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Evil Choices follow-up
Bar Harbor
I forgot to mention another classic media example: _Sophie's Choice_.

Also relevant, the classic Douglas Adams parable of the lizards:

“On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

“I did,” said Ford. “It is.”

“So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”

“It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in.”
Over on FaceBook, rickthefightguy commented:
I am no longer in favor of a blanket minimum wage. I now favor a maximum differential between total income of highest-paid capitalist and lowest-paid worker involved in any company. Something like 50:1. So if you want to increase your annual increase in real income by a half a million, that's cool. Just increase all of your lowest-paid employees' annual take by $10K each. If on the other hand, you really _are_ just scraping by and making a tiny profit yourself, you can try to get people to work for you at a pretty low wage.
The 'maximum differential' idea is a nice one, and I am in favor of companies adopting it. But as a regulatory solution it leaves much to be desired. One flaw is obliquely noted in Rick's comment by his use of the phrase "real income". Good luck defining that one in a non-exploitable way. Also, the definition of "company" would become (more) fraught. Already, the company I work for doesn't "employ" janitors or security guards; we hire the services of another company to handle that for us. Though my company is large and global, it wouldn't take much paper-shuffling to transform it technically into 25 or more different companies with a wide variety of pay scales, who happen to contract/outsource work between themselves.

When I said "I support minimum wage laws", I mean that I support them in the same sense I support Obamacare. It's a clunky, awkward solution that completely ignores the possibility of simpler, more efficient (and more just) solutions -- but it is a solution that is achievable in the current political climate.

I think that, for both health and 'minimum wage', the *best* solution is actually a socialist one. The government guarantees the health and (basic) welfare of all citizens. Lose all the bureacracy about judging who is "eligible" for these benefits, and the savings are so large that you can afford to just give them to whoever asks. The vast majority of people would still work, either for personal satisfaction, or to improve their lot above subsistence level. And in that situation, you don't need a minimum wage law, because *all* wages are gravy, and the employees aren't being driven by desperation. Not that I expect to live long enough to see American politics move that far from "Communist == Evil" :-(

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Why, that'd make us positively *Scandanavian*!

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