Active Thinking Topic 47 - What is a Fair Wage?

Monday 19 December 2022, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Any replies to the organizer -

Venue: Cafe Brunelli, 187 Rundle St, Adelaide CBD, South Australia

Talking Points

>>> Here are two mini-articles for ‘A fair wage in Australia’ AS GENERATED BY THE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PROGRAM, ChatGPT at  : A FAIR WAGE IN AUSTRALIA [Thor, comment: This new version of ChatGPT is extraordinary, and a bit scary. I challenge anyone to pick that the writing is non-human]

1. What is a fair wage? Hey, what do you mean by fair?

2. A minimum wage, a living wage, a fair wage - how might these concepts differ? Which one should prevail, and when? What is wage justice?

3. Who thinks they are paid too much? Who do you think are paid too much? How much is your time worth?

4. Think of a quick history of income distribution in Australia (and elsewhere). What lessons can we learn?

5. What is the legitimate (and illigitimate) role of interest groups (e.g. employer groups, business councils, labour unions, professional groups etc) in determining income distribution?

6. What actually is the distribution of income and profits in Australia? How has it changed over time?

7. How viable is the idea of a Universal Basic Income? [= a minimum income provided to all citizens regardless of employment status]. What is the history of UBI?

8. How mobile are people when it comes to seeking income? Who chooses to move, who is made to move, and who refuses to move?

9. What are the kinds of people who actually create employment opportunities for others? What are their typical feelings about paying people fairly to work for them (if there are typical feelings about this) ?

10. What do self employed people seek which is different from those who just want a job?

Extra Reading

Tom Lowrey (27 November 2022) "Controversial IR laws set to pass parliament, with tweaks for small business and 'game-changing' reviews for JobSeeker". ABC News @ 

Thor May (2013) "A Universal Basic Income. $400 per week indexed to the CPI". Passionate Skeptic website @ 

Thor May (October 2013) "The Precariously Employed - - that's you, today or tomorrow - A Search for a New World Order." Passionate Skeptic website @ 

Thor May (2014) "The Problem of Work and the Rise of the Precariat". Passionate Skeptic website @ 

Thor May (July 2013) "Ethical Behaviour is Harder for the Rich". Passionate Skeptic website @ 

Thor May (2012) "The Contest for Competence". Passionate Skeptic website @ 

Thor May (2003) "The Case for Favoritism". Passionate Skeptic website @ 


References for ‘A fair wage in Australia’ AS GENERATED BY THE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE PROGRAM, ChatGPT at 

1. Australian Council of Trade Unions, "Living Wage Australia," accessed September 11, 2021,
2. Fair Work Commission, "National Minimum Wage," accessed September 11, 2021, 

3. Australian Government Department of Social Services, "Living Wage," accessed September 11, 2021, 

4. Australian Bureau of Statistics, "Household Expenditure Survey," accessed September 11, 2021, 

5. The Conversation, "What is a living wage and why is it important?" accessed September 11, 2021,

6. "Fair Work Commission Announces Annual Minimum Wage Increase for 2019-2020." Fair Work Commission, 18 June 2019,  .

7. "Living Wage Australia." The Australia Institute, 2 July 2019,  .

8. "ACTU Calls for $21.15 Minimum Wage." Australian Council of Trade Unions, 17 May 2019,$2115-minimum-wage .

9. "Why a Living Wage is Good for Australia." Living Wage Australia,  .

10. "The Economic Impact of a Living Wage." Living Wage Australia,  .

11. "Minimum wage and modern award pay rates" - Fair Work Ombudsman: 

12. "Living wage" - Australian Council of Trade Unions: 

13. "The economics of a living wage" - The Australia Institute: 

14. "Why fair wages matter" - Oxfam Australia: 

15. "The importance of fair wages" - Fair Work Commission: 



What is a Fair Wage? (c) Thor May 2022

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