World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
Photo: Getty

Hey, people with jobs: Have you been feeling like you just have too many rights? Like your wages are too high, or your boss doesn’t have enough freedom to fire you? Probably not, because this is America. But the World Bank has decided that developing countries are at risk of protecting their workers too damn much.

A draft of the bank’s World Development Report reviewed by the Guardian argues that “less ‘burdensome’ regulations are needed so that firms can hire workers at lower cost,” according to the paper. One of the report’s suggestions: “the right for employers to opt out of paying minimum wages if they introduce profit-sharing schemes for their workers.” Sorry, not to be picky about it, but aren’t wages.... kind of... if you think about it... a profit-sharing scheme? Like, a pretty big one, with a whole formal infrastructure and whole companies dedicated to payroll, and things?

The draft report warns that as what we consider “work” and “jobs” changes, with robots and the rise of contracting and all that good shit that I love, “[h]igh minimum wages, undue restrictions on hiring and firing, strict contract forms, all make workers more expensive vis-à-vis technology.” First of all, never say vis-à-vis again. That’s banned, I banned that. More importantly, that’s so incorrect it hurts. Workers are going to need more protection as technology makes them more replaceable; they will need stronger social safety nets, like health coverage and unemployment insurance, but also higher wages to make it less painful when individual contracts end.

In a truly evil twist, the paper argues that workplace regulations actually “protect the few who hold formal jobs while leaving out most workers.” See, they’re on the side of workers! Workers want to be able to be fired for no reason or paid 20 cents an hour, for flexibility!


The paper is mostly aimed at developing countries, according to the Guardian. These are places where worker rights and wages are typically even more precarious than they are in our fucked up crumbling hypercapitalist hellscape. Because remember: different places have different safety rules, and that’s ok.