What a weird phrase? That’s what I thought a few weeks ago when I first heard it in an American interview. Just say it out aloud: HUMAN CAPITAL STOCK. That’s all of you guys who are employed. You are human capital stock. You are digits on a balance sheet.
Imagine being 21 and working in a place that pays £8.20 for an hour of work. Now imagine being 18 and getting £6.45 or being 16 and getting £4.55 for the same work. Let’s add another layer to this. Your employer lets you know each Sunday around 10pm when and how many hours you are working in the following week. It’s a chaotic nightmare. An awful reality. But it is the reality for many people in the Metropolis.
Several points wind me up about this reality. Firstly, how are people meant to live on £8.20 per hour? The inconvenient fact is, that this would make £328 per week in the Metropolis? Secondly, why do 18 year olds earn even less than that? Last time I checked, landlords, electricity companies and supermarkets did not have different rents, charges or prices for different age groups. Thirdly, what’s with those crappy 0 hour contracts? This is some devilish invention which works in favour of the boss.
How can you ever plan on a 0 hour contract? Such practises should be banned. If a business cannot plan ahead then its not worth running. If a business does not make enough money to pay proper wages and also apply decent working conditions, then it is a self-indulgent hobby and not a business. Give people a proper contract or do the bloody work yourself.
How do we as a society allow this to happen? What bothers me is how people defend this short changing of employees. And no, I don’t accept the excuse of “well it’s great for students” or the other one “young people live at home”.
No! If one group gets exploited, then they come for you next. Those people are contaminated by greed. People who justify those terms are often the very people who build their lives on the back of the low paid human stock capital on very insecure working arrangements. Supermarket workers or delivery drivers keep stuff running for those people justifying the pittance of money given in exchange. Nannies and cleaners who have the backs of those apologists who climb up the career ladder and drink a cocktail after work which equals two hours work for their human stock capital.
Have you ever heard of the LOW PAY COMMISSION? The name tells you all there is to know. They advise the government each year on the national minimum wage and the national living wage. They don’t make this up airy fairy. No, they use the median wage to make recommendations. From this we know many of us do not earn enough.
Where is the outrage over the age restrictions? Where are the marches outside Parliament contesting those wages and working conditions? Where is the noise from underpaid teenagers, parents, trade unions, political parties? The silence is deafening.
The system is messed up when big businesses charge you half an hourly wage for a coffee and then don’t pay taxes. The system is messed up when we need a commission with the name Low Pay Commission. The system is messed up when some of us think it is acceptable to pay the very people who give us the freedom and time to pursue our careers such crappy wages in return.
#observationsfromthemetropolis #felicityfauxpas #0hourcontract #minimumwage #humanstockcapital