Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Is change in the wind?

Chipotle Plans One-Day, 4,000-Worker Hiring Binge

Wall Street Journal, Monday, 24 October 2015, page B1

Part of the problem in the labor markets has always been that employers see workers simply as inputs to the production process.  As such, it is only the objective nature of work that is considered; from that perspective workers are paid as close to the marginal revenue product of labor that firms can estimate.  The employee's future is simply their own and no one in the firm really cares.

However, as we learn from the social doctrine of the Church, there is that subjective nature of work that must also be considered.  It is the subjective nature of work in which one sees that we are not made to work, that work was made for us.  The subjective nature of work teaches all that we are not simply inputs.  We become better off when we work.  Work involves creation of one sort or another and it is in creating that we more fully reflect being made in the image of God.  The subjective nature of work does not deal with output (that is the objective nature), it deals with the person and the development of the person.  The future of the person matters when we see the subjective nature of work.

Chipotle's increase in wages does partly reflects a new understanding of the objective nature of work.  The quantity supplied of workers at the current wage structure is below the quantity demanded for workers.

But note that the "war on talent" is causing these fast-food firms to address the person's development as a person; the future of the employee has become important to the firm.  Workers are seen as something more than mere inputs.  Tuition reimbursement makes the worker a more complete person with better opportunities in the future.  To be sure, these non-wage offerings are aimed to enable the worker to rise within the firm.  Yet, to the degree that something more than money is offered allows the employee to grow as a person and is a movement in the direction of being concerned with the subjective nature of work. 

That is encouraging. 

Of course, the increased wages are great, too!