Minimum wage work pay union wage growth
(Image: AAP/Peter Rae)

Will raising the minimum wage help fix Australia’s stagnant wages? Bernard Keane wasn’t convinced, and readers seemed to agree that the real problem was much bigger. Elsewhere, readers mulled over the idea of flipping the narrative on climate change. 

On minimum wage

Jack Robertson writes: These guys have got to get down off their big lever econ-platforms and sift through what’s actually going on at the earn-and-spend serf end of the economy. Huge chunks of middle-class information labour are now gig piecework too, of course; it only still feels posh and salaried cos of the suits ‘n’ ties. If it’s tenaciously stalled consumer spending that vexes you, then the minimum wage — in a profoundly disconnected, atomised and increasingly black gig labour market — is a metric of relevance only to the economic illiterate.

Richard Shortt writes: So, if I follow the “if you increase the minimum wage, we will have to employ less people” argument to its natural conclusion, we can achieve full employment by paying less and less. Or, am I missing something? Of course those very poorly paid workers would not be able to buy anything, pay for their food, accommodation or education. So, they would need a second, third or fourth job just to tread water. Wow, so that’s where some very well placed people in Australia want the place to go back to — a dark age, where the 14th richest economy in the world is a great place to be rich and a hell hole if you’re not.

On climate change

Steven Westbrook writes: This is a hard one as it involves telling people what they don’t want to hear. The government is selling the false promise of a new coal boom and supposedly lots of jobs. When the vested interests have taken their short-term last profits, I suspect that there will no transition plan due to decades of denial magnifying the cost when the true situation becomes apparent. Trump was happy to run a similar message about restoring the coal industry, but now that’s not happening there is no race to repair the social damage.

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Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey