I am unsure whether an increase in the minimum wage is the solution to my problems, but I am willing to explore the concept.
Can you explain why the increase will help you? More importantly, are you aware of the process that must take place in order to increase your minimum wage? Do you know what the process may look like?
So far, I have seen a lot of protest regarding the increase in minimum wage.
Protest implies that you are not in control of the problem. You require approval from a greater authority. An increase in the federal minimum wage may be a decision that is not in your hands, but is an increase in the federal minimum wage the actual problem that needs to be solved?
Understanding the problem
Do institutions seem to control your happiness? Do you think the politicians representing institutions are in control of how your life turns out? Is the outcome of your life the result of the decisions you make, or the decisions politicians make? Why do we have politicians?
A social entrepreneur does not gamble in politics. Especially not big money politics. She seeks to find her own truth. Reading a New York Times article, or watching a video in her Facebook feed is only the start of a long research process.
Let’s assume you get your wage increase. As you celebrate your victory, remember that the government has to figure out where the money will come from. If our government is already trillions of dollars in debt, asking for a wage increase could mean you’re asking the government to come up with money out of thin air.
As we have already seen on a number of occasions, the government prints money on demand in order to fund federal expenditures. As newly printed money trickles through the economy it decreases the value of all the money in the country because the new money’s value is questionable.
On April 19th, 1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) gave his first fireside chat. He announced that the US was going to abandon the gold standard. This decision may have been influenced by activities in England as well as the Great Depression, but we still broke the gold standard. That means we can print new money anytime we want. Since the value of money goes down as we print new money it means the dollar you receive in the wage increase actually may not be a dollar at all. It’s a manufactured illusion that makes people feel like they’ve gotten what they wanted. This is a process known as inflation. The cost of goods increases as the value of the dollar decreases.
Inflation is similar to watering down your martini. If your martini glass is half-full, you’ll need a refill soon. Inflation happens when you ask the bartender for another drink, but instead of going through the hard work of shaking up a fresh martini she simply pours a bottle of Poland Spring water into your glass and stirs it up a bit. Unless you were watching the bartender make your drink you would have no idea. Bartenders often make drinks behind the bar, or out of sight, and nobody thinks they have to monitor the bartender as she makes a drink. She’s the bartender. She knows what she’s doing.
The bartender brings you the new drink. “Oh thank you!” You’re happy now. You got what you asked for. After you swallow the first gulp you think to yourself, “Oh man, I must be getting drunk. I can barely taste the alcohol.”
Please note, do not try this at home. It is against the law for you to print money on demand in your own home. You will be arrested for counterfeiting and charged with a felony. Although, I’m not exactly sure if the law makes sense anymore since we broke the gold standard. I’m not sure why the government is allowed to print money, but the voters are not allowed to. I can’t blame the government for doing something wrong, though. When thousands or millions of Americans are demanding something, even if it’s not in our best interest, it makes sense to just give us what we want. It is similar to when our parents shut us up by giving us our bottle when we cried too much as a baby.
It might be wise to question the amount of time and money we spend to fight a battle against people who make decisions about our lives behind closed doors.
This a distraction by design. You will always be powerless if you believe you must vote for a politician who will then vote for your best interest. You don’t need politicians. Politicians need you. We need you.
What would a social entrepreneur do?
As you see from the deconstruction of the issue, a wage increase may not allow people to finally accomplish their dreams.
The social entrepreneur may approach this situation different than protesting an increase in the minimum wage. She looks at the bigger picture. She is curious. She asks questions about the issues people are fighting about. Is a wage increase really the solution? If a wage increase is the solution, what exactly is the problem?
A social entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily look at inflation as the government’s fault. She takes responsibility for not realizing the power she holds in her hands. She apologizes for demanding the government to spend money it does not have. If the people want solutions, the people need to know what the actual problem is first.
Instead of participating in the vicious cycle, a social entrepreneur would use the time and money she would have spent on the protest, and she would build a startup that reduces the cost of living. She builds a startup that adds value to society.
This is your country. You are the country. You are the economy. You are the government. You don’t need to ask anyone for permission to increase your quality of life. That is your job.
What did you do today that added value to your community?