Do Greedy People Tip?

When I came out as an anarcho-communist in 7th grade, almost every single non-ad hominem response went along the lines of, “it’s a great idea in theory, but people are greedy, so it doesn’t work in reality”. I’ve witnessed students and teachers of all backgrounds give the same spiel.

Then why do people feel compelled to tip in a system that allows corporations to not feel compelled to pay a livable wage?

The question simmered in my mind while bicycling home today after spending several moments figuring out the tip I should leave my hair stylist.

Under capitalism, profits to the top must be maximized. Pay is determined by the threshold where the loss of the employee would cost the business more than the wage. People understand this, and with a federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 an hour, they redistribute their own income directly to the worker. It doesn’t change the product they receive, it only brightens the day of a fellow human. This isn’t greed. The hard right often talks up wealthy charity as preferable to welfare, while still insisting people are too greedy to collectively own the goods they produce. Libertarian socialism is neither charity nor welfare. It’s fixing the problem of inequality at its root. Greed is not an innate principal of humans, we’ve just created power structures that fosters it and removes the direct human element.

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