Saturday, December 21, 2013


QUESTION:  Should Cannabis/Hemp Seeds be illegal/highly regulated/prohibited, regardless of the legal or medical status of cannabis?

Cannabis seeds contain zero levels of cannabinoids.  However, the bractlets which surround the seeds contain the plants' Highest concentration of cannabinoids (see picture). Even washing with an organic solvent can leave trace amounts of cannabinoids on the seeds. 
Interestingly, even after germination and the presence of the two "seed" leaves (cotyledons), the sprouting plant has no measurable cannabinoids. 
It is not until the first pair of true leaves appear that a measurable amount of cannabis can be determined.
SOURCE:   Starks, Michael (1990) Marijuana Chemistry. Ronin Pub: Oakland.
Archive photo from Bing Search.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Legalization Experiments: Colorado Compromises, Washington Misses the Point

Denver Scales Back Proposed Pot Rules

Click link to read the Article. 


Although the proposed regulations still violate I-64, (the initiative that legalized marijuana in Colorado) they are touted by the author as "compromise", which is a good thing.  It's most certain that there were unforeseen issues in the original wording of the legalization initiative, that in practice could create back-lash.  Open smoking would seem naturally disagreeable as even cigarettes are banned in most public areas.
Colorado's implementation of legalization seems to be a workable, sustainable model, though I would be interested in other opinions from those who deal with the Colorado system. 

I have been concerned and consumed lately with the failing Washington state system, which is rumored to be preparing to eliminate medical cannabis entirely, under the premise that medicalization is unnecessary because it is legally available.  With a tax rate of 75%, and a "like alcohol" model in a highly regulated "Closed Alcohol" state, this issue demonstrates how Tax and Regulate legalization schemes play into the agendas of the prohibitionists who want to keep cannabis illegal. Review 502, the initiative to “legalize” cannabis here.  Voters must have blindly trusted that the entity administrating the initiative would be fair, compassionate and reasonable, though many medical users are skeptical of the Liquor Board’s ability to manage medical cannabis.  The issues are complicated, however the legalization for recreational use was to have NO consequences on the medical marijuana program in Washington.  This has turned out to be untrue, according to LadyBud, an on-line cannabis news site.

 It is important for voters to understand the current laws in their state before creating new laws.  Although the Medical Cannabis industry in Washington was very much opposed to I-502, the initiative passed and within days was addressed by the Liquor Control Board, establishing their over-arching dominance in the production and distribution of cannabis in Washington State.

Thank you to Timothy Tipton for sharing the Colorado post. 

Amica G

The Green Association for Sustainability

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

TED CRUZ AND THE 2013 DEBT CRISIS: Notes on The Right and Duty to Revolt

Photograph by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
Senator Ted Cruz talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Sept. 25, 2013


The Right and Duty to Revolt
Have our elected representatives of the Goverment violated their Social Contract with the people who empowered them?

By Kimmarie Rojas

News Link on Debt Ceiling, Oct 2013

Once again news, editorials and pundits repeat claims with varying degrees of optimism that Washington is getting closer to a deal. It is generally agreed that any Senate "deal" will be a temporary measure to keep the government open until about January 15, 2014, and avert a global financial crisis.  Still, it places us in the same situation again in a few months.

On one end of the spectrum, Joshua Green of BloombergBusinessWeek writes that even if the Senate comes up with a deal, Ted Cruz (R-TX) could manipulate the Senate rules preventing the passing of any deal before the Thursday deadline[i]. Huffington Post[ii] contributors McAuliff and Siddiqui are cautiously optimistic that Congress can agree on a deal, but concerned that the legislative bodies will be unable to complete the complicated and fragile processes and procedures before the January 17th deadline on US borrowing capabilities. Also hopefully optimistic, Senator Schumer (D-NY) told Face the Nation that he believed a deal would be reached, citing the sequester cuts as a way to "spark a conversation", while Senator McCain (R-AZ) called the sequester a "sticking point" in negotiations.[iii]


With government services closed and only days from reaching the Country's borrowing limit, President Obama has taken to the podium in an attempt to define the terms that have divided Congress and shut down the daily business of the government, specifically, the cryptic verbiage of the complicated US budgetary system. Our elected representatives appear flippant to the consequences of a financial default, each party, branch and faction blaming the other while meting out fallacious arguments. 

The most frequent fallacy that these professional persuaders present is that of the false dilemma, claiming only two possible outcomes to the current Congressional/Executive stalemate over funding the government.  Yet any debater worth their premise understands that truth is multifaceted, and few issues are dichotomous: There are as many possible outcomes to any situation as the mind is capable of considering. Although we've been offered only two choices, there are infinite possibilities.

