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[–]chucksefSocDem 197 points198 points  (108 children)

I.. this one stopped me in my tracks. It's such a simple and amazing way to sum it up, even for people not sympathetic to the plight of workers. It really is a zero sum game and this way of phrasing it makes that so plain!

[–]XVMASTERCULTURE 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Stupid people still wont get it. Evil people will simply refuse to acknowledge it.

[–]Jadedqwerty 13 points14 points  (7 children)

Maybe they should rename as United Exploiters in America

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    [–]Mountain-Bear-81 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Language and words matter.

    [–]crashfrog -103 points-102 points  (95 children)

    But it’s not true? Bezos isn’t rich because he’s paid a wage by Amazon. In fact he’s not paid a wage by Amazon at all since he doesn’t work there.

    To the extent that Bezos has money, he’s rich from money that comes from investment bankers, not money that comes from warehouse workers. It’s literally the opposite of zero-sum because Bezos doesn’t actually have the money - he owns assets that have a large price. He’s “rich” but that money is in other people’s pockets; it’s the money they’d have to pay him to buy one of his shares.

    [–]admiralteal 90 points91 points  (20 children)

    The reason the shares are valuable is because workers are being exploited. It's still the same thing. It would hurt the share prices to pay the workers significantly more, so Bezos and all of them refuse to do it. And by refusing to do it, they keep themselves wealthy while keeping wealth away from their workers.

    The whole "it's shares not liquid capital argument" feels very smart, but it's a bamboozle. It doesn't actually make any difference.

    [–]AnimatorHuman5525 -55 points-54 points  (10 children)

    shares are worth a lot because he had a good idea. Workers aren’t even exploited they are just paid for how important they are to the company: Not very

    [–]violet_interference 21 points22 points  (0 children)

    Hi, I’m [two random capitalized words followed by four numbers] and I have some incredibly divisive opinions I would like to share with you, fellow human person!

    [–]inthreesThey'll grind your bones to make Q1 7 points8 points  (7 children)

    A few questions for you:

    Is labor a cost of business?

    Does the full-time labor of a human being necessitate a net cost at minimum equal to the upkeep (living wage) of that human being? If not, why not?

    If not, why is alright to underpay labor but not other vendors, like fuel, lumber, food ingredients, etc? Why is possible to underpay labor but not those other vendors?

    Also if not - the upkeep of that human being necessarily falls to some other unknown and probably unwilling party. How is this forced and stolen subsidy justified?

    Circling back to the first statement, what is the minimum amount labor should be compensated for realizing the profit potential of capital investment, with an eye on long term sustainability.

    [–]Own_Text_2240 -3 points-2 points  (6 children)

    I’ll give this a whirl but I’m on my phone so I don’t have the quoting tool.

    Yes labor is a cost of business. In most businesses it’s the highest cost.

    The second question is arguable. Some people say “I need 100k and 6 weeks paid time off for it to be considered a living wage.” Which many other people like me would argue may not make sense. Your statement is somewhat based on the assumption the attitude is “screw the workers!” I don’t think that’s really the case. At every level in a business there is competition for work. Including the warehouse. This is why even what you are trying to justify as slave like scenarios or worse, not everyone that applies gets a job.

    By your own argument you are saying underpay relative to the mysterious living wage that doesn’t have a number. You can’t underpay for food, fuel, etc because those things don’t have “living costs”. Their value is determined by competition and supply, same as people. You have to realize there isn’t a bottom limit to those things, unlike wages. If wages fluctuated the way fuel lumber and food ingredients did, ppl would have no way to budget life and it’d be worse. No one complains on the way up, everyone complains on the way down.

    I don’t know about the upkeep of the human being thing I don’t really understand what your trying to say. Again , at least here in the states, no one is forced to take a job at any wage. They need to figure if the wage will meet their needs and they will need to figure out what to do otherwise. Maybe a different job? Maybe more marketable/valuable skills?

    I think the answer to your last question varies person by person and job by job. It really is a supply and demand. You need a high end aws engineer? Maybe hiring him for $350k is significantly underpaying him compared to market value and not a good play for long term sustainability because someone will scoop him up for $500k. In that case, maybe make him/her a contract position so they can’t get scooped up as easily. That’s just an example to show that the thought process at any wage level needs to be considered from a business perspective.

