Dialogue:______read aloud in pairs
A: Do you think that the class system still exists in Britain... I mean, is there an
upper, middle and working class?
B: Well, I think the terminology is a bit out of date. You see, many top managers
regard themselves as workers. That said, there's definitely a group of people who
are disadvantaged and you'll find them living on welfare benefits such as income
A: Do they have jobs?
B: Yes, many of them do, but their employers don't pay them a living wage. It's a
scandal, because many pizza parlours, pubs and burger bars are really being
subsidized by the Government.
A: How come?
B: Because nobody would be able to accept jobs in these places if they didn't
have their incomes topped up by the state.
A: What would happen then if state benefits were cut completely?
B: You'd get an underclass of people who would be forced to turn to crime in
order to support themselves and their families. Such a group probably already exists.
There's probably a good argument for raising income support.
A: But surely, if you raise benefits too high, people wouldn't bother to work.
Once the level of the benefit is higher than their take-home pay, why should they do a
B: Precisely, but the answer isn't to remove benefits from those who really
need them. The solution is to compel all employers to pay a minimum wage. Then you
will increase the incentive to work and the state wouldn't be subsidizing businesses
which wouldn't otherwise be viable.
A: You mean these enterprises couldn't exist were it not for exploitation of the
B: Well, some of them could probably survive, but their profits would certainly
be lower. A lot would depend on the level at which the minimum wage is set.
A: Of course, there's nothing to prevent burger bars from moving to other parts
of the world where labour is cheaper.
B: But, who cares if they do? As long as there's a market for fast food in Britain,
someone is going to set up shop. There may even be an increase in co-operatives
where employees and customers have a share in the profits. Do we really need big
conglomerates running our economy, when really "small is beautiful"?