"The bounds of possibility, in moral matters, are less narrow than we imagine:  it is our weaknesses, our vices, and our prejudices that confine them" wrote Jean-Jacques Rousseau, an 18th Century philosopher whose ideas were set down in his political treatise "The Social Contract" (1769).  

"Clear them out and start over!" is an oft heard sentiment these days as the publics' frustration with their elected leaders grows.  The Congressional approval rating is under twenty five percent, and the majority of the Country is dissatisfied.   While Washington makes a weak attempt to reverse a self-created crisis, the public is becoming increasingly vocal for change. 

But how do we, the people, determine the course of action that would create a revolutionary change of political and economic power and policy?  How do we agree that the government has become untenable and undeniably broken? 

An understanding of the philosophies of free and democratic nations is essential, as is examining how other major paradigmatic changes have come about in the past. After more than Two Hundred and Twenty years, it is a generally accepted warrant that our Constitution is a brilliantly viable document that has proved its ability to create the greatest nation in the world. A cursory review of modern and contemporary political thought reminds us of the contentious and often bloody history of western democracy. Yet the paradigms of government by consent and the equality of man, delineate both a right and a duty to revolt against an unjust body politic. 

Fair and open elections combined with universal, unencumbered suffrage is the most effective, democratic, moral and nonviolent method for changing the members of the government.  On October 14, NBC News questioned if fair elections were even possible, claiming that assignment of districts have been Gerrymandered (manipulated to ensure specific party dominance), assuring re-election of the ultra-conservative minority.  Add to that voter apathy and the chances of electing an entirely new Congress becomes even more challenging.   

 Hobbes and Locke

Thomas Hobbes (b.1588-d.1679) is considered a founder of modern political philosophy, proposing his philosophical discourse on civil society and authoritarianism in his analytical work Leviathan. This, probably his most famous work, established much of the foundations of western politics. Leviathan also developed liberal democracy fundamentals, such as the right of the individual and the natural equality of all men. Hobbes' concepts supported representative government at the will of the people.

Hobbes believed that individuals entered into a social contract and civil society to avoid a state of war, with the instinct of self-preservation. The civil society described by Hobbes begins with the "state of nature", which Hobbes describes as "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short".  Hobbes supports this under the premise that men, being rational beings, desire both power and their own preservation; and, that men's greatest fear is a violent death at the hands of another human. To reconcile these axioms with the state of nature, Hobbes claims that man must relinquish his power to an authoritarian government.

The fallacy of this claim is ironically familiar to our present day Legislative-Executive standoff.  Hobbes gives citizens only two choices: either subjugation or a state of nature (anarchy).

Although Hobbes prescribes absolute authority to governments, he believed that the government derives its original authority from the people, and maintains this power only so long as it successfully keeps peace.  There is no place in Hobbes' society for revolution; however failure to adhere to the social contract voids it and returns society to a state of war.

By not providing for the financial solidarity of the Country, has today's Legislature voided their vow and larger contract to defend the Constitution, and their personal contract with those States they were elected to represent?

English philosopher John Locke (1634-1704) claimed in his Second Treatise of Government  that people have a duty to revolt against an unjust government. The right of a people to dissolve their government has been a generally accepted concept especially within the liberal democracy discourse.

Locke describes two ways in which governments can be dissolved. The first is from without, as when a nation is conquered by a foreign force and the society is dissolved. The purpose of a government is to protect the society from dissolution. If it does not, a breach of the social contract has transpired because it "ought to have preserved them from violence.”[iv]  

A second way that government can be dissolved is from within.  Locke claims that when the condition exists that has altered the legislature in some way, the government is then dissolved.  According to Locke’s principals, government can be dissolved when the legislature is no longer acting according to the rules it has set for itself, such as when a government refuses or neglects its executive powers and fails to enforce the laws in effect. Has the legislature voided the government by withholding the necessary elements for the executive branch to function effectively?

All members of Congress take a vow of loyalty to uphold the Constitution against enemies, "foreign or domestic".  What of the dissolution of society by a FACTION, foreign or domestic?  A domestic faction which has found its way into an elected body may be even more poised to dissolve the society without direct violence by influencing and blocking the necessary business of the Administration, causing widespread disruption and changes in the workings of the legislative process.

