The Instigator
republicofdhar
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
TheatreVirus
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Since we have a minimum wage, we ought to have a maximum wage.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
republicofdhar
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/24/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 652 times Debate No: 62232
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (3)

 

republicofdhar

Con

Welcome, TheatreVirus. The settings on the previous debate left us with only 1 round to debate and conclude, which I thought would be a pity. I have set this to 5 rounds and I will make clear what each round will be. (This is one of my first debates as well.)

Round 1 - Invitation and Acceptance
Round 2 - Opening Arguments from both sides
Round 3 - Responses to the opponent's opening arguments
Round 4 - Defense of opening statements
Round 5 - Conclusion, closing statements and Goodbyes

For our benefit, I shall restate the definitions that we had agreed upon.

Minimum wage: The lowest salary payable under the law of a jurisdiction.
Maximum wage: The highest salary payable under the law of a jurisdiction.

I wish you a good first debate.
TheatreVirus

Pro

I accept the format. Sounds good to me. Looking forward to the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
republicofdhar

Con

Thank you. To reiterate, I will be taking the position that we should not adopt a maximum wage. Since this question is largely universal and largely (at least at this point) theoretical, I shall not draw reference to any country, but discuss maximum wage as a theory.

1. Maximum wage does not serve a redistributive effect

It is clear that both minimum and maximum wage are instruments that can be used to correct income inequality in a country. Maximum wage does not operate the same way that minimum wage does, however.

Minimum wage reduces income inequality by encouraging the unemployed (and therefore economically unproductive) sections of society to contribute to the economy and economic growth by searching for employment. The minimum wage here acts as a financial incentive. It is clear, then, that minimum wage is not simply a movement of capital from the higher echelons of a business (and by extension, society) to the lower echelons, but instead is a mechanism that concertedly encourages productivity among the less productive members of society and allows them to hence earn a decent living.

Maximum wage, on the other hand, does not serve a redistributive or motivational effect. Maximum wage is literally placing a cap on the salary that an individual is legally permitted to command. To argue that maximum wage results in a reduction in income inequality presupposes that the surplus in salary would be redistributed among other salaries in the organisation. However, this argument would be flawed in itself. Salaries are dependent on demand and supply in a particular market, and since there is neither a change in demand of labour (at other levels) nor supply, it is far more probable that the business would return the surplus into its profits pool and then invest it the way it does with the rest of its profits.

3. A maximum wage would be ineffective

Even assuming that the salary of the high-income earner is redistributed, it would not serve the effect expected by many. Salaries in the millions are earned primarily by executives in very large organisations, with employees in the hundreds of thousands. Even redistributing a salary of $5 million a year to a hundred thousand employees results in a paltry increase of $50 a year. That comes down to less than $5 a month.

The main portion of the top 5%'s income comes from ownership of shares in very large and successful enterprises. It is from this that the billions of dollars in income and net worth arise. Clearly, maximum wage cannot touch this money, and it would serve no purpose for maximum wage to attempt to redistribute a million-dollar salary, which is menial in comparison.

2. Maximum wage does not protect low income workers

Minimum wage also serves to ensure that low income workers have a salary that would be sufficient to cover the basic living expenses in a particular country or jurisdiction. Maximum wage, does not serve this purpose. As mentioned above, there is no assurance (and businesses cannot be forced) to return the surplus to other employees.

It has already been established that maximum wage does not serve a redistributive function. I will now establish why it has a damaging effect on the country and economy.

3. Maximum wage appears to serve a punitive effect against some of the most economically productive members of society

Being that maximum wage has minimal economic value, a maximum wage appears to serve a punitive function against some of the most economically productive members of society, namely the decision makers of the nation, or members of the quinary sector of the economy (in the five-tiered model). Firstly, the value of money is not simply monetary. In contemporary terms, money is considered synonymous with power, and an increase in salary signifies a clear rise in the pecking order of an organisation. This being the case, it is possible that businesses may respond by reducing wages at many levels, because a CEO cannot earn a salary equal to his subordinates. This cannot be a positive consequence for anyone.

Given that money also serves to equate a position with status, a reduction in salary can erode the impetus to innovate in a society. Although it is said that above a certain salary, the money no longer serves as a financial incentive, that cannot be said about its role as a status symbol. Abraham Maslow, in his Hierarchy of Needs, has placed "Esteem" as one of the fundamental needs of a human. If the salary of an innovator is reduced, and his esteem needs are not met, then he would find it far more productive to retire and write a book, become a motivational speaker etc, both of which are easier ways to earn money and yet fulfil a person's esteem needs. It is clear that a maximum wage hence reduces the impetus of a person to remain in a job or a position to inspire or engage personally in innovation. This is detrimental to society as it is innovation that serves as a major driving force for economic growth, and for leverage in international politics.

