Wage

A wage is monetary compensation (or remuneration, personnel expenses, labor) paid by an employer to an employee in exchange for work done. Payment may be calculated as a fixed amount for each task completed (a task wage or piece rate), or at an hourly or daily rate (wage labour), or based on an easily measured quantity of work done.

Wages are part of the expenses that are involved in running a business.

Payment by wage contrasts with salaried work, in which the employer pays an arranged amount at steady intervals (such as a week or month) regardless of hours worked, with commission which conditions pay on individual performance, and with compensation based on the performance of the company as a whole. Waged employees may also receive tips or gratuity paid directly by clients and employee benefits which are non-monetary forms of compensation. Since wage labour is the predominant form of work, the term "wage" sometimes refers to all forms (or all monetary forms) of employee compensation.

Origins and necessary components

Wage labour involves the exchange of money for time spent at work (the latter quantity is termed labor power by Marx and subsequent economists). As Moses I. Finley lays out the issue in The Ancient Economy:

The very idea of wage-labour requires two difficult conceptual steps. First it requires the abstraction of a man's labour from both his person and the product of his work. When one purchases an object from an independent craftsman ... one has not bought his labour but the object, which he had produced in his own time and under his own conditions of work. But when one hires labour, one purchases an abstraction, labour-power, which the purchaser then uses at a time and under conditions which he, the purchaser, not the "owner" of the labour-power, determines (and for which he normally pays after he has consumed it). Second, the wage labour system requires the establishment of a method of measuring the labour one has purchased, for purposes of payment, commonly by introducing a second abstraction, namely labour-time.[1]

The wage is the monetary measure corresponding to the standard units of working time (or to a standard amount of accomplished work, defined as a piece rate). The earliest such unit of time, still frequently used, is the day of work. The invention of clocks coincided with the elaborating of subdivisions of time for work, of which the hour became the most common, underlying the concept of an hourly wage.[2][3]

Wages were paid in the Middle Kingdom of ancient Egypt,[4] ancient Greece,[5] and ancient Rome.[5]

Determinants of wage rates

Depending on the structure and traditions of different economies around the world, wage rates will be influenced by market forces (supply and demand), legislation, and tradition. Market forces are perhaps more dominant in the United States, while tradition, social structure and seniority, perhaps play a greater role in Japan.[6]

Wage differences

Even in countries where market forces primarily set wage rates, studies show that there are still differences in remuneration for work based on sex and race. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007 women of all races made approximately 80% of the median wage of their male counterparts. This is likely due to the supply and demand for women in the market because of family obligations.[7] Similarly, white men made about 84% the wage of Asian men, and black men 64%.[8] These are overall averages and are not adjusted for the type, amount, and quality of work done.

Wages in the United States

US Real Wages 1964-2004
Historical graph of real wages in the US from 1964 to 2005.
Real GDP, Real Wages and Trade Policies in the U.S. (1947– 2014)
Real GDP, Real Wages and Trade Policy in the U.S. (1947–2014)

Seventy-five million workers earned hourly wages in the United States in 2012, making up 59% of employees.[9] In the United States, wages for most workers are set by market forces, or else by collective bargaining, where a labor union negotiates on the workers' behalf. The Fair Labor Standards Act establishes a minimum wage at the federal level that all states must abide by, among other provisions. Fourteen states and a number of cities have set their own minimum wage rates that are higher than the federal level. For certain federal or state government contacts, employers must pay the so-called prevailing wage as determined according to the Davis-Bacon Act or its state equivalent. Activists have undertaken to promote the idea of a living wage rate which account for living expenses and other basic necessities, setting the living wage rate much higher than current minimum wage laws require. The minimum wage rate is there to protect the well being of the working class.[10]

Definitions

For purposes of federal income tax withholding, 26 U.S.C. § 3401(a) defines the term "wages" specifically for chapter 24 of the Internal Revenue Code:

