America — Before Debating Minimum Wage, Let’s Discuss (True) Privilege

$7.25 or $15 an hour is truly a first-world problem.

Pranshu "Maverick" Dwivedi


That’s where your clothes come from | Grfelts, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The federal minimum wage is a heated topic of discussion, and invariably invokes strong opinions on either side of the debate. There are arguments in favor of lifting the minimum wage to $15 an hour and how that is hugely beneficial for the vast proportion of the US population. While there are other arguments that the number is too high to be a “national minimum wage” given the regional disparities in the cost of living and other factors.

Why not a middle number? Why are we talking about going straight up from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour is beyond me, but I am sure there are other middle paths that have advocates as well.

But I don’t really care.

Why don’t I care though? It sure is an existential crisis that should concern everyone in the whole world.

But it isn’t and the world doesn’t and shouldn’t care. Let’s talk about some facts.

The world’s population as of writing this is around 7.9 billion people. The population of the United States of America stands at roughly 333 million — neat isn’t it?

That is 4.2% of the whole world — by definition the most “privileged” 4.2% of the world. Why is that so?

Here are some more facts and numbers.

$7.25 an hour comes up to $58 a day, and assuming a 5-day week and roughly 20 working days in a month, that is $1,160 a month.

Let’s talk about the rest of the world — and I’ll start with my own country, India. The second most populous country in the world with over 17% of the world’s population.

Internationally, an income of below $1.90 a day is defined as extreme poverty. $1.9 a day comes up to $57 a month, even if I count all 30 days. $57 a month — one dollar less than the DAILY minimum wage of an American worker.

By that definition — an appallingly low number, 13% of India still falls in the extremely poor category.

13% of 1.4 bn people are 182 million people. More than half of America’s population.

Imagine more than half of America’s…



Pranshu "Maverick" Dwivedi

Thinker, finance professional, loving husband, a doting dad, fitness enthusiast! MBA in Finance & Marketing and Comp. Science Engineer.