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poverty and protective services


mtomom
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I think I remember reading about it when they sold. I can't understand why it has to be a matter of finding someone to work for on 5 times the lowest.....why not up the lowest salary until the top reaches what someone is willing to work for,

Because not enough people would be willing to pay enough for ice cream to cover wages for all employees that were that high.

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I agree it is. I have no issue with profit in a healthy and ethical format.

 

But yes, there is such a thing as too much. Profit in excess is unhealthy. As for where that line is, I put forth the suggestion of starting with redistributing some of the excess at the top 3%.

 

Would you exempt the business owners who are already doing good with their wealth and profits?

 

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The question is, what happens if we change the rules and assumptions of the community as a whole.  How would it behave differently?  How would it cause individuals to behave differently?  

 

Why don't you try it out and report back?

 

Because for one thing, we'd all be dead before the results could be known.  It takes pretty long to change the way communities think about basic structures.

 

It's fun to theorize and chat about all these idealistic what-ifs.  I did it lots when I was younger.  Problem is that it doesn't feed hungry people.  It doesn't educate children.  I'm for doing stuff that works now.  I feed, clothe, and educate children.  I employ workers at fair wages.  I invest to help people with possible dreams make their dreams come true in this lifetime.  I clean up depressed neighborhoods so people can feel a sense of pride today.  And a lot of other business owners do as well.

 

It would be nice if these things could be done without also swimming upstream all the time thanks to biases and counter-interests.

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I am not following this.  It seems to me as if you have been arguing that it is immoral for a business owner to get some extra % each year because that would be profit.  Is it OK for the owner not to get the extra % each year but get a return for the business when he sells the business?  If so, then it doesn't seem as if you are arguing that a profit is immoral, it just depends on how you take that profit--taking a bit each year would be wrong, but not taking it until you sell the business would be OK. 

 

The business is a thing you are selling, which you own.  Like selling your shoes when you are done with them.  Why would you not get the $$ for it?

 

That has nothing to do with charging some extra amount to the customer, or cutting costs like salaries or environmental protection, to take that money for yourself.

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Would you exempt the business owners who are already doing good with their wealth and profits?

 

No I wouldn't. I don't care what they are doing with it, it's unreasonable to have 3% of the population controlling the majority of policy and finance for our society. That they seem nice enough folks has nothing to do with it. That was the argument of various forms of elite throughout history. "But I'm a nice one! I'm good to the serfs!"

 

No dice for that argument.

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Actually, Ben and Jerry's was not successful at keeping the pay ratio 5-to-1.  They could not find talent that was willing to work for that and raised it to 7-to-1 and up from there until it was finally 17-to-1 before they sold to Unilever.

 

The point is that no one has to own a business.  They can retire rather than work for only 5 times more than the lowest paid worker.  

 

That is too bad.  I suppose that is why many people think this sort of thing should be legislated, and the model is prone to become corrupt.

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No I wouldn't. I don't care what they are doing with it, it's unreasonable to have 3% of the population controlling the majority of policy and finance for our society. That they seem nice enough folks has nothing to do with it. That was the argument of various forms of elite throughout history. "But I'm a nice one! I'm good to the serfs!"

 

No dice for that argument.

 

Well good luck with that then.  In countries who have done it your way, they just traded business owners at the top for corrupt administrators, and traded the general "getting by with some hope for better" for widespread poverty with no hope for better.

Edited by SKL
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Well good luck with that then. In countries who have done it your way, they just traded business owners at the top for corrupt administrators, and traded the general "getting by with some hope for better" for widespread poverty with no hope for better.

That's flat out not true. That's what they get with your method. Because every despot thinks they are a great charitable good guy who should get exceptions because they are doing what's best for society.

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Why don't you try it out and report back?

 

Because for one thing, we'd all be dead before the results could be known.  It takes pretty long to change the way communities think about basic structures.

 

It's fun to theorize and chat about all these idealistic what-ifs.  I did it lots when I was younger.  Problem is that it doesn't feed hungry people.  It doesn't educate children.  I'm for doing stuff that works now.  I feed, clothe, and educate children.  I employ workers at fair wages.  I invest to help people with possible dreams make their dreams come true in this lifetime.  I clean up depressed neighborhoods so people can feel a sense of pride today.  And a lot of other business owners do as well.

 

It would be nice if these things could be done without also swimming upstream all the time thanks to biases and counter-interests.

 

Best keep things as they are, even if it isn't working - it's too hard to change? 