According to Locke, individuals have a right to prevent such happenings:  "The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property".  A government that has failed the duty it was engaged for puts itself into "a state of war with the people and are left to...force and violence" (qtd in Locke’s 2nd Treatise of Government).

The Contemporary Manifestation of Revolution

These philosophies, consent of the governed and the duty to revolt against an unjust government have been manifested in American contemporary politics as non-violent, passive-resistant direct action.  While the right and duty of revolution in modern history (16th-19th C.) reflects the violent dissolution of societies and their governments, contemporary thinkers harbor the concepts of social contracts and the duty to revolt as necessary to bring about non-violent political modernization of laws that are unjust and governments that have become unreasonable.

Henry David Thoreau

In 1848, Henry David Thoreau listed grievances against the American Government, not the least of which was the issue of slavery.  Thoreau claimed in his famous pamphlet Civil Disobedience that the current situation required "at once a better government" and reminded the American public of their right to refuse allegiance to a government which has become "unendurable".  Distinct in Thoreau's approach to the right of revolution however, was the concept of passive resistance. 

It is not a man's duty to eradicate "even the most enormous wrong", writes Thoreau of the issue of slavery, "but it is his duty not to give it practically his support." 

Martin Luther King Jr.

Thoreau's concept of revolt through non-violence was the cornerstone of Martin Luther King Jr.'s leadership in the Civil Rights Movement and contemporary manifestation of the duty to revolt without violence.  From a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated "direct action", a non-violent form of resistance, against Southern segregation laws. In Letter from a Birmingham Jail, King admonishes the white clergy for failing to support his organized resistance movement to illegal and unjust segregation laws in Alabama, and lists in graphic detail the suffered wrongs, this time by the Negro in the status quo government of Alabama.  King justifies his belief in non-violent direct action as the best recourse for righting civil wrongs by creating a crisis situation and establishing "creative tension" to force the Birmingham authorities to recognize their wrongful deeds and enter into negotiations. Letter was not only a call for support of the passive resistant movement, but also came to be a prescription for the implementation of a non-violent revolt.[v]

The Great Society Days

               The late 1960's and the early 1970's saw a great outpouring of reform literature, much of which called for a restructuring of administrative government. Social philosopher John Rawls had much in common with early philosophers, with an added emphasis of liberal democracy and the challenge of creating a "just society".  Like Hobbes, Rawls also believed that people act on self-interest; however, according to Rawls they are capable of acting rationally through planning.  Rawls' theories were presented just after the "Great Society" days begun by President Lyndon B. Johnson. During this period, the administration created and funded many new social programs, such as MediCare and Welfare. The repercussion of the Great Society programs was one of the most wide-spread anti-statism movements in history. Thus, his philosophy was criticized for supporting the foundation of the Welfare State, during the politically conservative era following the Great Society days. 

Contract with America

               The 1994 "Contract with America" was another symptom of a decline in the integrity of the American civil society and their social contract with the American Government.  Presented by then minority leader Newt Gingrich and Representative Richard (Dick) Armey, this ten-point legislative program promised reform in many federal programs, reversing the efforts of "The Great Society" days.  Based on a State's Rights argument, the Contract awarded large block grants in place of Federal programs into the jurisdiction of individual states. Presented six weeks before a Congressional election, the document laid out specific legislative actions it would take to reform the government, should the Republicans win the majority in the House of Representatives.  When the GOP took over the 104th Congress, they gave credit to the Contract with America, and chose Newt Gingrich as the new Speaker of the House.



Has our government become unendurable? Does the Legislative Body represent the American ideal?   Has there been a breach in the Government's constitutional and statutory compact with U.S. citizens?  Does a default of the Government's global contracts constitute a state of war among the populace and void authority?  How does a society agree on unjust laws and government? (See How does a society agree that a law is unjust?)

History proves the ability of a social contract to resolve or dissolve the creation of a political order. Review of political history and infrastructure reminds us of the fluidity of the political body and the issue of trust in those who have been granted power over the masses. Once again, the conversation surrounding government reform is growing. Yet for most, the workings (or non-workings) of the Federal government creates more questions than it does answers.




