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Mission Statement: I would like to see people develop and awareness for the issue of low wages and to help put measures and laws into place to ensure fare payment for workers. color_logo.jpg

Table Of Contents

I. Context

a. History of Low Wages
b. Causes of Low Wages
c. Victims
d. Policy
e. America
f. Perpetrators
g. Aid Agencies

h. Citations
i. Bibliography

I. Context

A. History of Low Wages:

Low wages are a form of workers rights being violated where employees in countries are not paid sufficiently for their jobs. It is an issue that has been going on for many years but has recently come to public attention due to popular products that are created by people in harsh working environments and unfair conditions.The International Labor Organization is a UN agency that has been issueing reports and createing decent jobs and opportunities for workers since 1919.

Minimum Wage: The first minimum wage law was introduced in New Zealand in 1894, and they were adopted by the U.S in 1938. [3]

B. Causes of Low Wages:

Big businesses set out to profit off cheap labor in areas of the world that do not have many laws to protect their citizens. These low wages allow manufacturers to sell their products for a competitive price around the world. Low wages even exist, however, in more developed areas such as Chinlowwages.jpga. This is because of over competition. There are so many businesses competing to sell the same products that they must lower their prices, and therefore can not afford to pay workers suffciently. In some cases overpopulation can also have an effect. With a large population of people looking for work they can either be unimployed or hired and paid less. Companies that support low wages are able to increase their prodcutivity by hiring many workers and paying them verry little to cut costs. Without regulations and organization, workers rights are abused to extream extents.

C. Victims:

The people most affected by low wages live in many of the world's poorest regions where they are not protected by laws or government protocol. This, however, is not always the case. Anyone trying to support a family with minimum pay employment can suffer financially. Women in particular are victim to low wages. Although there are some counter examples, women spend significantly more time unemployed then men, and when they work thier income is much lower. In many regions women earn roughly 20% less than men. [2]

Bellow is a link to a list of minimum wages per country:

http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/List-of-minimum-wages-by-country


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The unemployment rate in sub-Saharan Africa, the over all poorest region in the world, with 751 million people, was 10.9% in 2003. Unemployment, however harmful, is not always the issue. In circumstances where workers rights and wages are abused poverty thrives. Those who are employed but are still unable to lift themselves above the poverty threshold are considered "Working Poor". For many around the world low wages, not unemployment, are the cause of their situation. Although more common in develping countries, all countries have some unregulated cases. Out of the total number of people living in poverty around the world - approximately three billion are living on less than two dollars a day - at least 1.39 billion of them were employed in 2003. About 550 million of those lived in extreme poverty - on less than one dollar per day. [1]


D. Policy:

These actions are not easily corrected because of existing policies. Policy in most developed parts of the world is to have set workers rights and minimum wages. In poorer countries, however, wages are not always sufficient to live off of. It is these low wages that allow manufacturers to sell their products for a competitive price around the world. Without this competition, prices would rise and consumers in other countries would be hurt economically.

E. America:

While the real victims of this issue are the people whose rights are being abused and who are suffering from extream poverty, there is an opposing side to policy. Low wages in other countries do produce competition and allow cheap manufacturing, but they can also lead to unemployment in developed countries that are investing in these products. To save money, big businesses take their factories overseas and employ workers for much less than they would have to in America. As a result there are less jobs avaialable for American workers. Some argue that this exporting of jobs allows America to focus on creating more important exports and better paying occupations. Never the less there are still less opportunities for employment if jobs that would usually by done inside a country are taken elsewhere. Companies who relocate thier businesses to increase their profits may be bringing jobs to poor regions of the world, but it's not helping people to bring them employment if they arn't being paid sufficiently. It is becoming more common for companies to take advantage of the low wage employment across the world. Based of a recent report it is expected that 3.3 million jobs will leave the United States by 2015, and wages associated with those positions will reach $136 billion by then, up from $4 billion in 2000. [4]

F. Perpetrators:

No one country, government, factory, or business can be held accountable for low wages across the world. There are many differnt people and organizations responsible. Governments, or lack of governments,are one of the biggest contributers to low wages. There are not always sufficient laws and regulations in place to protect laborers. Big businesses that set out to profit off cheap labor in areas of the world that do not have many laws to protect their citizens are also responsible. They take advantage of the curruption and poverty that exists in some areas of the world in order to manufacture cheap products.