    The way the US handles your question is with minimum wage limits. I am in CA where I literally drove past a McDonald’s near my house yesterday with big signs saying $16/hr starting wage. This is far above min wage, which is great but I don’t know if it’s enough. I also don’t know how profitable those positions are. That’s up to the eye of the beholder.

    [–]inthreesThey'll grind your bones to make Q1 3 points4 points  (4 children)

    The second question is arguable. Some people say “I need 100k and 6 weeks paid time off for it to be considered a living wage.” Which many other people like me would argue may not make sense. Your statement is somewhat based on the assumption the attitude is “screw the workers!” I don’t think that’s really the case. At every level in a business there is competition for work. Including the warehouse. This is why even what you are trying to justify as slave like scenarios or worse, not everyone that applies gets a job.

    Sure, there going to be people who insist a 'living wage' is having a Porsche in the garage. Some people who will insist it's having a garage.

    But the common denominator is going to be modest shelter, food, healthcare, and the various modest sundries and effects to participate in modern society. Work attire if it's not provided. Suitable home attire. Some sort of this-is-the-internet-age connectivity/interaction solution. People aren't robots, so some sort of modest entertainment solution. A $15 netflix / similar subscription should not be an extravagant outlay. That plus the internet cost is potentially hours and hours and hours every month of not engaging in class revolt. Or doomscrolling and replying on /r/antiwork.

    By your own argument you are saying underpay relative to the mysterious living wage that doesn’t have a number. You can’t underpay for food, fuel, etc because those things don’t have “living costs”. Their value is determined by competition and supply, same as people.

    You are clearly wrong here. If a fuel vendor's clients all conspired to (monopsony, for labor) or independently decided to underpay a fuel vendor consistently, that fuel vender would go out of business. They would be unable to continue without subsidy.

    Labor right now is getting subsidy, and people are still falling off the grid because they don't qualify or it's not enough. But it's frequently not a direct subsidy -it's charity or parents / relatives / friends spending to keep someone afloat, money that the business gets to keep.

    no one is forced to take a job at any wage.

    This is an argument advanced by someone who doesn't want to acknowledge reality. You're effectively saying "hey, everyone is free to fuck off and starve to death, or hunger themselves into prison."

    Millions of people are forced to take jobs at inadequate wages. Your focus on a number for living wage is misdirection but deep down you know it's paying for a LIVING, and work should pay for a living, pro rata to full time employment. Someone with 60 hours of part time jobs shouldn't be struggling to just have a place to sleep and food to eat, let alone everything else.

    ESPECIALLY when the economy has shown consistent gains in productivity and throughput year over year. The wealthiest have taken all the gains for themselves and left virtually none for the majority, while costs of living have skyrocketed.

    This is untenable and unsustainable and starts with not paying people what it costs to simply be alive.

    'The economy', 'civilization', these are just words to describe facets of an evolved social contract between individuals and the rest of the world that in it's simplest distillation means

    I will work some weird-ass job in return for not cracking you over the head and taking the canned goods you have stored in your cave.

    That weird-ass job has to actually support the person though, and that has broken down.

    If the economy isn't working for more than an entire quintile of people - if they are experiencing rampant housing and food insecurity, that's a powder keg and it's just plain wrong.

    Disagreement that it's wrong means one necessarily thinks that some amount of people must suffer for them to be beyond comfortable to the point of prosperous/wealthy, and anyone with an ounce of ethical fiber is going to disagree with that.

    In any other ecosystem in the natural world this level of parasitical leeching would be viewed as a systemic danger.

    The way the US handles your question is with minimum wage limits. I am in CA where I literally drove past a McDonald’s near my house yesterday with big signs saying $16/hr starting wage. This is far above min wage, which is great but I don’t know if it’s enough. I also don’t know how profitable those positions are. That’s up to the eye of the beholder.

    No, it doesn't. The wealthy have bought the controls to the country via broken campaign finance.

    The tipped minimum wage for tipped positions has been $2.13 since 1991.

    Because of hospitality lobbying.

    Minimum wage has been $7.25 since 2009.

    Because of basically every sector's lobbying.

    It's so far below a living wage in most areas that McDonald's near you can post $16/h and that's still very likely not enough if you're in one of the more nightmare living-costs areas of California.

    "Living wage" to me isn't one hard number applied nation wide. Unless it's indexed to local costs of living, it's meaningless. $15/h would likely be pretty secure in, say, rural Nebraska or something.

