The anti-capitalist mentality in action

There is an anti-capitalist Tumblr post by a person working in a restaurant being quoted on Twitter by various people. The person in question makes $12 an hour. This person claims the restaurant makes $30,000 per week. Then the person writes:

i’m not going to go into details, but after the costs of production (payroll for employees, rent for the building, maintenance, and wholesale food purchasing) are accounted for, the restaurant makes an estimated profit of $20,000 per week.

It is very unlikely that those are the only costs of running the restaurant. Other costs will include taxes, spoilage of raw ingredients, employee theft, the cost of looking for and hiring staff, the cost of marketing, the cost of borrowing money to keep the place running, the cost of inspections, electricity, gas, phones, laundry for staff clothing and a load of other stuff I don’t know about. Also, even if the profit from some of the owner’s restaurants is high he may have made other attempts to open restaurants, failed and lost a load of money on them: restaurants have a high failure rate.

More speculation follows:

the owner purchases rice at a very low bulk price of about 25 cents a pound. i cook the rice, and within a few minutes, that pound of rice is suddenly worth about $30. the owner did not create this value, i did. the owner simply provided the initial capital investment required to start the process.

The owner of the restaurant picked the location, which is very important to how much money the restaurant makes. The owner may also have decided what kind of food should be cooked, e.g. – Indian, Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese etc. He may decide what kind of clothing waiters and other staff wear, which affects what kind of customers will want to go to the restaurant. He may have made a load of other decisions too. And the owner has the option of reconsidering those decisions in the light of changes of circumstances. All of those decisions contributed to what people are willing to pay for that food.

The post writer continues:

the owner of my restaurant pays me the current minimum wage of my area, because to them, i am not a person. i am an investment. i am an asset. i am a means to create more money.

The owner of the restaurant isn’t treating his employee as an asset. If the owner was doing that he would lock the employee up at night with his property. Also, the owner doesn’t offer employment to the oven at the restaurant. He does offer his employee a job on certain terms and the employee could decline those terms. The employee accepted those terms. If the employee accepted terms he doesn’t like that’s not the employer’s fault.

One final quote:

when you are paid minimum wage, the message your boss is sending you is this: “legally, if i could pay you less, i would.”

That’s not true. It’s impossible for an employer to tell how much money an employee will make before hiring him. The employer has to guess and hope he doesn’t screw up too badly. He can sometimes criticise his guesses in advance by looking at the employee’s past record and so on, but people change and some people have no past record of employment. Maybe he would like to pay some people more and some people less but doesn’t want to put up with workplace politics that might result. Also, the employer has stuff to do apart from sit around thinking about his employees. After all, an employee is an adult human who is capable of standing up for his own value, or ought to be able to do that. And the employer isn’t responsible for fixing his employees.

The author of this Tumblr post has overreached: I know nothing about restaurants but found loads of stuff by thinking and doing Google searches that the post writer didn’t mention. The post writer only considers the parts of the restaurant business he wants to see. He likes being angry and having a high opinion of himself. He’s not doing well by his own standards and he prefers to blame other people rather than fix his problems. This is a common reason for anti-capitalism, as pointed out by Mises in The Anti-capitalist Mentality.

The writer of the post could learn stuff about salary negotiation if he wants more money. Part of successful salary negotiation involves being good at your job and understanding the market. He could learn more about how to run a restaurant and run his own restaurant. Or he could learn about some other occupation that would please him more or make him more money. Writing Tumblr posts about how his boss is screwing him won’t do him any good.

About conjecturesandrefutations
My name is Alan Forrester. I am interested in science and philosophy: especially David Deutsch, Ayn Rand, Karl Popper and William Godwin.

2 Responses to The anti-capitalist mentality in action

  1. if restaurants are an easy way to make a truckload of cash, he should start his own restaurant.

    if this restaurant is super profitable and this employee is important to that profit, he should negotiate a higher salary.

    if he’s an interchangeable dude with a bad attitude who’s only productive b/c of a good manager who has to monitor him… then maybe he should be thankful to get paid so well as he does. it’s not like he’s found any better job anywhere else…

  2. He works 8.3% less than full time and calls it full time. Based on his wage and yearly income.

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