"For purposes of this chapter, the term “wages” means all remuneration (other than fees paid to a public official) for services performed by an employee for his employer, including the cash value of all remuneration (including benefits) paid in any medium other than cash;" In addition to requiring that the remuneration must be for "services performed by an employee for his employer," the definition goes on to list 23 exclusions that must also be applied.[11]

See also

Political science:

References

  1. ^ Finley, Moses I. (1973). The ancient economy. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 65. ISBN 9780520024366.
  2. ^ Thompson, E. P. (1967). "Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism". Past and Present. 38: 56–97. doi:10.1093/past/38.1.56. JSTOR 649749.
  3. ^ Dohrn-van Rossum, Gerhard,, (1996). History of the hour: Clocks and modern temporal orders. Thomas Dunlap (trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226155104.
  4. ^ Ezzamel, Mahmoud (July 2004). "Work Organization in the Middle Kingdom, Ancient Egypt". Organization. 11 (4): 497–537. doi:10.1177/1350508404044060. ISSN 1350-5084. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
  5. ^ a b Finley, Moses I. (1973). The ancient economy. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520024366.
  6. ^ "Student Login". Edgenuity. – Education 2020 Homeschool console, Vocabulary Assignment, definition entry for "wage rate" (may require login to view)
  7. ^ Magnusson, Charlotta. "Why Is There A Gender Wage Gap According To Occupational Prestige?." Acta Sociologica (Sage Publications, Ltd.) 53.2 (2010): 99-117. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.
  8. ^ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Earnings of Women and Men by Race and Ethnicity, 2007" Accessed June 29, 2012
  9. ^ "Employees" as a category excludes all those who are self-employed, and this statistics only considers workers over the age of 16. U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013-02-26), Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2012
  10. ^ Tennant, Michael. "Minimum Wage The Ups & Downs." New American (08856540) 30.12 (2014): 10-16. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Feb. 2015.
  11. ^ USC 26 § 3401(a)

Further reading

  • Galbraith, James Kenneth. Created Unequal: the Crisis in American Pay, in series, Twentieth Century Fund Book[s]. New York: Free Press, 1998. ISBN 0-684-84988-7

External links

Anti-capitalism

Anti-capitalism encompasses a wide variety of movements, ideas and attitudes that oppose capitalism. Anti-capitalists, in the strict sense of the word, are those who wish to replace capitalism with another type of economic system.

Capitalism

Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.Economists, political economists, sociologists and historians have adopted different perspectives in their analyses of capitalism and have recognized various forms of it in practice. These include laissez-faire or free market capitalism, welfare capitalism and state capitalism. Different forms of capitalism feature varying degrees of free markets, public ownership, obstacles to free competition and state-sanctioned social policies. The degree of competition in markets, the role of intervention and regulation, and the scope of state ownership vary across different models of capitalism. The extent to which different markets are free as well as the rules defining private property are matters of politics and policy. Most existing capitalist economies are mixed economies, which combine elements of free markets with state intervention and in some cases economic planning.Market economies have existed under many forms of government and in many different times, places and cultures. Modern capitalist societies—marked by a universalization of money-based social relations, a consistently large and system-wide class of workers who must work for wages, and a capitalist class which owns the means of production—developed in Western Europe in a process that led to the Industrial Revolution. Capitalist systems with varying degrees of direct government intervention have since become dominant in the Western world and continue to spread. Over time, capitalist countries have experienced consistent economic growth and an increase in the standard of living.

Critics of capitalism argue that it establishes power in the hands of a minority capitalist class that exists through the exploitation of the majority working class and their labor; prioritizes profit over social good, natural resources and the environment; and is an engine of inequality, corruption and economic instabilities. Supporters argue that it provides better products and innovation through competition, disperses wealth to all productive people, promotes pluralism and decentralization of power, creates strong economic growth, and yields productivity and prosperity that greatly benefit society.