[i] Green, J. (2013)!
[ii] McAuliff, M and Siddiqui, S.
[iii] Kaplan, R.  ://
[iv] Locke, John, The Second Treatise of Government, chapter 19, paragraph 211.  Orginially publshed in 1690.  Reprinted by Prometheus Books: New York. 1986
[v] King, Martin Luther, Jr. (1963) Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

The Green Association for Sustainability

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The History of the Premise of GrAS

THE GREEN ASSOCIATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY was originally created as an archive and forum for essays, reports and other academic writings produced as an undergraduate and Master’s candidate at Northern Arizona University from 1997 through 2002. Upon graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Political Science major and a minor in Research and Statistics, the University offered me a full tuition waiver to the school’s first Graduate Level Liberal Studies program in the environmental sciences, entitled “Visions of Good and Sustainable Societies”.
When I began the Masters program in 1999, medical insurance and health care availability and cost containment were primary concerns among voters. In addition, the regulations surrounding addiction treatment were outdated and did not reflect current science or practice. There was also a call for parity in the insurance industry for mental health and psychiatric treatment, including addiction recovery. The millennial national election brought the issues to the forefront of the campaign, as a topic of conversation among candidates about how to fix the health care system, and a topic of contention on addiction treatment and punishment.
In researching my thesis, I became involved with an advocacy group that was supporting new guideline regulations for outpatient opiate addiction recovery. Authored by Senators Hatch (R-UT), Biden (D-DE) and Levin (D-MI), the bill failed to make it out of committee in 2000. The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 (DATA 2000) was passed the next year with much celebration , and a renewed hope for further changes to the harsh drug control policies of the United States.
Also nearly one year after elections, the Al-Qaida attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 changed the course of the Country’s agenda, and the election defining issues and political promises became moot points to be argued again at a later date.
Under the warrant that a “good and sustainable society” cannot exist without “good and sustainable people” and supported by the issues of inadequate addiction treatment and ineffective and punitive drug legislation, I hypothesized that the vision of a good and sustainable society included better access to health care, specifically addiction treatment, and significant changes in the U.S. drug laws including an end to the failed “War on Drugs”.

This is posted as static text at

Saturday, August 17, 2013

How does a society agree that a law is unjust? Some thoughts and ideas…

In a civil society, we take rules and laws for granted; they must exist in order to prevent anarchy, conduct business, and progress the state of humankind with civility. We also associate “laws” with the “government”, and the enforcement of those laws rests in a power that resides above us.

But what happens when the laws no longer represent the consensus?

What of laws that do not reflect the current social mores and tolerances of the times?

What recourse is available to the proletariat when those in power enforce rules that disenfranchise one or more classes of society?

How does a civil society agree that a law is unjust?

 Sarah Iozzio writes:
For me, the definition of an unjust law is a law that perpetrates more harm than it prevents. Getting society to agree to this definition would take more people waking up an(d) becoming aware of that harm rather than believing the propaganda of what that law is supposedly accomplishing.
Sarah’s first step is to create a definition. I also agree, as it seems reasonable to me that reasonable people would then find a reasonable argument compelling.

While publicly elected legislatures create most laws, they are administered and enforced through Executive administrations, and upheld by the court systems at both Federal and State levels.  This three tiered system of checks and balances is designed to prevent abuses, yet it is also slow and cumbersome, fraught with politics and plunders.

So even if we can get people to agree, can we get change?

In order to get people to agree that a law is unjust and therefore should be changed, the mindset that created the law in the first place must be denounced:  People will have to admit that they were wrong. Changing minds can be a difficult row.

I hope this has sparked some ideas of your own on what it takes to change a law that is unjust. The “Law” could be a local ordinance that limits the parking on your street, a State regulation that prevents a fair hearing in child custody, or a Federal policy of criminalizing cannabis. It doesn’t matter if it is at the local level or if it is a Federal issue, if the law is contrary to the social beliefs of the voters, how do we convince those whom we’ve elected to change their minds and champion our causes?

I appreciate your comments and ideas.  You may post them here, or on Facebook at or


k rojas

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Treatment of Disease with Cannabis and Restrictions to Research


Since the medicalization of cannabis in seventeen states, the number of disorders and diseases that have been legitimately found to respond to the use of medical marijuana has grown exponentially.  While the medical community originally assigned those with Cancer and AIDS as most benefited, and therefore the first to be prescribed medical marijuana, other diseases quickly followed, such as Hepatitis and Multiple Sclerosis.

Only because of social media has the anecdotal evidence of the many diseases helped by cannabis become so prolifically available.  In fact, many social phenomenons have been discovered through the study of social media. Some studies claim that the largest demographic of social media is the 30+ age group, which is also the age group most likely to be parents of school-age children.  Therefore, the largest number of "social" posts would be related to the lives of this demographic. On searching the internet, it is obvious that social media goes beyond Facebook and Twitter and into very specific issues, including medical information. 


