“Pay them more”. These are the simple, revolutionary, socialist words by the POTUS Joe Biden a few days ago.
Replying to reporters’ questions about workers shortage, Biden blamed entrepreneurs and employers for the increasing number of unemployed. So how is it possible not to find people who are ready to work? According to Biden, this is due to the unfair payment offered.
Working hours and hours under unsafe working conditions, mainly with no career prospects, providing capitalists with increasing wealth, receiving a minimum wage: these are the classic conditions proposed (or imposed?) to modern workers, mainly part of young generations.
Before moving on, it is strictly necessary to stress the importance of decent working conditions and decent income. Working is deemed as a key to pursuing freedom and happiness, classic jurisprudence and law affirm. Moreover, once workers sell them knowledge, time, opportunities in exchange for a salary commensurate with their work and skills, they are free from slavery and extortion since they have the power to determine themself and their family without asking someone else to help them (under conditions). Thus, as a cornerstone of social rights, work is the basic standard of freedom: without social rights, one could say it is impossible to affirm and defend life, liberty, and property (the keywords by John Locke).
Hence, coming back to Biden, his words represents an exceptional change in perspective, blaming employers rather than employees for failure and unemployment. For the first time in the USA history and law tradition, Americans recognize that it is technically impossible to realize the American dream without positive and proactive environmental factors that support people in their action and career path. Moreover, Americans recognize that the exception is not the rule for the first time in USA history. As Adam Smith called it, the invisible hand of the market is not able to fix everything.
This change of perspective by the POTUS is revolutionary for the USA. However, unfortunately, it is not followed by foreign politicians such as Italian leader Matteo Salvini (the right-wing party Lega), among others. Let us see why.
Modern Italian institution “citizenship income” (approved in 2019) is defined as economic support provided by the central state to the unemployed to support people incomes. Receiving the citizenship income means accepting a mandatory pact of re-employment and social inclusion. Briefly, once the unemployed sign the path, he/she/* starts earning the income, but he/she/* is forced to accept job offers from state employment centres once he/she/* receives them. This is the pact.
In the last days, Italian journals and politicians have pushed the discussion forward, affirming that the unemployed – mainly younger – prefer staying at home earning the citizenship income (600 euros more or less) rather than working for the same income provided by an employer.
During an interview with RaiNews24, Salvini was called to comment on the current layoffs block and the great difficulty by companies and entrepreneurs finding workers saying that “There are contracts, there are no exploitative entrepreneurs [but] if you take 600 euros to stay at home and watch television and they offer you 600 euros to go and work as a waiter, it’s easy to imagine the choice…”. However, generally speaking, Salvini is not brave enough to say outright that he and his party are convinced that workers should be forced to accept exploitative working conditions, a minimum salary and no decent social and working protection.
Matteo Salvini was born and raised in Milan, one of the most expensive cities in Italy. Now, if we consider that the average monthly net salary (after tax) is 1,669.41 euros (source: Numbeo) and the 33.9% is spent for renting a room (cfr. the image above, source: Numbeo), here we are: the salary as waiter proposed by entrepreneurs would not cover all expenses to live with no support by family. That means that those who work with this salary would never be independent if they accept these conditions. They would remain teenagers forever, growing old without ever growing up.
The question is: how is it possible to call workers or young people “choosy” (as some politicians call them) if they do not accept to be exploited by capitalists? Are they choosy, or is the capitalistic system simply eating itself?
In this particular case, it is not necessary to be politicians to understand that the mechanism does not work; it is sufficient to use a calculator.