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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 81

"A Needs Standard."

"A Needs Standard."

The primary standard should be "the needs of the worker," and when I suggest this standard do not mean what the worker thinks to be his needs or what the employer thinks to be those needs, but the needs which society, through the Arbitration Court taking an enlightened view of the means available, of the worker's position and welfare, and of social interest, detns necessary or proper. This, as Hobson points out is the rationale of the labour movement in its struggle for a "living" or a minimum wage. This claim is the primary step towards the substitution a rational wage system based upon needs for the anarchic struggle of disordered competition, which only feigns to apportion pay according to individual productivity. A wage based or this standard is not a bare subsistence wage, but one which should allow for all those conventional decencies as are essential to a worker's self-respect. This can be fixed quite satisfactorily. (See for proof of this Ryan's valuable books on "A Living Wage."

In fact, so far as Wellington awards are concerned this basis constantly urged upon the Court as the proper page 12 [unclear: in] fact if not professedly [unclear: many] of the awards made [unclear: ewhere]. In the absence of [unclear: ed] standard, it is the one [unclear: as] more and more fully [unclear: er] expressly or inferen [unclear: standard] is not stationary, [unclear: ch] must increase as the [unclear: ard] of comfort rises with [unclear: wealth] and civilisation. Nor [unclear: is] a needs wage necessarily uniform for [unclear: all] trades and callings.