to a post by the blogger Morning’s Minion at the Vox Nova blog on the living wage, or just wage, and its role in Catholic social teaching. My point is not so much to dispute his conclusions but to complement them with some further reflections on the just wage.

One thought on “Reflections on a Just Wage

  1. I’d like to stick to the subject of wages and not try to chew on management and ownership of business. You first address wages thus, ” we should consider efforts to link the legally-mandated minimum wage to a wage sufficient to meet basic human needs…”
    I want to point out that we get ourselves into a rhetorical pickle when we use that phrase ‘living wage’ because it means (here in the United States) a specific dollar amount per hour whether it’s a minimum wage or a theoretical ‘living wage.’ It is not the dollar amount that should be looked at but what constitutes basic human needs, such as food, housing, health and education, but more, from the roots in the Old Testament and the practice wages should also be sufficient so that the laborer can also put aside some savings so that they can purchase property or start a business. It is the creation of equity and what that enables a worker to do for family and community without that ability to save and create that ‘nest egg’. I’m sorry I can’t bring up the scriptural citation, If I find it I’ll re-post.

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