Searching the term "ADHD BLOGS" on BING brings up nearly eleven million results.  Simply "ADHD" has nearly twenty six million results.  The search for "AUTISM BLOGS" resulted in 16.6 million responses.  That is 16 million social media sites for the collection of anecdotal data on Autism ( ) .  A search for "AUTISM" alone resulted in 42.2 million sites that discuss Autism.  According to the Autism Research Institute,  Marijuana has been used successfully to treat autism in many patients.  Their only warning to cannabis use is regarding the legality.

California's renewed medical distribution regulations in 2004 placed the determination of benefit at the discretion of the prescriber; Arizona's regulations allow for a strict schedule of qualifying diseases.  Until the regulation of cannabis is either removed or becomes universal (Federal), no standard usage and prescribing protocol can be implemented.



The lack of reliable research is one primary reason for the variance in states' prescribing regulations. "Current restrictions on marijuana research are absurd" wrote the editors of Scientific American.  Explaining the process, they argue: 
Any researcher attempting to study marijuana must obtain it through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The U.S. research crop, grown at a single facility, is regarded as less potent--and therefore less medicinally interesting--than the marijuana often easily available on the street. Thus, the legal supply is a poor vehicle for studying the approximately 60 cannabinoids that might have medical applications.

Even with medicalization, and even should state-level permission and funding be provided for such research, the working institution would be at risk of seizure of assets and prosecution by the Federal Government.  Still, the University of California hosts the Center for Medicinal Cancer Research (CMCR), a three year project funded by state legislation.  Just this week, the Governor of Arizona signed a bill into law allowing for Marijuana research at the three Arizona public universities (2013 Brewer signs...). Besides removing a regulation that prohibited marijuana on any of the universities, even if by a registered medical patient, the new law will allow University of Arizona physician Susan Sisley, to perform a rarely approved federal research project on the effect of cannabis on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  It is hoped this will pave the way for further federally approved research on cannabis treatment and other pschological and psychiatric disorders (2013 Arizona Governor...).  

The Green Association for Sustainability

Friday, May 10, 2013


If you had the power to change one thing in the world that did not affect you personally (forget stuffing your bank account with millions), what would it be? Why would you change it? What’s the most eloquent argument against changing it? What makes you believe the change would be for the better?  What would be the effect on a specific group of strangers?  What would be some possible unintended consequences?

Writing prompt: Gerard, Philip. Writing a Book that Makes A Difference. 2000. Storypress.  Cincinnati, Ohio. pg. 29.


If I had the power to change one thing in the world, it would be that Cannabis (Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis) was completely decriminalized and globally accepted as a legitimate agricultural, medicinal and industrial product. Cannabis flowers have extensive health properties that our ancestors used to heal and to thrive. The stalks of the plant can be used for tools, clothing, and shelter. The seeds are a nutritional foodstuff, contain all twenty-one amino acids and can be made into flour, oil, and nut butter. The Cannabis Plant has evolved next to humans, and has a natural and prolific environmental niche. The Cannabis plant is nature’s survival kit for humans.

The elimination of cannabis from the diets and consumption by humans may have contributed to the increase in certain illnesses and disorders that parents’ groups and scientists claim are from questionable etiologies. This includes allergies and asthma, and certain psychiatric disorders, such as ADD, hyperactivity syndrome, and Autism. The rise in these disorders and the increased efforts to eliminate cannabis use correlate statistically, which is the general rule by which alternative hypotheses are measured. The governments tight restrictions on cannabis purposely and strategically make research by even reputable universities and organizations nearly impossibly.

Even with the large increase in acceptance of cannabis, and the slow but general turn in the perception of cannabis as a healing substance, there are still many who passionately agree with the government’s reasons for not legalizing cannabis. Even though their arguments are often proved specious, the paradigms are deep rooted. For example, the “gateway theory”, or the idea that “marijuana leads to harder drugs” has been found to be untrue and after many years, is now a generally accepted premise. Still, this fact must be reminded to the public at every advocacy chance, in order to keep “urban myths” from spreading. The “DARE” program instituted by G.H.W. Bush, and still taught in elementary schools, is responsible for creating and spreading much of the misinformation about marijuana, and in 2012, the program wisely eliminated any mention of cannabis in the DARE program.

