Workers are partners, not slaves. Wages must have the power to provide a decent life.
The current economic system is the worst imaginable version of capitalism. In many aspects, it treats workers like slaves. As a matter of fact, one of the essential reasons for ending slavery in the US was an economic reason; it was not a purely ethical movement. With the advent of the industrial revolution, having workers was more profitable than owning slaves; they only pay workers salaries without having to meet their other needs such as housing and healthcare.
Nonetheless, our version of capitalism defined the word ‘worker’ as the person who works for the capital owner and is compensated for his work. As a consequence, the worker’s partnership in creating the profit is not acknowledged. Workers are partners with the capital owner; they work with his capital to produce a profit that must be divided fairly. The fair share of the profit when there is one worker using someone’s capital is around 50% for each. Again, workers have rights in the profit, their salaries must reflect this right. Our laws allow shareholders to exploit workers; they can take, in some cases, more than 10 thousand times what the lowest-paid worker makes. The problem of income inequality is a direct result of not acknowledging employees as partners who have direct rights in the profit.
Livable wages should mean that the lowest-paid worker can afford housing, clothing, healthcare and food for himself and his family without the need to be in debt. Balancing the expenses of life and wages are the state’s responsibility. Lowering living expenses is more practical than raising wages when we consider international markets.