Employment

Employment is a relationship between two parties, usually based on a contract where work is paid for, where one party, which may be a corporation, for profit, not-for-profit organization, co-operative or other entity is the employer and the other is the employee. Employees work in return for payment, which may be in the form of an hourly wage, by piecework or an annual salary, depending on the type of work an employee does or which sector she or he is working in. Employees in some fields or sectors may receive gratuities, bonus payment or stock options. In some types of employment, employees may receive benefits in addition to payment. Benefits can include health insurance, housing, disability insurance or use of a gym. Employment is typically governed by employment laws, regulations or legal contracts.

Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 29 U.S.C. § 203 (FLSA) is a United States labor law that creates the right to a minimum wage, and "time-and-a-half" overtime pay when people work over forty hours a week. It also prohibits most employment of minors in "oppressive child labor". It applies to employees engaged in interstate commerce or employed by an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, unless the employer can claim an exemption from coverage.

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap or gender wage gap is the average difference between the remuneration for men and women who are working. Women are generally paid less than men. There are two distinct numbers regarding the pay gap: unadjusted versus adjusted pay gap. The latter takes into account differences in hours worked, occupations chosen, education and job experience. For example, someone who takes time off (e.g. maternity leave) will likely not earn as much as someone who does not take time off from work. In the United States, for example the unadjusted average female's annual salary has commonly been cited as being 78% of the average male salary, compared to 80–98% for the adjusted average salary.The reasons for lower pay include both individual choice and other innate and external factors. An example of a voluntary choice is choosing to work part-time when full-time employment is available. An example of an involuntary choice is working a low-skill job because of an inability to access higher education. An example of an external factor is discrimination.

The gender pay gap can be a problem from a public policy perspective even when the reason for the gap is entirely voluntary, because it reduces economic output and means that women are more likely to be dependent upon welfare payments, especially in old age.

Labour economics

Labour economics seeks to understand the functioning and dynamics of the markets for wage labour.

Labour markets or job markets function through the interaction of workers and employers. Labour economics looks at the suppliers of labour services (workers) and the demanders of labour services (employers), and attempts to understand the resulting pattern of wages, employment, and income.

Labour is a measure of the work done by human beings. It is conventionally contrasted with such other factors of production as land and capital. Some theories focus on human capital (referring to the skills that workers possess, not necessarily their actual work).

List of European countries by average wage

This is the map and list of European countries by monthly average wage (annual divided by 12 months) gross and net income (after taxes) average wages for full-time employees in their local currency and in euros. The chart below reflects the average (mean) wage as reported by various data providers. The salary distribution is right-skewed, therefore more than 50% of people earn less than the average gross salary. These figures will shrink after income tax is applied. In certain countries, actual incomes may exceed those listed in the table due to the existence of grey economies. In some countries, social security, contributions for pensions, public schools, and health are included in these taxes.

List of European countries by minimum wage

The following list provides information relating to the minimum wages (gross) of countries in Europe.The calculations are based on the assumption of a 40-hour working week and a 52-week year, with the exceptions of France (35 hours), San Marino (37.5 hours), Belgium (38 hours), United Kingdom (38.1 hours), Ireland (39 hours), Monaco (39 hours), and Germany (39.1 hours).

Most of minimum wages are fixed at a monthly rate, but there are countries where minimum wage is fixed at an hourly rate or weekly rate.

List of countries by average wage

The average wage is a measure of total income after taxes divided by total number of employees employed. In this article, the average wage is adjusted for living expenses "purchasing power parity" (PPP).

The wage distribution is right-skewed; the majority of people earn less than the average wage. For an alternative measure, the median household income uses median instead of average.

List of minimum wages by country

This is a list of official minimum wage rates of the 193 United Nations member states and former members of the United Nations, and also includes the following territories and states with limited recognition: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Northern Cyprus, Kosovo, and Palestine and other independent countries. Some countries may have a very complicated minimum wage system; for example, India has more than 1202 minimum wage rates.

