What level of income is needed these days in order to get by, or better still in order to have a decent standard of living? South Africa is moving in a positive direction towards implementing a national minimum wage, but there is concern about whether it will be sufficient to enable people to cover their costs of living. The amount required for an adequate diet is calculated by Statistics South Africa, but the costs of other aspects of life are less well established. This seminar comprises a series of short presentations with opportunity for discussions. The presentations will comprise: (1) recent findings on the incomes of those who do enjoy a socially-derived decent standard of living in South Africa, and the challenge of how to cost out such a standard of living in order to engage with debates on the adequacy of wages, social security and the social wage; (2) current work in the UK on the Minimum Income Standards (MIS) approach to costing out a decent standard of living, and how this work has been used to inform policy; (3) findings from a pilot of the MIS approach in South Africa; (4) insights from a parallel pilot of the MIS approach in Mexico. The seminar will conclude by identifying pragmatic steps towards costing out a decent standard of living, followed by discussion about the opportunities this will present for sharpening debates about thresholds of adequacy. BACKROUND DOCUMENTS AND PRESENTATIONS ARE ATTACHED.
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