 

That does seem to be the way you approach every suggestion for changes to improve society.  We can't have better healthcare, we can't change even the way we think about the purpose of economics, because it might take too long.  Even if others have done it.

 

I don't think I'm the one who thinks people are immoral and incapable - I think they can do a whole lot better than that and usually want to. 

 

If what we have now is so great do you really think that is the attitude that got us where we are?  Let's not try that?

 

As for this business of wealthy people using their money for good - if they are getting that money through some kind of unfairness, and that does not mean they want to be unfair, only that the economic system creates that situation, does that really make it ok?  

 

What makes you think they know better than those the money came from?  Why should it be the wealthy person who gets to decide how to improve people's lives?  For what kind of moral or even practical reason should we have Bill Gates deciding how large amounts of "good works" are being done?   If it really is his wealth, well and good, but it isn't an excuse for any kinds of problems the Microsoft corporation has had.

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For those who are confused, Bluegoat and a few others are using a different definition of "profit" than pretty much everyone in the country. Most of us view profit = revenue - expenses, so the business owner's profit is his or her pay that year. If expenses are more than revenue, there is a loss and they don't earn any money. In their view, the business owner lists his or her salary as an expense and profit would be anything left over after that. (I don't know how they classify any leftover money that is saved for reinvesting in the business in the future. Is that stealing from customers in their mind?)

 

I guess in their view, a business owner must have consistent pay and having a good year shouldn't result in more pay because that is theft from employees who should get more pay or customers who should pay less.

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No I wouldn't. I don't care what they are doing with it, it's unreasonable to have 3% of the population controlling the majority of policy and finance for our society. That they seem nice enough folks has nothing to do with it. That was the argument of various forms of elite throughout history. "But I'm a nice one! I'm good to the serfs!"

 

No dice for that argument.

 

I just want to reiterate this:

 

1% of the population controls 40% of global wealth.

 

10% of the population controls 85% of global wealth.

 

Getting into finance is now the way to make money and is an increasing portion of the economy.

 

This isn't a discussion of whether someones family business is taking more than the cost of production, or whether another gives back to the community.

 

This is about a worldwide system that has created hugely unbalanced results, a system that is to a significant degree out of control, and which is grossly unjust - one where individual actors seem to have little or no influence.  

 

A system that has an ocean that may soon contain more plastic than fish and is dealing with major changes in climate that will cost billions of dollars and destroy the livelihoods of many.

 

Either most people are evil, or there is a systematic problem.

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For those who are confused, Bluegoat and a few others are using a different definition of "profit" than pretty much everyone in the country. Most of us view profit = revenue - expenses, so the business owner's profit is his or her pay that year. If expenses are more than revenue, there is a loss and they don't earn any money. In their view, the business owner lists his or her salary as an expense and profit would be anything left over after that. (I don't know how they classify any leftover money that is saved for reinvesting in the business in the future. Is that stealing from customers in their mind?)

 

I guess in their view, a business owner must have consistent pay and having a good year shouldn't result in more pay because that is theft from employees who should get more pay or customers who should pay less.

The bolded is exactly what some of us are disagreeing with. :)

 

It's not "theft."

Edited by Catwoman
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For those who are confused, Bluegoat and a few others are using a different definition of "profit" than pretty much everyone in the country. Most of us view profit = revenue - expenses, so the business owner's profit is his or her pay that year. If expenses are more than revenue, there is a loss and they don't earn any money. In their view, the business owner lists his or her salary as an expense and profit would be anything left over after that. (I don't know how they classify any leftover money that is saved for reinvesting in the business in the future. Is that stealing from customers in their mind?)

 

I guess in their view, a business owner must have consistent pay and having a good year shouldn't result in more pay because that is theft from employees who should get more pay or customers who should pay less.

 

Yes, I've said more than once how I am using the word.

 

Money for reinvesting isn't necessarily a problem - to some extent it's necessary, so really an expense.  It probably only becomes a problem in cases where there are other external factors.

 

As far as having a good year - an owner can certainly benefit from that.  I'd expect employees to as well in many cases - certainly if their work contributed.  The customers - maybe, it would depend on why that happened.

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The bolded is exactly what some of us are disagreeing with. :)

 

It's not "theft."

 

What do you call it when your employees increase their productivity, but all the extra money that brings in goes to you?

 

What do you call it when your costs go don, but you charge the person buying from you the same amount and pocket the difference?

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What do you call it when your employees increase their productivity, but all the extra money that brings in goes to you?