Living wage

A living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs. Needs are defined to include food, housing, and other essential needs such as clothing. The goal of a living wage is to allow a worker to afford a basic but decent standard of living. Due to the flexible nature of the term "needs", there is not one universally accepted measure of what a living wage is and as such it varies by location and household type.A living wage, in some nations such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand, generally means that a person working 40 hours a week, with no additional income, should be able to afford the basics for a modest but decent life, such as, food, shelter, utilities, transport, health care, and child care. Living wage advocates have further defined a living wage as the wage equivalent to the poverty line for a family of four. The income would have to allow the family to 'secure food, shelter, clothing, health care, transportation and other necessities of living in modern society'. A definition of a living wage used by the Greater London Authority (GLA) is the threshold wage, calculated as an income of 60% of the median, and an additional 15% to allow for unforeseen events.

The living wage differs from the minimum wage in that the latter is set by national law and can fail to meet the requirements to have a basic quality of life which leaves the family to rely on government programs for additional income. Living wages, on the other hand, have typically only been adopted in municipalities. In economic terms, the living wage is similar to the minimum wage as it is a price floor for labor.

In the 1990s, the first contemporary living wage campaigns were launched by community initiatives in the US addressing increasing poverty faced by workers and their families. They argued that the employee, employer, and community all benefited with a living wage. Employees would be more willing to work, helping the employer reduce worker turnover, and it would help the community when the citizens have enough to have a decent life. These campaigns came about partially as a response to Reaganomics and Thatcherism in the US and UK, respectively, which shifted macroeconomic policy towards neoliberalism. A living wage, by increasing the purchasing power of low income workers, is supported by Keynesian and post-Keynesian economics which focuses on stimulating demand in order to improve the state of the economy.

Median income

Median income is the amount that divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having income above that amount, and half having income below that amount. Mean income (average) is the amount obtained by dividing the total aggregate income of a group by the number of units in that group. Mode income is the most frequently occurring income in a given income distribution.

Median income can be calculated by household income, by personal income, or for specific demographic groups.

Minimum wage

A minimum wage is the lowest remuneration that employers can legally pay their workers—the price floor below which workers may not sell their labor. Most countries had introduced minimum wage legislation by the end of the 20th century.Supply and demand models suggest that there may be welfare and employment losses from minimum wages. However, if the labor market is in a state of monopsony (with only one employer available who is hiring), minimum wages can increase the efficiency of the market. There is debate about the full effects of minimum wages.The movement for minimum wages was first motivated as a way to stop the exploitation of workers in sweatshops, by employers who were thought to have unfair bargaining power over them. Over time, minimum wages came to be seen as a way to help lower-income families. Modern national laws enforcing compulsory union membership which prescribed minimum wages for their members were first passed in New Zealand and Australia in the 1890s.

Although minimum wage laws are in effect in many jurisdictions, differences of opinion exist about the benefits and drawbacks of a minimum wage. Supporters of the minimum wage say it increases the standard of living of workers, reduces poverty, reduces inequality, and boosts morale. In contrast, opponents of the minimum wage say it increases poverty, increases unemployment (particularly among unskilled or inexperienced workers) and is damaging to businesses, because excessively high minimum wages require businesses to raise the prices of their product or service to accommodate the extra expense of paying a higher wage and some low-wage workers "will be unable to find work...[and] will be pushed into the ranks of the unemployed."

Minimum wage in the United States

The minimum wage in the United States is set by US labor law and a range of state and local laws. Employers generally have to pay workers the highest minimum wage prescribed by federal, state, and local law. Since July 24, 2009, the federal government has mandated a nationwide minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. As of January 2018, there were 29 states with a minimum wage higher than the federal minimum. From 2017 to 2018, eight states increased their minimum wage levels through automatic adjustments, while increases in eleven other states occurred through referendum or legislative action.Using 2018 inflation-adjusted dollars, the federal minimum wage peaked at $11.79 per hour in 1968. If the minimum wage in 1968 had kept up with labor's productivity growth, it would have reached $19.33 in 2017. There is a racial difference in support for a higher minimum wage with most Black and Latino individuals supporting a $15.00 federal minimum wage, and 54% of Whites opposing it. In 2018, about 2% of White, Asian, and Latino workers earned the federal minimum wage or less. Amongst Black workers, the percentage was about 3%.

