Towards a living wage

Towards a living wage

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A living wage is, “A wage rate that should provide households with a minimum acceptable standard of living” (the Living Wage Foundation).  Whilst the language may be new to South African’s, it is not a new concept.  Plato (c.428 – 347 BC) writes about the dignity of work.  Smith (1776), in Wealth of Nations, the book that offers one of the world’s first collected descriptions of what builds nations wealth, argues that growth achieved through increased productivity could bring higher wages, which, in turn, delivers benefits for society. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights (Article 23), adopted by the United Nations, states that:

“Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for [them]self and [their] family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.”


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