 

What do you call it when your costs go don, but you charge the person buying from you the same amount and pocket the difference?

But what makes you assume that the employees are increasing their productivity? What makes you assume that the receptionist should suddenly start earning $100.00 an hour for a job that pays $30.00 an hour everywhere else in the same area? The guy who mows the lawn outside the building isn't doing anything differently than when the company was making less money, but you seem to be suggesting that he should also be paid several times more than the going rate for that particular job. And by the same logic, I would assume that the same receptionist and landscaper should be more than happy to work for $10.00 an hour if the company has a less profitable year... except that they wouldn't do that, and I wouldn't blame them for wanting to be paid the going rate for the area.

 

Sorry, but your reasoning doesn't make sense.

 

And if a business owner is smart enough to find an ethical way of decreasing his costs (like developing more efficient systems or finding lower-cost sources of supplies,) why should he have to lower his already-fair prices as a result? I don't call that stealing. I call that smart business.

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While I don't agree entirely with Bluegoat, she does being valid points to the discussion.

 

If the company has more profit, and one hopes it does, why should *only* the CEOs income reflect that?

 

It might not be because employees worked harder or better. It might be because the company automated, got a better deal on their resources or any other number of factors. But when employees are the factor, why wouldn't that be reflected in their income too? And if it isn't, then where does the employer get off complaining about employees who don't care about their job?

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Best keep things as they are, even if it isn't working - it's too hard to change? 

 

That does seem to be the way you approach every suggestion for changes to improve society.  We can't have better healthcare, we can't change even the way we think about the purpose of economics, because it might take too long.  Even if others have done it.

 

I don't think I'm the one who thinks people are immoral and incapable - I think they can do a whole lot better than that and usually want to. 

 

If what we have now is so great do you really think that is the attitude that got us where we are?  Let's not try that?

 

As for this business of wealthy people using their money for good - if they are getting that money through some kind of unfairness, and that does not mean they want to be unfair, only that the economic system creates that situation, does that really make it ok?  

 

What makes you think they know better than those the money came from?  Why should it be the wealthy person who gets to decide how to improve people's lives?  For what kind of moral or even practical reason should we have Bill Gates deciding how large amounts of "good works" are being done?   If it really is his wealth, well and good, but it isn't an excuse for any kinds of problems the Microsoft corporation has had.

 

Oh no, you feel free to be the change you wish to see.  Try it and report back.  What's stopping you?

 

I personally am past the phase of toying with things that might work in a Utopia.  I am busy making a difference for real people now.

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Oh no, you feel free to be the change you wish to see. Try it and report back. What's stopping you?

 

I personally am past the phase of toying with things that might work in a Utopia. I am busy making a difference for real people now.

It doesn't sound like it. It sounds like you want to keep the status quo while insulting anyone who sees that it's not a sustainable ethical status.

 

I have no reason to believe any of us are not also busy making an IRL difference as best we can.

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But what makes you assume that the employees are increasing their productivity? What makes you assume that the receptionist should suddenly start earning $100.00 an hour for a job that pays $30.00 an hour everywhere else in the same area? The guy who mows the lawn outside the building isn't doing anything differently than when the company was making less money, but you seem to be suggesting that he should also be paid several times more than the going rate for that particular job. And by the same logic, I would assume that the same receptionist and landscaper should be more than happy to work for $10.00 an hour if the company has a less profitable year... except that they wouldn't do that, and I wouldn't blame them for wanting to be paid the going rate for the area.

 

Sorry, but your reasoning doesn't make sense.

 

And if a business owner is smart enough to find an ethical way of decreasing his costs (like developing more efficient systems or finding lower-cost sources of supplies,) why should he have to lower his already-fair prices as a result? I don't call that stealing. I call that smart business.

 

If the business is making more money, then the work of the employees is worth more money.  Each of them has a role to play in bringing in X amounts of dollars.  Unless the proportion of work they are doing has changed, they are contributing to greater returns.

 

As far as being less - I'd say that's true, only to the point the pay falls below the cost of maintaining the employee.  It could theoretically go lower, but then the employees start to die off or need help from the public purse, so typically we create a bottom level of pay.  If things get worse than that you have to do without employees.

 

 

This is probably good for employers anyway - higher paid employees, who think they are being treated fairly, are likely to be much better employees. 

 

In your second example, the why is the question under discussion - why is it ok to pay more than the product is worth.  You seem to think its because he derives that extra money as long as people will pay.  

