Living wage: The salvation of the retail economy

While the forthcoming increase in the minimum wage has workers rejoicing and retailers grimacing, the living wage debate continues to fester. Widely demonized as a euphemism for Socialism, the idea of offering entry-level employees salaries that encourage long-term job loyalty may well provide the solution for many of the problems currently plaguing the retail world.

The current epicenter of the living-wage debate is the Kingsbridge Armory, a former military installation located in the Bronx section of New York City. Largely empty since 1994, the building's owner -- the city of New York -- is in the process of negotiating its transformation into a major shopping center. As Reliant, the proposed developer, works out the details with city government officials, local activists are pushing for a living wage requirement for retailers hoping to use the facility.