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Building self esteem

by fredo
on 5/2/2009 @ 9:16am
Self esteem is a fundamental building block in our social life. Self esteem is generally associated with individuals who have a sense of control, a sense of belonging and acceptance, and a sense of competence.

People who lack self esteem are frequently beset with such problems such as depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, criminality, marital discord and suicide.

We know that people who are unemployed suffer from these same problems so it would be fair to assume that there is a linkage between employment and self esteem. People who are unemployed probably suffer from low self esteem.

The question for today. How can we build a society with healthy levels of self esteem when we legislate wage rates which have the effect of shrinking the pool of available jobs?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 5/2/2009 @ 10:23am
Working for slave wages will not help anyone's self esteem. Working 15 hours a day and living in your car does not help your self esteem. If anything the minimum wage has to be even higher in order to help anyone's self esteem. Maybe around $12.50 would do the trick.

by fredo on 5/2/2009 @ 10:54am
Crenshaw@ So increasing the minimum wage at a time when we have insufficient job availability would increase societies level of self esteem? This seems counter intuitive. Could you elaborate a bit? How would a higher minimum wage rate improve the self esteem of people who can't find work? Won't that make their job harder?

Anecdote: My first job paid $1 per hour. I was a dishwasher. My paycheck every other week was about $60. Was it enough to live on? No. Was it enough to rent an apartment? No. Could I afford to get married and start a family? Again no. I used my pay to buy gas for my car, pay for some meals and clothing, and purchase some trinkets for my girlfriend. Did it ever occur to me for one minute that I was working for "slave wages" and the "man" was really taking advantage of me? Not at all. I had entered the working world and my self esteem took a huge leap forward. While I suppose in your view I was a slave, I really took away a lot of good character building tools from my lowly diswasher job. I learned punctuality, responsibility, and the meaning of hard work. I don't regret the experience and as a final footnote, I turned out OK.

Today's youth, OTOH is being systematically disenfranchised by a flawed though well-meaning wage "system". Will unemployed people turn out OK? I have my doubts.

by ensie on 5/2/2009 @ 7:11pm
Dude. Let it go. This is like the 10th time you've restarted this discussion on a new thread. We get it already. Minimum wage = BAD.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 5/2/2009 @ 7:57pm
Never under estimate the value of punishing work in deplorable conditions for minimal wages. It builds character. And if it doesn't build character the worker must have had the problem.

by Frinklin on 5/2/2009 @ 8:52pm
Oh man, not again... look, we get it. The minimum wage is the single most evil thing in human history. Were we to get rid of the minimum wage, global warming would reverse, the scourge of gingivitis would be eliminated and Israelis and Palestinians would solve their problems with high-stakes games of Uno.

Now please, for the love of God, give it a rest.

by fredo on 5/3/2009 @ 2:30am
Ensie and Frinklin@ I think I'll continue posting on any topic of interest to me and with the frequency that I deem appropriate. Thank you for your advice.

Now here's some that might help you. If you see a posting go up that's associated with the name Fredo- that's one that is going to give you extreme displeasure. Ignore it.

by fredo on 5/3/2009 @ 9:45am
Crenshaw- I'm pretty sure that if minimum wage was raised to $12.50 and employers inexplicably saw this as a reason to increase hiring, you would still hold the opinion that employers see their employees as slaves. Your postings seem to indicate a greater affection for collectivist socialism then private enterprise.

by fredo on 5/3/2009 @ 10:35am
RE: the abundance of threads on various topics:

Schools (982)
Coffee (604)
Beer (551)
Chalk art (351)
Dogs (200)
C.L.A.W. (23)
Potholes (21)
Minimum wage (11)

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 5/3/2009 @ 10:43am
fredo, lowering the minimum wage will not make this economy any better. Having 2 people at 5 bucks an hour will do less for the economy then having one person at 10 bucks an hour. Lowering the minimum wage would not have kept the banks out of trouble. Lowering the minimum wage might help fredo but not the economy at large. We've recovered from recessions before without lowering the minimum wage, we can do it again. What will never recover is the minimum wage if we do away with it. Employees are making lots concessions as is, vis the auto industry, air line industry, and many others. The labor market needs regulating. Maybe that is collective socialism but I'll take that over unbridled greed, the greed that got us in this mess to begin with, any day of the week.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 5/3/2009 @ 10:47am
And yes, fredo should keep posting on the minimum wage. It will be easy to identify those that need rounding up for reeducation camps when the revolution arrives.

by fredo on 5/3/2009 @ 11:03am
Crenshaw- On numerous occasions I have recommended placing a MORITORIUM on the minimum wage-not "doing away with it." The reason liberals would oppose this is because if it brought renewed prosperity to our country it would undermine the entire liberal approach to the economy.