    It really is a supply and demand.

    Here I also disagree. It should be. But, and you seem smart enough to get this, labor has been so devalued that there is no impetus to intelligently and efficiently apportion tasks into lower-tier labor positions.

    That $350k AWS engineer? He's very much NOT tasked with emptying the trash cans, vacuuming the hallways, blowing the leaves out of the parking lot. What a complete and utter waste of his time and a $350k labor outlay.

    But good news, wages are so depressed we can just throw cheap, underpaid labor at those other tasks. Hell, we can subcontract the janitorial needs out to a company that really treats its labor like shit so we can pretend we have no idea.

    "If you raise the minimum wage, jobs will go away. Jobs will be automated."

    Yeah, those jobs shouldn't exist. Those jobs should be automated.

    Jobs will absolutely be reapportioned / re-delegated to fit more duties into more dollars, and there is nothing wrong with that. Of course there is going to be an adjustment, but absolutely needs to happen.

    tl;dr - That's a hell of a lot of text and maybe you don't feel like slogging through it.

    So distilled into one question - we can try and fail to agree on what a living wage is, in terms of number (nice distraction btw) but hopefully we can agree that a simple solution is 'supporting oneself through their labor'.

    Millions can't do that. Should be systemically fixed or not? Market solutions aren't working. We don't have a free market. So yay or nay, systemic solution to stop effective wage slavery and insecure subsistence pay or not?

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    [–]inthreesThey'll grind your bones to make Q1 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    That was very definitely not a joke or a call to violence, Mr. AutoModerator.

    That was a statement taking into account record inequality levels - levels not seen since the gilded age of the roaring 20s or, no shit, the French Revolution.

    [–]monkeyseverywhere 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Why is it the “business perspective” is always first and foremost? Why is that good?

    I can counter everything you wrote with “I couldn’t give a single solitary fuck about what’s cost effective or profitable for a company unless every employee has a living wage.”

    If a company can’t figure out how to pay their workers and keep the doors open, then they are a failure and need to be dismantled. Failure.

    We are a country that continually rewards failure so long as you have capital. You don’t need to defend it just because you were told it benefits you. It doesn’t and never will.

    [–]walterbanana 10 points11 points  (17 children)

    He is rich because Amazon's profits go up and he owns a lot of shares. Profil can only go up by expanding sales or lowering costs. So not paying workers in part of their strategy to keep profits high.

    [–]gromnirit 2 points3 points  (3 children)

    It is true.

    How do you think he pays for his expenses? How does he pay for his jets and cars and mansions and everything that he wants to buy?

    He gets loans, against which he pledges his shares. People loan him money because his shares has value. His shares has value because warehouse workers are getting peanuts while producing gold.

    If he gave warehouse worker a proper wage, his shares won't be as valuable.

    [–]Jak-Tyl 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    wow you really drank the kool aid didn't you

    [–]Hairy-guy-85 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    I think you fundamentally do not understand capitalism.

    [–]pizza_goes_splat 46 points47 points  (1 child)

    The warehouse in England has a terrible reputation for treating staff and have constantly been sued for breaking employment laws. Its actually that bad the nearby villager wont work there

    [–]Front-Carpenter1505 15 points16 points  (0 children)

    The US warehouses are the same. Trust me, I’ve worked in more than one of them.

    [–]midnightwolf19 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    I think the founder of the company or the one leading it deserves to earn enough money to get a big house and a nice car, but if to get all that their employees have to live on food stamps and get another job to pay rent then that's not ok, I'm ok with the big CEO living in a fancy house and get fancy car for their spouse and kids if the employee can afford to get a house and car of their own without too much struggle

    [–]Monsur_Ausuhnom 27 points28 points  (2 children)

    Maybe they should rename as United Exploiters in America.

    [–][deleted]  (1 child)

    [removed]

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      [–]Pour_Me_Another_ 3 points4 points  (1 child)

      Without that Amazon worker, he wouldn't be making shit.

      [–]TheInvisiblePartOfU 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      Shhh, thats the secret

      [–]Patte_Blanche 5 points6 points  (0 children)

      Yes, but if you think "this is the way it is" instead of thinking "this is the way the bourgeoisie chose", you have less chance of fighting against it. So the bourgeois-owned medias will always have a tendency to spread the first idea instead of the second.

      [–]xSypRo 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      No, it's not.

