I agree. Many people put the onus on the cleaner for not negotiating and checking out “market rates” for her job. But if all employers made a deliberate effort to hide the true value of demand, how can it even be a fair negotiation.
Yes, that’s how life is now. But what I want to beg everyone to do is to not accept this as what’s morally right. I believe you know this. But over the past few days, I’ve been shocked at how many people justify this fair with, “This is how businesses run, you can’t say it’s fair or not.” Why think normality absolves anything from moral evaluation?
Lastly, it’s not entirely capitalism’s fault. When I found out my employer pays me 14% of his charges — I’m teaching, by the way — I was outraged. Not by the system, but by his deliberate effort to hide how much he’s charging my students. That alone has stripped me a lot of my negotiating power. When I confronted him, he said the same thing: “You can’t think of it [as fair or not], you have to think of it as a business.” He went on to compare my job as a Starbucks worker. This has isn’t much of capitalism’s fault. It’s more of our diminishing and corrupted sense of morality: we’ve somehow granted certain behaviors and actions moral sanctuary.
This is the same mindset that led to the Holocaust, by the way.