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Business, Fairness, and the Universal Living Wage

Homeless person, cat, and a painting

We mentioned the interview that Wayne Hurlbert conducted with the House the Homeless founder Richard R. Troxell. It is worth mentioning again, because Hurlbert, the host of Blog Business Success Radio, also published a very comprehensive review of Looking Up at the Bottom Line. He writes like a person who has thought long and hard about the economic issues surrounding homelessness.

Like many other readers, Hurlbert paid particular attention to the part where Richard talks about fairness in the workplace. Think about it. When is the last time you heard anybody talk about fairness? Anybody over the age of seven, that is. Kids are learning about the world’s unfairness before they even discover the truth about Santa Claus. Fairness has become as rare as the unicorn. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

For starters, we can each take charge of making sure that fairness exists in whatever little corner of the world we hold sway over. In our daily interactions, we can be fair. Parents can do it, teachers can do it, and yes, even business people can do it. We have all known managers, supervisors, landlords, and business owners who have brought fairness into equation.

Life may be unfair, but people can choose to be fair, and every time we choose fairness, “life” gets a little bit less unfair. In fact, that’s all the more reason why we should try extra hard to be fair, to counterbalance the general tendency of life to be unfair. Seeing this, other people catch on to the fairness concept. This is how the world gets changed, and it’s as true in the struggle to end homelessness as anywhere else.

Many laws and regulations work against the potential success of people experiencing homelessness, and this must be as true in Hurlbert’s town as in Austin (and innumerable other places), because it is one of the aspects of the book he mentions in his review. He also notes, and this must also be true in a lot of places, how government agencies, while necessary and helpful, can sometimes go astray. There is such a thing as too much help, or rather, help applied in way that negates its usefulness. It can create unhealthy dependency, rather than building self-reliance, which should be the true goal. The reviewer says of Richard’s book,

The author shares stories of people without homes, attempting to change their lives through hard work, but unable to escape the homeless trap… The author shares a personal memoir, stories of real homeless people, and provides an alternative to social programs that reaffirms the dignity of people, helps the economy, and saves money for the taxpayer.

This is the aspect that a lot of people want to read it for — to find out exactly how the Universal Living Wage can help businesses, boost the economy in general, and especially, take less from the taxpayer’s pocket. And while doing all this, it will also end economic homelessness for over a million people and prevent economic homelessness for all 10.1 million minimum-wage workers. What’s not to like? Here is the message as Wayne Hurlbert rephrases it:

The Universal Living Wage adds money to the economy, increases spending and consumption, assists landlords in filling their rental units, and lowers the amount of taxpayer funds needed to sustain the formerly homeless person. The principle transforms people from needing social services to becoming taxpayers and supporters and full members of the local economy.

Just to drive the point home, this review, which highly recommends Looking Up at the Bottom Line, appears on a website called Blog Business World, and was written by a man who knows something about business, and who sees the Universal Living Wage as a win-win proposition. “The concept works for everyone,” Hurlbert says.

So please become a force for a better future by informing yourself about the Universal Living Wage by reading the book, or by listening to the excellent interview, or better yet, by doing both.

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Source: “Looking Up At The Bottom Line by Richard R. Troxell – Book review,” Blog Business World, 12/05/10
Image by rduta, used under its Creative Commons license.