Reddit users debate the comparison between minimum wage and slavery
Some Reddit users argue that minimum wage is slavery, while others disagree and bring up the history of indentured servitude and the current economic situation as counterarguments.
The discussion also turns to the US prison system and the racial demographics of US prisons, with chattel slavery still being legal under the 13th amendment in the US for prisoners.
“The minimum wage is, in effect, slavery,” one user says, while others disagree. “You get paid,” another user responds. “It’s indentured servitude,” they reply. “Indentured servitude is slavery.” The conversation then shifts to the US prison system and other countries where chattel slavery still occurs outside of prison.
“If you commit a crime, you can be put up for sale,” one user points out. “That’s true for anyone,” another replies. “Most people aren’t in prison.” “Most people don’t commit crimes,” another user adds. “The prison population is very high in the US, and the racial demographics of US prisons are very different from the racial demographics of the US as a whole.”
“The US has a problem with privatised prisons,” they continue. “Chattel slavery is legal under the 13th amendment of the US for prisoners,” another user adds. “It’s much easier to become a prisoner than it is to avoid being one,” another says, referring to the racial disparities in the US justice system. “That doesn’t make it any less immoral.”
“Define slavery and prison,” one user says. “Prison is a legal means of punishing criminals,” another replies. “It’s like the difference between renting and owning,” they continue. “Owning [someone] is slavery, and renting is prison.” “Prisoners are legally entitled to minimum wage,” another says, pointing out the difference between the US system and other countries where prisoners are used as slaves.
“We don’t pay people to be in prison,” a user replies. “We pay people to do jobs that they don’t want to do,” they continue. “If people didn’t want to work, we wouldn’t have a minimum wage,” another replies. “The minimum wage isn’t high enough for a living wage,” another says. “Bring back indentured servitude,” a user sarcastically replies.
“We’ve moved on from indentured servitude,” another user replies. “The fact that workers are sometimes paid less than they deserve is completely irrelevant to the slavery comparison.” “If people don’t want to work, they’re not slaves,” another says. “Well, they’re slaves if they’re being forced to work by the government,” they reply. “And they’re slaves if they’re forced to work by means other than the government,” they continue.
“The fact that some workers don’t get paid is an argument against the slavery comparison,” another replies. “How is it not relevant?” they ask. “Not getting paid is the whole point of slavery,” they reply. “We don’t have slavery in the US anymore,” another user says. “Well, we have the prison system, which is basically slavery,” they reply. “Slavery is too strong a word,” another replies.
“Just because slavery is illegal doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still happen,” another user points out. “It’s hyperbolic to compare minimum wage to slavery,” another replies. “The minimum wage is as close as we can get to slavery nowadays,” another user says. “The minimum wage does not make people slaves.”