Two elephants complicate wage debate
Re Province steps up wage enforcement, Jan. 9
In the debate about minimum wage and Scrooge-like business owners, two elephants in the room are hardly mentioned. One is the runaway mission of most worldwide corporations to make money for their shareholders. More than ever before, their shareholders are us. Gone are the days when a self-made business owner could govern based on his or her own compassionate values. Most of us invest our hard-earned retirement savings in corporations and seek the highest possible returns. If the returns are low, we move our money elsewhere. Corporations hire cutthroat CEOs to deliver these high returns and, if they fail, they are turfed. If they succeed, they are rewarded extravagantly.
We forget that our folksy hometown Tim Hortons is now part of Restaurant Brands International owned by 3G Capital. They did not buy Tim’s for any other purpose than to exploit it for the maximum possible returns, no different than any other major corporation.
The other elephant is the god of cheap. We demand value and service but, when it comes time to reach for our wallets, cheap wins consistently. How many of us go online to buy something cheaper than it is in the local store or to find cheap hotel rates or the lowest-bidding airliner? How many of us use Uber over taxis, or Airbnb over established hotels?
The truth is we are on an irreversible path to a widening gap between the majority, who will suffer an ever-diminishing quality of life, and the corporate world, which has figured out how to profit from our own greed. Ken Ferguson, Toronto