 

You could say that if he did lower his price, then he'd likely have a lot of customers.  

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While I don't agree entirely with Bluegoat, she does being valid points to the discussion.

If the company has more profit, and one hopes it does, why should *only* the CEOs income reflect that?

It might not be because employees worked harder or better. It might be because the company automated, got a better deal on their resources or any other number of factors. But when employees are the factor, why wouldn't that be reflected in their income too? And if it isn't, then where does the employer get off complaining about employees who don't care about their job?

I'm not suggesting that a company shouldn't compensate its employees. I think bonuses and profit-sharing can be great. I am all in favor of offering excellent health care plans, flexible scheduling, family leave time, paid vacations and personal days, and an attractive and safe working environment. But I also don't think it's necessary for a successful company to pay double, triple, or quadruple the going rate for any given job just because the company is making a large profit.

 

And who said anything about employers complaining that their employees don't care about their jobs? :confused:

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What do you call it when your employees increase their productivity, but all the extra money that brings in goes to you?

 

What do you call it when your costs go don, but you charge the person buying from you the same amount and pocket the difference?

 

Should we also decline to pay a new employee until she proves her productivity?  Should we dock the employees' paychecks when costs go up?

 

Hiring people is a risk that is mostly one-sided.

 

Yes, I believe in profit sharing and we do practice it for employees who are in a position to impact our profits.  But not to the extent that 100% of their results go into their paychecks.  Because we took the initial risks that they were not ready or willing to take.  We bought the building, fixed it up, furnished it, maintained it, advertised, trained, sucked it up when employees screwed up.  All without knowing if it would ever break even.  We should get something for that.

 

And if our vision, creativity, courage, and diligence mean we can provide value for a competitive price, and that price brings us some profit over time, what is wrong with us using that profit to create more value and more jobs for more people?

 

Think of it this way : creating good jobs is a talent.  A talent some people have, and some people don't have.  You try to stop it up, and you get less of a good thing.  Kuz all the redistribution in the world isn't going to make every person a talented artist, or inventor, or job creator.

Edited by SKL
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It doesn't sound like it. It sounds like you want to keep the status quo while insulting anyone who sees that it's not a sustainable ethical status.

 

I have no reason to believe any of us are not also busy making an IRL difference as best we can.

 

Oh wait a minute, I think I'm the one who has been insulted here.  On several levels.

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If the business is making more money, then the work of the employees is worth more money. Each of them has a role to play in bringing in X amounts of dollars. Unless the proportion of work they are doing has changed, they are contributing to greater returns.

 

As far as being less - I'd say that's true, only to the point the pay falls below the cost of maintaining the employee. It could theoretically go lower, but then the employees start to die off or need help from the public purse, so typically we create a bottom level of pay. If things get worse than that you have to do without employees.

 

 

This is probably good for employers anyway - higher paid employees, who think they are being treated fairly, are likely to be much better employees.

 

In your second example, the why is the question under discussion - why is it ok to pay more than the product is worth. You seem to think its because he derives that extra money as long as people will pay.

 

You could say that if he did lower his price, then he'd likely have a lot of customers.

I disagree completely.

 

A job is worth what a job is worth. As I already stated, just because a company is profitable doesn't mean the receptionist's job is worth $100.00 an hour. It just isn't.

 

And you say that in an ideal world, lower prices would mean more customers, but that's not the reality. There will still only be a certain number of people who need or want any given product or service. And you keep talking about making people pay more than a product is worth, but a product is worth what people will pay for it; it's not only worth the cost of its production.

 

Additionally, if the large and profitable business lowers its prices dramatically because it has found a way to cut costs, the smaller competing businesses will not survive because they may not have the same opportunities to automate their systems or to pay less for materials, so they won't be able to afford to lower their prices. Is that really what you want to see happen?

 

I have to agree with SKL that you seem to be envisioning a utopian world that simply does not exist... and I'm not sure it would be all that wonderful if it did.

 

 

(Edited for clarity. :) )

Edited by Catwoman
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But what makes you assume that the employees are increasing their productivity? What makes you assume that the receptionist should suddenly start earning $100.00 an hour for a job that pays $30.00 an hour everywhere else in the same area? The guy who mows the lawn outside the building isn't doing anything differently than when the company was making less money, but you seem to be suggesting that he should also be paid several times more than the going rate for that particular job. And by the same logic, I would assume that the same receptionist and landscaper should be more than happy to work for $10.00 an hour if the company has a less profitable year... except that they wouldn't do that, and I wouldn't blame them for wanting to be paid the going rate for the area.