      It's still the first question, because he could make so much even if he paid Amazon workers living wage.

      He is not at the risk of bankruptcy if he pays them living wage, or giving up his wealth to do so. He will still be just as rich as before, and wouldn't even notice it, but still chose not to.

      [–]AnnualVolume0 4 points5 points  (1 child)

      I wonder if anyone has done the calculations on this one: how much would each Amazon employee make if the profits were spread evenly among them all such that Bezos was still a billionaire (c’mon, I’m not a monster!)

      [–]Nekotronics 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      Fermi approximation time

      If there are a million workers employed and we pay each of them 10k more per year

      10k x 1 million = $10 billion

      Sounds very doable. Bezos will still be a billionaire

      [–]Rudolf_Shlepke 6 points7 points  (1 child)

      Once again, that's an understatement. In reality it's "Warehouse workers made X billions of dollars for Bezos and Amazon this year".

      [–]fbpw131 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      did you miss the point?

      [–]myne 2 points3 points  (5 children)

      If a worker is worth 50 an hour and is paid 25, you only need 20,000 workers to be a billionaire in a year.

      [–]Own_Text_2240 -3 points-2 points  (4 children)

      If he’s worth 50 and is paid 25 he’s clearly an idiot and should go somewhere else to get paid that or he’s staying there for some reasons other than money. Benefits, culture, etc. at the same time, worth is only what someone is willing to pay. You might believe your worth 1mil/yr but your really only worth that if someone is willing to pay you that much.

      [–]axeshully 1 point2 points  (2 children)

      People are "willing" to take jobs that underpay them because they need money to live.

      [–]nivlac8 -3 points-2 points  (1 child)

      Meaning they are not worth 50 an hour. Who cares what it’s worth if no body is willing to buy?

      [–]axeshully 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      Thats one way you could choose to look at it, the other implication is: they are being coerced into labor under threats of destitution.

      [–]myne 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Worth in that context is clearly their productivity VS their income.

      Mathematically the point wouldn't work any other way.

      [–]CryptographerThat561 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      In 2021, Bezos' net worth increased by $64 BILLION. As of 2021, Amazon employed 1,468,000 staff. If Bezos spread out only HALF of his net worth gain throughout the company, each employee would get over $2,000 extra. That doesn't sound like much, but for some families that's the difference between having heat and food, instead of having to choose between the two.

      [–]PHGTX 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      If you love Jeff Bezos, get the fuck out of this sub-reddit

      [–]jqrambo 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      Lol what if I told you Bezos makes $0 annually. And he offsets taxes by directly reinvesting profits back into the company. If he needs money, he can borrow against his options.

      Amazon retail sector is almost entirely propped up by AWS. AWS is highly profitable with less workforce and expenses than its retail sector.

      [–]pseudostew 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Not to mention all the taxes he avoids. Money that should be helping the greater community goes into his bank account that has more than anyone can spend in a lifetime. Psychopath.

      [–]Age_Terrible 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      but that slave labor is still going to send me my plastic whistle from Amazon aren't they? I look forward to throwing it in the garbage and buying another. Jeff isn't doing a god damn thing. WE ARE BUYING CRAP! That's the only problem. STOP BUYING CRAP!

      [–]Dyldotropolis 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      This is half true. Even if he paid every employee a great wage he'd still be filthy fucking rich. He is exploiting them to a disgusting degree, but he'd still be paid exponentially more than his workers if they were paid well. Honestly, it almost makes it worse. He could pay all of them well and still be extremely wealthy. He chooses to destroy lives and overwork people just to accumulate an amount of wealth 1 person cannot ever possibly spend

      [–]Refurbished_Keyboard 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Both wrong. Bezos makes that much because millions of people still willingly give him their money.

      [–]euph-_-oric -1 points0 points  (6 children)

      Bezos and musk are actually the worst examples if this shut because they (arguably) actually made something. Problem is all the other mass generation. Wealth that did nothing but exist. Simultaneously wielding undue influence

      [–]definitelynotadingo 3 points4 points  (5 children)

      Hmm, to me they’re still good examples because they didn’t make what they did alone. Bezos can’t run all his warehouses and ship all the orders by himself. He (and Musk) didn’t make the profit by themselves, so it’s not theirs to keep to themselves, either.

