Synthesis/Regeneration 13   (Spring 1997)


On the Need for a Minimum Wage

by Jeffrey Vogel

The Massively unequal distribution of wealth in our nation is one of the gravest environmental disasters presently facing human beings in the United States. The uncontrolled forces of greed have created a human ecological crisis where the top 1% of our population has as much wealth as the bottom 90%. This situation is destabilizing and destructive to our nation's human habitat as well as being one of the major forces leading to the destruction of its non human habitat.

At the core of environmentalist philosophy is the concept that we live on and share a finite and precious Earth with limited resources. Keeping this concept in mind, let's look at the issue of distribution of wealth and income. Money represents the Earth's wealth, its resources that are useful to human beings. Therefore, given a finite Earth, there is a finite amount of money available. So, if huge amounts of money are accumulated by certain segments of society, then, of necessity, there will be severe shortages of money in other segments of our society. In the areas with severe shortages of human habitat is disrupted and often destroyed with people falling victim to malnutrition, homelessness, crime , disease, and despair.

One can argue that the circulation/distribution of money throughout a society is analogous to the circulation/distribution of blood within a human being. In order to maintain a healthy human being blood, carrying life-sustaining nutrients, must circulate in sufficient amounts to every part of the human body. If the necessary circulation/distribution of blood is interrupted, the effect can be very debilitating (e.g. stroke, gangrene) or even fatal to the human being (e.g. massive heart attack).

In our society, money carries the ability to purchase the essentials necessary for a healthy life. If the circulation/distribution money is not sufficient throughout our society then individuals and large segments of society will be debilitated, sometimes fatally, adversely affecting the health of the whole society. Therefore, one of the requirements for a healthy ecological system for human society is a sufficient distribution/circulation of money throughout the entire society.

The reality of finite limited resources necessitates placing limits on individual accumulation of wealth in order to help create a healthy society for all. A maximum wage in combination with a livable minimum wage would help restore balance to our nation which is being ravaged by the effects of unbridled greed.

Jeffrey Vogel, member, Green Party, Labor Party, New Party, Alliance, Local 1199

Synthesis/Regeneration home page  | S/R 13 Contents