The abuse of any substance is a primary concern for those who are against cannabis legalization, and many medical marijuana supporters are against the general public legalization schemes. Their concern is valid: As a medication, cannabis is invaluable to many of them, and “legalization” threatens the medical paradigm. An example of this is the media portrayal of pot users as lazy hippie throw backs who are always high. A paradox lies in this imaging and the reality of cannabis use.  In reality, the benefits of cannabis as a medicine, a food source, or a sustainable material, outweigh any perceived risks.  The most notable risk of cannabis use lies only in it’s legal status, and the risk that the police will arrest, assault, or shoot you.  Decriminalization of marijuana would effectively eliminate the risk of death by cannabis use.    

The “regulation of cannabis like alcohol” is a popular legalization model, and has already been successfully passed by voters in two states: Washington and Colorado.  These states have very different alcohol regulations; however, Washington is a “closed” alcohol state, where all alcohol is sold and distributed directly by the state.  Colorado recently passed a bill implementing the rules for personal possession and commercial licensing, and plans for implementation are scheduled for 2014. Washington State is a “closed” alcohol state, and recently made news when the State solicited for and hired a Marijuana Specialist to administer the state-run dispensaries.  Both sides of the aisle are curiously and cautiously watching how cannabis will be distributed differently in the state-run alcohol system of Washington versus the private ownership model of Colorado regulations.  

While these regulatory schemes seem to be the only avenue to loosen the governmental grip on cannabis, they still provide complete governmental control and prosecutorial threat to users of cannabis, and do nothing to industrialize hemp.  The reintroduction of hemp would have a positive environmental sustainability impact on the world, but would compete with other industries, including the powerful cotton lobby and those industries responsible for massive deforestation. 

Cannabis Sativa, Indica and ruderalis are valuable plants inherent to the successful evolution of human beings.  The global state control of cannabis is a phenomenon of twentieth century politics, and its prohibition has no basis.  In fact, the loss of cannabis consumption by humans may have had deleterious effects on the human immune system, as well as psychological and spiritual well being.  Simply granting “concessions” is a small attempt at correcting the generational errors made in the early 1900’s.  The regulations that have snowballed into prohibition were originally racially and politically motivated, and furthered through fuel, agricultural and other global industrial interests.  Nothing short of the reversal of the racially and politically motivated regulations that created prohibition is required for the sustainability of humans in the coming age. 


c 2013 K Rojas

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why are Food Service Workers in the United States Not Paid a Fair Wage?

 Re-examining the Social and Economic Etiquette and Policy in the Present Economy.
A human interest feature exposing the struggle of Food Service Workers in states that allow for unlivable wages of $2.13 per hour for waiters and waitresses who also receive tips, was recently posted by Tom Loud, and shared to the Green Association for Sustainable Societies Facebook page.
Tom's comments were simple, concise and logical:  "Tip...(exclamatory)"   If it were only that easy! Yet if you believe the argument that working for $2.13 an hour in a hash house or lunch/dinner chain is acceptable because of the tips received, it is time to re-examine your paradigms of the decade's economic and social behavior.   

Probably the most compelling argument for raising the minimum wage for food service workers is that the procedure for determining the minimum wage is flawed. Low minumum wage states depend on the 'kindness of strangers' rather than a profit/loss or cost of living equation, to assure that an entire class receives a fair wage.  This fact is shocking and deplorable. The duty to assure that employees receive a livable wage should be on the state legislation to define and employers to implement.  It should not be the responsibility of the unassuming, and mostly uninformed public.

Food service wages seem to be lowest in the poorest states, where there is more poverty and people have less to tip, and are also less likely to tip as a social grace.  The Culture of Poverty theory would explain this behavior as systemic:  Perhaps, a non-tipper never saw their parents tip, so they have no model to reference.  Only by exposure does one learn the advantages of tipping a concierge or valet well.  The payoff for tipping waiters in coffee shops and dinner houses is minimal or non-existent, as the customer may have no intentions on ever eating in that restaurant again.

State laws limiting food service worker wages to unlivable lows should be changed for the simple reason that it is that State's responsibility to provide citizens the opportunity for the pursuit of happiness, equal employment, and a fair wage.  Previous economic etiquette spelled out strict guidelines of up to twenty percent in tips for everyone from the grocery boy to the milk delivery man (The What What man?). In the 2010's, with virtual access virtually everywhere, tipping has become both a lost art and an obsolete gesture that is at the subjectability of the customer.  It is no longer the rule, but rather the exception when exceptional service and an able customer meet.  The States that maintain these low minimums, and the food establishments that employ them must realize their responsibility to their workers and offer a livable wage.

The article regarding food service workers minimum wages:


For more information on "The Culture of Poverty", listen to or read this NPR program:
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The Green Association for Sustainability

edited 04/30/2013