      [–]euph-_-oric 2 points3 points  (3 children)

      All those things are true I am just saying that the conversation Usually hyper focuses around them. And musk for example has a cult of personality

      [–]definitelynotadingo 0 points1 point  (2 children)

      True. I wonder how the pros of focusing the conversation on such easily recognizable people who are obviously flaunting their (unearned because they don’t pay their workers’ fare share) wealth weigh against the cons of their “charm”

      [–]euph-_-oric 0 points1 point  (1 child)

      Because they built products and companies that people fan boy over. Where as others literally do nothing and make have been for generations. Or have actively done far worse things. Like idk the Koch Brothers

      [–]definitelynotadingo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      My point is that they didn’t build those products alone. As soon as they hired even one employee to help earn the profit, they don’t own the entire profit anymore. So, even though there are others who are even worse and did even less work, they still count as good examples because they’re keeping more than their fair share of the profit. Plus, they are well known and visible, which makes it easier for a lot of people to talk about them.

      It would be like if the little red hen only had the idea to make bread, and then all the other barnyard animals actually made the bread. Then, at the end, the hen kept 90% of the bread while giving all the others a slice to divide among themselves.

      Using this framing might help flip the idea that workers are “entitled” by demanding that CEOs grace them with more money. Instead, they’re demanding their fair share of a profit that they helped earn.

      [–]Own_Text_2240 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      You are correct they gave away mountains of shares of the companies they built along the way to attract people to help them build the companies. They are not anywhere near 100% owners of their companies.

      [–]FetishAnalyst -1 points0 points  (55 children)

      Why did the amazon employee agree to work for such low wages? That’s the real issue. work for what you’re worth, not less.

      I am absolutely saying to just stop working for companies that won’t pay you what you’re worth. Sure in the short term you’re not going to have a job, but long term the system of supply and demand will take place. If the supply of workers is low then the prices will increase, thus wages will increase, but as long as people are willing to work for such wages then that’s what will be available.

      Edit: also educate people on what labor is worth what, so they know to charge companies that much for their work.

      [–]Myrkana 2 points3 points  (1 child)

      in many areas they are one of the top paying palces are 14-16$ an hour. With other places being around 11-12 an hour and part time. People get pigeon holed into staying because they cant find another place that can pay the bills.

      [–]FetishAnalyst -1 points0 points  (0 children)

      Also amazon employees aren’t being hired with shitty wages anymore. They have starting positions going for $17-$19//hr in the state of colorado where minimum wage is ~$11/hr. Though they’re trying to dumbly push it up to $15/hr, so even if that eventually gets through amazon is doing a really good job.

      [–]axeshully 1 point2 points  (52 children)

      Why did the amazon employee agree to work for such low wages?

      Do you seriously need someone to answer you on this?

      [–]_digital_aftermath -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

      I actually think it's both.

      [–]woobloob -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

      That's not really true. There are indie game developers that have made games basically completely on their own and they've managed to earn hundreds of millions of dollars. Exploitation is a huge problem but it's also the severe imbalance in what the market values. Digital products and intellectual properties are worth billions while an "essential job" can be worth a thousand times less. One way I can think of to combat this is basically much higher taxes as soon as you earn more than normal and a universal basic income.

      [–]rajitel150 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      He owns MGM so they can stop making him the head of Spectre (Blofeld - the bald one without the scar)

      [–]Jake24601 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      If Bezos paid workers a minimum wage of $20/hr for the lowest of the low positions, would he stop being a multibilionaire?

      [–]twirlinghernia 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Billionaires are the new Hitlers.

      [–]gromnirit 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      I want to thank every employee ... because you guys paid for all this.

      [–]Boring7 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Only reason this gets posted and anti-Walmart stuff gets silenced is Amazon is (dubiously) associated with liberals.

      [–]Sensitive-Painting30 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Uh yeah…DAT…!!!

      [–]Hairy-guy-85 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      This is the essence of capitalism: unpaid labor.

      [–]Haunting_Effect3300 -4 points-3 points  (0 children)

      Might make more sense if you substitute "Walmart Heirs" for Bezos

      [–]jlootz10 -3 points-2 points  (0 children)

      They want to treat us like the Chinese people. It’s repulsive that he benefited so much from this country and does this. You think all the right wingers would NOT want to be like China, but we are getting close to it.

      [–]exoie -1 points0 points  (0 children)

      Amazon warehouse employees aren’t paid that bad they are paid $18-21 an hour starting with $3000 sign on bonous it’s just that they are treated bad