Monopsony

In economics, a monopsony (from Ancient Greek μόνος (mónos) "single" + ὀψωνία (opsōnía) "purchase") is a market structure in which a single buyer substantially controls the market as the major purchaser of goods and services offered by many would-be sellers. In the microeconomic theory of monopsony, a single entity is assumed to have market power over sellers as the only purchaser of a good or service, much in the same manner that a monopolist can influence the price for its buyers in a monopoly, in which only one seller faces many buyers.

National Minimum Wage Act 1998

The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 creates a minimum wage across the United Kingdom, which from 1 April 2018 was £7.83 per hour for workers aged over 25, £7.38 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24, and £5.90 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20. (See Current and past rates.)

It was a flagship policy of the Labour Party in the UK during their successful 1997 general election campaign and is still pronounced today in Labour Party circulars as an outstanding gain for ‘at least 1.5 million people’.

The national minimum wage (NMW) took effect on 1 April 1999. On 1 April 2016, an amendment to the act attempted an obligatory "National Living Wage" for workers over 25, which was implemented at a significantly higher minimum wage rate of £7.20 (then up to £7.50 from April 2017, £7.83 from April 2018 and £8.21 from April 2019), and is expected to rise to at least £9 per hour by 2020.

Proletariat

The proletariat ( from Latin proletarius "producing offspring") is the class of wage-earners in an economic society whose only possession of significant material value is their labour-power (how much work they can do). A member of such a class is a proletarian.

In Marxist theory, a dictatorship of the proletariat is for the proletariat, of the proletariat, and by the proletariat. On the Marxist view, this will endow the proletarian with the power to abolish the conditions that make a person a proletarian and, thus, build communism.

Wage labour

Wage labour (also wage labor in American English) is the socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer, where the worker sells their labour power under a formal or informal employment contract. These transactions usually occur in a labour market where wages or salaries are market-determined.

In exchange for the money paid as wages (usual for short-term work-contracts) or salaries (in permanent employment contracts), the work product generally becomes the undifferentiated property of the employer, except for special cases such as the vesting of intellectual property patents in the United States where patent rights are usually vested in the employee personally responsible for the invention. A wage labourer is a person whose primary means of income is from the selling of their labour in this way.

Wage slavery

Wage slavery is a term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor by focusing on similarities between owning and renting a person. It is usually used to refer to a situation where a person's livelihood depends on wages or a salary, especially when the dependence is total and immediate.The term "wage slavery" has been used to criticize exploitation of labour and social stratification, with the former seen primarily as unequal bargaining power between labor and capital (particularly when workers are paid comparatively low wages, e.g. in sweatshops) and the latter as a lack of workers' self-management, fulfilling job choices and leisure in an economy. The criticism of social stratification covers a wider range of employment choices bound by the pressures of a hierarchical society to perform otherwise unfulfilling work that deprives humans of their "species character" not only under threat of starvation or poverty, but also of social stigma and status diminution.Similarities between wage labor and slavery were noted as early as Cicero in Ancient Rome, such as in De Officiis. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, thinkers such as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Karl Marx elaborated the comparison between wage labor and slavery, while Luddites emphasized the dehumanization brought about by machines. Before the American Civil War, Southern defenders of African American slavery invoked the concept of wage slavery to favorably compare the condition of their slaves to workers in the North. The United States abolished slavery after the Civil War, but labor union activists found the metaphor useful and appropriate. According to Lawrence Glickman, in the Gilded Age "[r]eferences abounded in the labor press, and it is hard to find a speech by a labor leader without the phrase".The introduction of wage labor in 18th-century Britain was met with resistance, giving rise to the principles of syndicalism. Historically, some labor organizations and individual social activists have espoused workers' self-management or worker cooperatives as possible alternatives to wage labor.

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