It's Easy to Talk About Differentiated Minimum Wages

From the comfort of a heated office and after receiving thousands of dollars in salary at the end of every month, well-intentioned people are trying to take away from those who have nothing, the possibility of having a job.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


The indispensable struggle for the dignity in jobs and the eradication of slavery of the people living under a wild form of capitalism, has led to the introduction of minimum wages in modern societies.

But to the extent that the transformation of the methods of wealth production (goods and services) has allowed for the basic needs of citizens to be met in abundance, it has also enabled leisure time and more space to satisfy higher needs. This has led to increasing numbers of people moving away from actual forms of production of goods and services where, despite all of the progress, results are still sometimes good and sometimes bad, depending on whether there are droughts or floods, economic booms or financial crisis, and other events beyond rational control. For such people living in the modern age, remuneration for work done does not always depend on the results of the harvest.

The problem is that in our region, not all citizens enjoy those benefits of the modern economy, and many continue to live - or barely survive- in conditions of impoverishment which because they extend across generations, perpetuate their inability to join this much desired modernity. And it is clear that there are too many areas in Central America where there is no source of employment to enable its people to hope for progress and a way out of such extreme poverty.
See: "What Salary is Lower Than the One You Dont Have?"

In all Central American countries the minimum wage is a near continuous subject of discussion with bureaucrats in power always aligned on the side of those who want to increase it. The fact is that the salaries of most of them are based on a calculation which uses the minimum wage, meaning their own income would increase, incomes which are of course far from minimal.

In Guatemala the approval of differentiated minimum wages in some departments, and some productive activities, has not stopped this discussion, one which we aim to add to by provide our readers with an excellent analysis by the former Guatemalan Economy Minister Sergio de la Torre, who outlines "...... WHAT A DIFFERENTIATED SALARY IS AND WHAT IS NOT ".

Read "Minimum wages: The correct decision".

More on this topic

Guatemala: Victory of the Privileged

February 2016

Bowing to pressure from those who can choose what to eat every day, the Morales administration has repealed the differentiated minimum wage, denying the right to choose how to live to those who do not have that option.


President Morales has put an end to an initiative that aimed to attract investment to four municipalities by applying differentiated minimum wages, yielding to the the high profile power of those who, from the comfort of a heated office and while receiving thousands of dollars in salaries each month, feel that it is reasonable remove the possibility of having a job from those who have nothing.

Guatemala: Differentiated Salaries Suspended

January 2016

The Constitutional Court has temporarily suspended the authorization given by the Executive Branch to award differential minimum wages in four municipalities.

Despite being a measure requested by the local authorities themselves in order to attract investment and create jobs, the Constitutional Court has decided to temporarily suspend the authorization that was granted by President Maldonado.

What Salary is Lower Than The One You Dont Have?

April 2015

In the discussion taking place in Guatemala on differentiated wages, voices are being heard, speaking from the comfort of their desks, framing the issue as an all or nothing situation.


Juan Carlos Tefel, Director of the Board of the CIG and General Manager at Fogel, discusses with entreprenureal pragmatism but also social sensitibility the issue of the definition of differentiated salaries for some Guatemalan communities that have "a high rate of unemployment and 'real' income well below the minimum wage. "

Guatemala: Differentiated Minimum Wages Needed

March 2015

The Executive argues that foreign companies planning to invest in the country desist from doing so if they are not provided with tax incentives and the possibility of paying differentiated wages.

The Government is continuing to put pressure on Congress to approve the Investment and Employment Act which has been temporarily suspended due to several actions of unconstitutionality presented before the Court.

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