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Actually, minimum wage preserves self-ownership

Letter to the Editor | Friday, January 19, 2007

If all basic needs were provided for in our society, I might see Mark Poyar’s point (“The other side of the coin,” Jan. 17). I support the idea that an affluent 17-year-old should be able to bargain for a job contract of any price. After all, he can choose not to enter into a job contract at all. Many workers do not have this choice; they must accept some job contract, or perish on the streets. Without minimum wage laws, it is possible or even likely the best offers a base-laborer could find would be insufficient to meet his or her basic needs. But this person would have no choice but to enter into the contract, no matter what this meant (18-hour work days, living in the factory, etc.) Poyar says that a belief in self-ownership and minimum wage laws are incompatible; I disagree. The minimum wage ensures that the contract a person can find will meet at least some degree of basic sufficiency. In most cases, the minimum wage works to prevent workers from being stripped of self-ownership

Scott Feister


St. Edward’s Hall

Jan. 17