If the latest (and miniscule) minimum wage increase for domestic workers affects you personally you’re either a) a domestic worker who should really start looking for another employer, or b) an arsehole.
Wait, let me clarify that. I don’t mean an arsehole as in someone who thoughtlessly cuts you off in traffic, or someone who stands in front of the ATM staring at their receipt while the queue piles up behind them (although there’s a special place in Hell reserved for these deviants). I mean a total douche-nozzle borderline sociopath with entitlement issues that would make Paris Hilton look like a Carmelite Nun. In short, a truly rotten person who should in no way be responsible for anyone’s well-being.
This is because the first thing any sentient, relatively civilised homo sapiens should notice when looking at the new figures is that they are shockingly low. Seriously, do employers actually need a law to tell them that paying someone under R10 an hour to clean up their shit is bad karma? Apparently, some do. We can whinge all we want against this and similar government regulations, but it looks like we’re stuck with them for as long as arseholes walk among us.
And every time the minimum wage topic comes up, so does this classic counter-argument: “It’s better than being unemployed! What would you rather have, a terrible salary or nothing at all?”
Philosophers would call this a complex question fallacy; others might call it disingenuous; and I would call it being a jerk, like a monotheistic god wittering on about free will, when it really boils down to only two extreme choices, although the real world is obviously a lot more… well, complex.
The argument implies that with the increased minimum wage, employers will start firing domestic workers like a frenzied mob of Donald Trumps, unemployment will rise and blah blah the economy yadda yadda.
Take, for example, my private butler, George. Poor guy. Because I earn a mere writer’s wage, I’ve never been in a position to actually employ George. The same goes for my masseuse, Vicky, and the dozens, if not hundreds of private lap dancers I never hired. They’re probably all starving under a bridge somewhere.
You see, I’m in no position to complain about my staff’s unemployment when I’m in no position to hire staff in the first place. If I can’t afford a daily maid, I don’t hire one. Instead I employ someone who comes in once a month and I pay her a proper wage. The rest of the time I clean my own crap. What I DON’T do is try to hire a desperate, disadvantaged person to work for a pittance simply because I live in a country with a poverty surplus, and then pretend to care about unemployment when the government tries to stop me from practically owning a slave. I’ve got this thing about wanting to sleep at night.
I hope we all do.
Follow Chris on Twitter