Pay people what they need to thrive

In a world where we need money to survive, paying people what they need to thrive (without further exploitation) is an anti-capitalist endeavor.

Pay people what they need to thrive
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

My first job out of college was working at a nonprofit.

I was technically the "Operations Coordinator", but my job duties included that of an Events Manager and Marketing & Communications Coordinator.

I was paid less than $40,000/year to work three jobs. This is capitalist exploitation.

In a world where we need money to survive, paying people what they need to thrive (without further exploitation) is an anti-capitalist endeavor.

In today's issue:

  • Key features of capitalism
  • How to push back against capitalist exploitation

Extraction, profit, and scarcity as key features of capitalism

Extracting resources without replenishing them, prioritizing profit over peoples well-being, and scarcity are all key features of capitalism seen within workplaces.

Both extraction and prioritizing profit over people's well-being can look like:

  • increased job responsibilities
  • "working hard" and time/energy intensive tasks
  • not offering benefits that meet people's material and non-material needs (healthcare coverage, thriving-wage income, vacation subsidies, educational development, team-building activities)

If we were to pick three job postings at random, we'd find that these practices are standard across industries. We'd also find that they contribute to financial scarcity as on average, a person living in a major U.S. city would need to earn over $95,000 to live comfortably - and few jobs meet this threshold.

Thriving without exploitation

Paying people what they need to thrive without exploitation would require that we shift how we think about production, time, and the value of labor.

We can't justify paying people more by requiring that they "earn" the salary increase by working harder or spending more time producing.

It means we'll have to grow, scale, and innovate at a slower, more sustainable, more humane pace.

If we want uphold anti-capitalist values within our organizations, we have to begin by paying people what they need to thrive and not just survive.

(This includes self-employed people, too.)

Learn More

These are early thoughts, and I invite folks to share their own experiences/ideas to help refine my thinking.

Thank you for reading,

Kiana



Loving Practice is on a mission to create more human organizations.