G. Aid Agencies:

Despite the efforts being made by some to continue with this practice, there are aid agencies and people trying the help those suffering in multiple ways. Some organizations, such as the International Labor Organization, combat low wages by spreading awareness through annual public reports. The ILO is funded through the United Nations which tries to keep the peace between opposing sides in any issue. Other similar organizations such as UNICEF give funding and aid to the people in underdeveloped countries that need it the most. Online loan companies such as KIVA provide an opportunity for average people to loan money to entrepreneuers across the world as they try to start small businesses and to earn a decent living away from the underpaid manufacturing employment. Fair trade organizations promote equal advantage trade partnerships that help to lesson poverty.


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H. Act Now!

Anyone can take action to reduce the issue of low wages. It is important to not stand by and do nothing while the rights of others are violated. There are many ways to help. You can make a difference by simply spreading awareness or joining an existing aid organization. Donating money to Kiva gives direct help to real people fighting poverty and starting their own business. Small loans can have a big effect. Act now to give others the right to have a decent living and financial stability for themselves and their families.



I. Citations


[1] "The Causes of Poverty and the Search for Solutions." Library Index. Web. 9 Dec 2009. http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/2663/Causes-Poverty-Search-Solutions-LOW-WAGES-WORKING-POOR.html.

[2] "Nominal Wages for Women." Fact of the Week. 19 March 2007. UNICEF, Web. 9 Dec 2009. http://www.unicef.org/factoftheweek/index_39100.html.



[3] List of Minimum Wages by Country. All Experts, Web. 9 Dec 2009. <http://en.allexperts.com/e/l/li/list_of_minimum_wages_by_country.htm>.

[4] Golub, Stephen. "Does Trade With Low-Wages Countries Hurt American Workers? ." April 1998. Web. 9 Dec 2009. http://www.phil.frb.org/research-and-data/publications/business-review/1998/march-april/brma98sg.pdf.

J. Bibliography

"Nominal Wages for Women." Fact of the Week. 19 March 2007. UNICEF, Web. 9 Dec 2009. <http://www.unicef.org/factoftheweek/index_39100.html>.

"The Causes of Poverty and the Search for Solutions." Library Index. Web. 9 Dec 2009. <http://www.libraryindex.com/pages/2663/Causes-Poverty-Search-Solutions-LOW-WAGES-WORKING-POOR.html>.

List of Minimum Wages by Country. All Experts, Web. 9 Dec 2009. <http://en.allexperts.com/e/l/li/list_of_minimum_wages_by_country.htm>.

Welcome to the Fair Trade Organization. 2007. Fair Trade Organization, Web. 9 Dec 2009. <http://www.fairtradefederation.org/>.

Anderson, Tania. "Reaching Out to Low-Wage Countries Local Tech firms find a source of savings off shore." Washington Business Journal (2003): n. pag. Web. 9 Dec 2009. <http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2003/09/29/focus1.html>.

Golub, Stephen. "Does Trade With Low-Wages Countries Hurt American Workers? ." April 1998. Web. 9 Dec 2009. <http://www.phil.frb.org/research-and-data/publications/business-review/1998/march-april/brma98sg.pdf>.

Greenhouse, Steven. "Low-Wage Workers are Often Cheated, Study Says." New York Times 1 September 2009: n. pag. Web. 9 Dec 2009. <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/02/us/02wage.html?_r=2>.

"SANTA'S WORKSHOP." Web. 9 Dec 2009. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6733564947664645042&hl=en#.