ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bare Minimum to Moral Minimum

The idea of minimum wages makes sense inasmuch as it offers some protection against the vagaries of the labour market and fluctuations in inflation index in which the employer may not stick to the logic and ethics of labour contract between the employee and the employer. However, the age-old problem of unemployment and the vagaries of the labour market which, among other things, is produced by the whims of the employer do give rise to the demand for minimum wages. On the flip side, one may argue that a minimum wage can also give rise to the idea of “unemployment by choice” for those who may think that they deserve better employment than what was minimally available in the labour market under the aegis of the minimum wage policy. From the market-oriented economics, minimum wages would thus undermine the condition of job opportunities available primarily in aspiration and rarely in actual terms. Further, minimum wages would not be able to provide a dynamic leading to labour mobility and fluidity. But this kind of thinking does not seem to have relevance in the current un­employment scenario, which is worsened by the pandemic. In the current scenario, compounded by the pandemic, arguably, the mobility has been severely restricted. In fact, since globalisation, workers are subjected to deskilling and are forced to do all kinds of odd jobs, which may not correspond to their skills.

A minimum wage has been viewed by some with a subsidised imagination or a kind of jugaad thinking, according to which it may not help secure the best of all possible worlds, but would help guard against the worst. However, minimum wage from the angle of the jugaad economy fails to address the problem of worst, in fact, the idea of worst exists on a downsliding ­conundrum in which there is a progressive disappearance of situational if not local creativity when the labour moves down from its field of creativity to deskilling, such as manual work to scavenging, where there is no creativity but only a destructive sense of alienation. The idea of worst exists on the tragic conundrum, being employed in odd jobs temporarily to do scavenging. The conception of the worst cannot be captured even by the idea of floor minimum wages.

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Updated On : 9th Jul, 2021

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