The Minimum Wage Conflict

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The minimum wage has been the topic of many recent conversations. This conflict has gained notoriety, and become a key issue in today’s political world. This has been an issue for years as low wage workers have had difficulty providing for themselves and their families on their current minimum wage income. The demand for higher salaries has gained popularity, with many cities implementing their own policy in an attempt to bring people out of poverty and into the middle class. So why is this a conflict? Shouldn’t everyone be in support of people earning higher wages and being able to more comfortably support their families. The answer, and the key to the conflict is that it is not that simple. A raise in the minimum wage could make a significant difference for some employees, and bring them out of poverty and towards the middle class. However, it also has the potential to reduce the number of entry level jobs, it could reduce the number of hours available to work, and shut down businesses if they are unable to afford this increased expense.

One definition of conflict is, “The interaction of interdependent people who perceive opposition of goals, aims, and values, and who see the other party as potentially interfering with the realization of these goals (Putnam & Poole, 1987).” Therefore, this is a prime example of a conflict and is one that could potentially have a widespread effect. The two primary parties involved are those that believe that a raise in minimum wage would put workers and businesses out and those that believe this would give people an opportunity to advance in status. These two ideas are at opposite from each other, which puts the perception of each party at odds. Therefore, this perception, means that in order for one side to obtain their goal, the opposite is kept from achieving theirs. In today’s political climate, you are either in support or against this argument, which therefore puts you at odds with the opposite side. This is a substantial topic because each party has their own values and needs, which creates divergent attitudes. On one side you have the individuals that need to earn more money in order to support their families, and on the other, you have businesses and consumers that will be paying that difference in order to afford those increased wages. These two parties are interdependent of each other because without one, the other wouldn’t exist.

The employee depends on the business to earn their income. The business depends on the employee to provide the service and the consumer provides the capital to the business to pay the employee. Therefore, even a slight change in a single metric of that equation could make a significant impact on everyone involved, because it is an interdependent cycle formed by all of the key players.

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The primary cause of this conflict is simple economics and the desire of employees to be paid a livable wage and the desire of the businesses and consumers to pay a reasonable price. Therefore, this is a conflict of cognitive perception. This is defined as, “Conflict that results from differences in perspective, ideas, or viewpoints about a task or tasks (Maher, 2015, slide 10).”

Increasing the minimum wage would make two significant changes to the current economic system. First, we would see some workers making more money and therefore moving away from the poverty line. This increase in wages would also, in turn, result in more consumers that are able to spend more. Therefore, some businesses would see an increased revenue and be able to pay their employees the higher wage. Contrary, to the first idea, there would be businesses that are unable to afford the higher employee wage. This would result in fewer employees working, or fewer hours worked. Some firms may also transition towards the use of technology as a replacement to the individual. This increase in prices may also drive the consumer to alternative companies, which in turn hurts the businesses and the employee likewise (Kelly, 2019).

This is a very complex conflict and one that cannot be easily solved. Both sides of the issue have very valid points. However, it is not feasible for either side to completely achieve their goal. In order to best serve both parties, then both sides must be willing to remove emotions from the equation and rely on facts and studies of the issue. Then they must be willing to negotiate and find some sort of common ground that can best serve both of their interests. This common ground will require sacrifice and deviations from the values of each side. Something that may not be possible to achieve due to the vastly different viewpoints associated with the issue.

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The Minimum Wage Conflict. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-minimum-wage-conflict/
“The Minimum Wage Conflict.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-minimum-wage-conflict/
The Minimum Wage Conflict. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-minimum-wage-conflict/> [Accessed 13 Apr. 2024].
The Minimum Wage Conflict [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2024 Apr 13]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-minimum-wage-conflict/
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