 

Sorry, but your reasoning doesn't make sense.

 

And if a business owner is smart enough to find an ethical way of decreasing his costs (like developing more efficient systems or finding lower-cost sources of supplies,) why should he have to lower his already-fair prices as a result? I don't call that stealing. I call that smart business.

 

There's no one-size-fits-all situation.  But I do think it's interesting that your example is one of a receptionist's value being static, while a business owner's is not.  I know what you mean, but what my brain hears is "because I don't have to."

 

I do understand not committing to raised salaries.  There's a long term danger there. That's why dh's company rewards in bonuses to everyone and profit sharing for many.  If they don't do as well the following year, they're okay.

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Oh no, you feel free to be the change you wish to see.  Try it and report back.  What's stopping you?

 

I personally am past the phase of toying with things that might work in a Utopia.  I am busy making a difference for real people now.

 

Given that we are talking about systematic change, how do you actually expect that to work?

 

No one is saying people shouldn't do good now.  They should.  But it's always going to be limited by the context.

 

If the economic system is weighted, whatever you do will be a drop in the bucket and the net effect will start to disappear as soon as you stop doing it.  Eventually it will be in some rich man's pocket.  I'm sure he'll feel happy that people are content that people are trying to make things better.

 

Systematic change has made a difference before - but a lot of it has been dismantled in the last 40 years.  It's not Utopian to try and think about what worked, and why it went wrong.

 

If you're not interested in discussing theory, then you don't need to do so.

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There's no one-size-fits-all situation.  But I do think it's interesting that your example is one of a receptionist's value being static, while a business owner's is not.  I know what you mean, but what my brain hears is "because I don't have to."

 

I do understand not committing to raised salaries.  There's a long term danger there. That's why dh's company rewards in bonuses to everyone and profit sharing for many.  If they don't do as well the following year, they're okay.

I think your dh's company is doing a good thing.

 

The reason why the receptionist's value is more static than the value of the business owner is because the business owner is the one with all the risk.

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Should we also decline to pay a new employee until she proves her productivity?  Should we dock the employees' paychecks when costs go up?

 

Hiring people is a risk that is mostly one-sided.

 

Yes, I believe in profit sharing and we do practice it for employees who are in a position to impact our profits.  But not to the extent that 100% of their results go into their paychecks.  Because we took the initial risks that they were not ready or willing to take.  We bought the building, fixed it up, furnished it, maintained it, advertised, trained, sucked it up when employees screwed up.  All without knowing if it would ever break even.  We should get something for that.

 

And if our vision, creativity, courage, and diligence mean we can provide value for a competitive price, and that price brings us some profit over time, what is wrong with us using that profit to create more value and more jobs for more people?

 

Think of it this way : creating good jobs is a talent.  A talent some people have, and some people don't have.  You try to stop it up, and you get less of a good thing.  Kuz all the redistribution in the world isn't going to make every person a talented artist, or inventor, or job creator.

 

Sure, I have no problem with these things really.  I do think you need to consider that for your risk, you do have a business worth potentially a lot of money at the end, which your employees don't have.  

 

But again - you are already bringing these ideas into your business practice, because you think it's right.

 

That means you are already saying - no - it is not the case that profit is the only purpose of business.  People should be compensated fairly, they should have good quality of life, and so on.

 

And this is within a larger economy which operates a certain way.  If we managed it differently, some issues would change, or go away, you could balance things in a different way.  If there was universal health care, it wouldn't fall to employers, which is really kind of a problem but there it is.  But no one thinks people can just choose to make those changes alone.

 

Lots of people don't have jobs like that, do not feel that they are compensated or treated fairly or humanely.  Is it not a bit crazy that those employers have an advantage systematically?  

 

But a major part of the reason they do is the way we think about the propose of business and about profit as a society.  It's a very narrow focus.  This has been the justification of deregulation for years, another case where wealth was significantly redistributed upwards.

 

I absolutely think creating good jobs is a talent, and that's why the owner of the business should be compensated, in most cases, more than the average employee.  That is fair return for their skill.  (This is perhaps another reason that a model where proportional salaries could be interesting - the better the jobs you create, the more you potentially can get paid.  It builds in an incentive to those who might not bother to hone that skill otherwise.)