5. It is morally unjust to impose a maximum wage

To follow the libertarian argument, and to quote a great many democratic constitutions: Humans have an unalienable right to life, liberty and property.

To impose a minimum wage against people who have earned their money through legitimate means, and thereby deprive them of this property, is to fail in our duty to accord each individual human this right. By Kantian or deontological ethics, this is a clear violation of our duty and the action is hence immoral.

6. It is practically impossible to enforce, and is discriminatory in its nature

Minimum wage is easy to enforce because it simply involves transferring a certain minimum value of money to every person employed. It is not so straightforward to do the same for the higher income workers without being discriminatory. For example, how would one limit the income of musicians and singers worldwide, who earn not a fixed salary, but income based on royalties and commissions? Should the remaining money be seized by the government? This is simply one example, which I would be interested in hearing Pro's views on.

For the reasons above, I conclude that not only is a maximum wage an inappropriate policy for a government to undertake, it is massively complex, ineffective and ludicrous. There is something to be said about the fact that it is not a popular economic policy in our times, clearly indicating that it is implemented in exceptional cases, rather than on a normal basis.
TheatreVirus

Pro

TheatreVirus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
republicofdhar

Con

I am very surprised that TheatreVirus has forfeited his turn, given that this is a continuation of a debate that he instigated at: http://www.debate.org....

I maintain my hope that he will return to this worthy debate in the next round, and extend my arguments through to the next round in anticipation.
TheatreVirus

Pro

TheatreVirus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
republicofdhar

Con

I regret Pro's attitude, but maintain hope that he will return for some arguments during the final round. For now, I shall simply reiterate the points I had made in my opening arguments, without elaboration.

A maximum wage is unadvisable and a country would not do well to adopt it for the following reasons:

Firstly, a maximum wage serves a minimal and ineffective redistributive function. It does not protect low income workers the way a minimum wage does, and has an unnecessary punitive effect on the most productive members of society. From an ethical standpoint, it is morally bankrupt, discriminatory, and practically impossible to enforce.

For these reasons, I maintain that a maximum wage is not a policy that would benefit a country, and I urge voters on this debate to vote Con. Although Con has forfeited all rounds so far, I would be grateful to see genuine feedback on the points I have made here, given that I am a new member of the Debate.org community. Thank you for your time, and I thank Pro for instigating the original debate.
TheatreVirus

Pro

TheatreVirus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
republicofdhar

Con

Arguments extended. As Pro has missed out on rebuttals for my points, I urge voters to vote Con for conduct and arguments. Thank you very much for voting.
TheatreVirus

Pro

TheatreVirus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by republicofdhar 2 years ago
republicofdhar
@innerstrength if you like we can debate this! I'll just copy over my arguments and you can respond as you like.
Posted by Innerstrength 2 years ago
Innerstrength
Very disapointing for TheatreVirus as i think there are many good points to argue for pro.
I would argue that the current state of economical affairs world wide proves that greed with no limit does actually damage society and therefore renders it immoral. It was the native americans and other indigenous tribes that said wanting more than you need is an illness and they had the idea before capitalism was around, they then noticed this in the europeans that at first settled there and then took over. Now to me that is a classic example of capitalism, use whatever advantage you have to rob the other guy blind to get what you want. Does that sound moral? Ofcourse at the peoples (majority) level you have to scrounge for whatever you can get but when you are a multinational bank that owns most of the worlds wealth this can lead to extreme inequality and manipulation as we have today.
Just because someone doesn't agree with capitalism does not make them a communist, I would argue that what right does any capitalist have to take more than their fair share? Because they have lust for money, possesions and power? Does that sound moral? If you want to work hard that is your choice but why should that impact negatively on others? That's why they call them capitalist pigs, their wealth is taken from the communal wealth that we may have shared under a fair system.
Another point i would make is that what these capitalists call work is actually the work of scamming and conning people out of their money, there are companies out there that make good products and have some ethics but this is not the norm more the minority.
Also if they took some time to actually enjoy life instead of spending every waking second trying to make money they wouldn't get to the top and wonder why they are still not happy.
There is a great documentary by Tom Shadyac called I Am that addresses topic very well.
Posted by republicofdhar 2 years ago
republicofdhar
@Evangambit That is not actually the issue at hand, to my understanding. That would undoubtedly be a very interesting debate, though.
Posted by evangambit 2 years ago
evangambit
Am I correct in phrasing the issue as "does 'minimum wage is ethical' imply 'maximum wage is ethical'"? Should be an interesting debate.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
Isn't that just like you commies, want to control people.Why don't you just take care of you own lives and leave people alone. Man has survived very well before you came along.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by InnovativeEphemera 2 years ago
InnovativeEphemera
republicofdharTheatreVirusTied
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Reasons for voting decision: That's a shame, could have been an interesting read!
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
republicofdharTheatreVirusTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by Ameliamk1 2 years ago
Ameliamk1
republicofdharTheatreVirusTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeits.