Do we need a worldwide minimum wage? We ask an expert

Economic anthropologist Jason Hickel considers the idea that, as businesses become more global, workers’ rights should, too

When P&O sacked 800 of its workers with the intention of replacing them with agency staff, including foreign workers allegedly paid less than minimum wage, it sparked an outcry. As businesses become more global, shouldn’t workers’ rights, too? I asked Jason Hickel, economic anthropologist and visiting senior fellow at LSE, if it’s time for a global minimum wage.

Am I right in thinking that when people discuss the global minimum wage, they’re not saying everyone on the planet should be paid the same?
That’s correct. Some people propose setting it at 50% of each country’s median income. Others, and this is my preferred option, propose that it should be pegged to decent living standards in each country. So whatever is required to access good housing, healthcare, education, water, electricity, internet and so on.

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