Having said that I do appreciate your sense of humor and look forward to your interesting though usually flawed postings.

by Mary on 5/3/2009 @ 11:04am
@Mr. Sepulveda @10:47 am...Awesome!

by marumaruyopparai on 5/3/2009 @ 11:36am
Clearly, the cost of living is unaffordable to those earning minimum wage due to the fact that the unnecessarily high minimum wage is driving up the cost of living. Yet, on the other hand, it was necessary to raise the minimum wage because it was insufficient to cover the cost of living. . . waitaminnit. . .oh dear me.

by Erik Hanberg on 5/3/2009 @ 5:29pm
I question that self-esteem is a goal society should be promoting.

When we have promoted it, such as during my childhood and teen-dom, the effects were very mixed. As one person (I don't remember who) pointed out that self-esteem is a questionable virtue--lots of really crappy people have good self-esteem.

Here's an article about how there is no shortage of self-esteem in the teen world today:

From the article:

Today's American high school students are far likelier than those in the 1970s to believe they'll make outstanding spouses, parents and workers, new research shows.

They're also much more likely to claim they are "A" students with high IQs -- even though other research shows that today's students do less homework than their counterparts did in the 1970s.

End quote.

I would also seriously question that society's self-esteem would go up with a minimum wage moratorium. For millions of people earning the current minimum wage, who would likely see their wages decrease, their sense of self worth would likely drop as a result.

by Erik Hanberg on 5/3/2009 @ 5:57pm

I feel like I've read every post you've put up on minimum wage, and my overall impression is that this is all about teenagers for you.

From last June: An army of young people is on the prowl. They're looking for work. Problem is, many of these first time workers don't possess good work skills and are not worth the state minimum wage which is about $8/hr.

Same thread: Don't teenagers deserve a first job?

From October: Well, one obvious reason they should work is that they could contribute some income to help their household. Four people in a household who each worked full time and earned $7 hour would have a combined income of $56K per year.

And above you call out your first job as a dishwasher as a model of what a low-paying job can do for someone's self esteem. (I assume you were a teenager or a young person at the time).


You have argued that lowering or scraping the minimum wage has the effect of bringing thousands (or more) teenagers into the work force.

And if it is at the expense of cutting wages from adults in unskilled positions, you suggest that a household of 4 could all work together earning $7/hour to pool their resources, adult and teen alike.


I don't understand the focus on finding work for teenagers at the expense of so many other things.

Creating a situation where young people have to work to support their family would create really bad long term consequences. A high school grad now has to work full time to support the family instead of going to vocational school where they can learn a skill and have the chance to earn much more.

Further, what is so bad about a 16 year finding it hard to find work?

And what is so awful about them having free time after school to play on a soccer team or work on the school newspaper or doing homework or just hanging out with friends? I agree that work teaches valuable skills, but so do those other things.

by fredo on 5/3/2009 @ 10:18pm
Interesting article Erik, but it was a bit off topic. It discussed the self esteem of teenagers without regard to their employment status.The topic here is the relationship (if any) that exists between high unemployment and self esteem.

Let's accept your statement that society shouldn't promote self esteem. How about the byproducts of low self esteem like alcoholism, drug abuse, crime and suicide? Should we spend tax money treating these?

I don't suggest that all unemployed people need or want jobs. If they want to play soccer or "hang out" that's fine with me. I'm more concerned with the role that society plays in diminishing opportunities for those people who want or need to work. It's a bit presumptuous to say that because you wouldn't work for $6/hr that nobody else should have the right to.

I'll conclude with this challenge. I don't know for certain that lowering or eliminating the minimum wage either permanently or temporarily would bring more prosperity to our country. However nothing done by Obama or Gregoire has brought unemployment rates down so why don't we give it a try?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 5/3/2009 @ 10:50pm
Mexico typically has an unemployment rate that is half of what it is in the United States, been following this in the Economist for years. I've always wondered why it would be if unemployment is so low in Mexico why people would be streaming over our borders to find work. I suspect it is because the wages are so low that people can not sustain their lives on their wages.

by seejane on 5/4/2009 @ 7:58am
I pity the fool who's self esteem is dependent on money.

by fredo on 5/4/2009 @ 8:51am
Crenshaw@ The minimum wage system used in the US is a huge magnet for illegal workers. The higher the minimum, the greater the attraction. The illegals know intuitively that there's a huge market for labor at sub minimum wages so in they come to exploit this voter approved economic phenomenon.

Seejane@ I would pity the fool who's self esteem is dependent on money as well. This discussion isn't really about money however. It's about the relationship between self esteem and unemployment. I would challenge that a person earning $6 and hour and doing a good job for his employer has higher self esteem than Bernie Madhoff, Doris Duke and Ted Binion combined.