Monday, May 10, 2010

Income Inequality

Who have the largest incomes?

The businessmen CEO's, the financiers and the lawyers. That is, those who hold the purse strings, and the power, pay themselves the most.

How is this ethical? They aren't the most intelligent or the hardest working or the most academically qualified.

It's bullshit.

Why do we let this happen? Because we just ignore it. We don't understand it. And we don't pay attention to it. Or, most usually, we buy into it, we see it as inevitable, so we accept it. In some sense we think that a person at the top can actually do the work of more than two people, but they (or we) can't. Nobody can. And certainly nobody is 'worth' more than two people, no matter what they do, no matter how 'popular' they are.

In the past we accepted the 'chain of being' and God-appointed superiority. But we're wiser now, or should be. This income discrepancy isn't about royal blood or meritocracy, it's about taking advantage, because, according to business philosophy, 'If you can take something (and get away with it) then you should'. While this collective belief prevails it's hard (and disabling) to do otherwise.

It's this atheism of ethics that we need to put a stop to, because it's not right, it's not acceptable to pay yourself more, just because you can. Nor is it acceptable to accept greater pay from those who have already bought into the system. "The market rate for the job", that's a con – the market rate for the job is an average of those who are given the job by those who control it, not a rate relevant to those who could do it but are never given the opportunity to.

And just because your product is more popular than others, does that make you 'worth' more than others? Am I a better, more valuable human because I've sold more than others? Was I worth more before that? Is a person worth more, a 'better person', because their product is worth more? Should the value from our contribution be in the realising of ourselves and our potential, or should it be in the fickleness of popularity and money?

Unfortunately, until we democratically agree to sharing, we are highly unlikely to share, because when it's not done together then those who do share are disadvantaged relative to those who don't.

So we need to make our policy mandate sharing and contribution, not selfishness and profit. Then the incentives and reward are in contributing as we best can where and when we see a need, and opportunity to do so is equal. Rather than the incentives being the fickleness of profit and selfish accumulation, with vastly disparate opportunity. (And moreover, organisation, with sharing, is by collaboration, not by required cooperation with a hierarchy.)


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