 

There is no way that 10% of the people in the world controlling 85% of the wealth is an accurate outcome for an economic life.  I don't mean even unjust though that is true - it is not telling the truth about what goes on.  Redistribution of wealth has usually been a way to try and correct that picture.  But it would probably be better to stop it getting so wonky in the first place.

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I disagree completely.

 

A job is worth what a job is worth. As I already stated, just because a company is profitable doesn't mean the receptionist's job is worth $100.00 an hour. It just isn't.

 

And you say that in an ideal world, lower prices would mean more customers, but that's not the reality. There will still only be a certain number of people who need or want any given product or service. And you keep talking about making people pay more than a product is worth, but a product is worth what people will pay for it; it's not only worth the cost of its production.

 

Additionally, if the large and profitable business lowers its prices dramatically because it has found a way to cut costs, the smaller competing businesses will not survive because they may not have the same opportunities to automate their systems or to pay less for materials, so they won't be able to afford to lower their prices. Is that really what you want to see happen?

 

I have to agree with SKL that you seem to be envisioning a utopian world that simply does not exist... and I'm not sure it would be all that wonderful if it did.

 

 

(Edited for clarity. :) )

 

 

I don't think it's a problem, in the big picture, for smaller firms to close if there are no real predatory problems on the other end. At a certain point a given firm won't be able to get larger practically speaking.  IN some sectors you might have to ward against monopolies, which we already do, though less so than we used to.

 

I would be surprised to ever see a receptionists job at that rate.  Do you think that could ever reflect the contribution she makes?  If it's not worth that much, how would it ever happen?  If it did happen that a company started making so much money that the receptionist share amounted to that, either she is quite exceptional, or it is some sort of illegal operation and she is being paid to keep her mouth shut.

 

I'm not sure how I'm speaking in a utopian sense.  There is really no question that it is possible for people to think and value things differently.  The question is would that be a possible way to deal with some of the real and intractable problems our economic life seems to have?  What ultimately causes these problems?

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Sure, I have no problem with these things really.  I do think you need to consider that for your risk, you do have a business worth potentially a lot of money at the end, which your employees don't have.  

 

But again - you are already bringing these ideas into your business practice, because you think it's right.

 

That means you are already saying - no - it is not the case that profit is the only purpose of business.  People should be compensated fairly, they should have good quality of life, and so on.

 

And this is within a larger economy which operates a certain way.  If we managed it differently, some issues would change, or go away, you could balance things in a different way.  If there was universal health care, it wouldn't fall to employers, which is really kind of a problem but there it is.  But no one thinks people can just choose to make those changes alone.

 

Lots of people don't have jobs like that, do not feel that they are compensated or treated fairly or humanely.  Is it not a bit crazy that those employers have an advantage systematically?  

 

But a major part of the reason they do is the way we think about the propose of business and about profit as a society.  It's a very narrow focus.  This has been the justification of deregulation for years, another case where wealth was significantly redistributed upwards.

 

I absolutely think creating good jobs is a talent, and that's why the owner of the business should be compensated, in most cases, more than the average employee.  That is fair return for their skill.  (This is perhaps another reason that a model where proportional salaries could be interesting - the better the jobs you create, the more you potentially can get paid.  It builds in an incentive to those who might not bother to hone that skill otherwise.)

 

There is no way that 10% of the people in the world controlling 85% of the wealth is an accurate outcome for an economic life.  I don't mean even unjust though that is true - it is not telling the truth about what goes on.  Redistribution of wealth has usually been a way to try and correct that picture.  But it would probably be better to stop it getting so wonky in the first place.

 

Well what % of people do you think would be truly talented athletes, artists, or inventors if there were no artificial barriers to success?  It would probably still be a small % of the population.  Why would the same not be true of talented job creators?

 

And what we need to keep is a structure that allows up-and-coming individuals with that talent to succeed.  They must have an opportunity to launch, to begin to create capital and see where it goes from there.  If they lack the talent, they will not grow it very far, especially in a free market.  But if they are great at what they do, they should have that opportunity to make the world a better place.

 

People keep saying "it's not working" when they really mean "it's not perfect."  Well the very "imperfect" nature of the system is what allows talented people to break in and un-talented people to fail and find another calling.

 

I have been accused of saying nothing should change, but I never said that.  I said I don't have time to map out Utopia.  There is always room for improvement and I work on it absolutely every day.  Theoretically our governments and thought leaders work on it every day.

 

But I have to say that perfect is not the goal to strive for.  It's never going to happen, and the focus on it will put out too many talented people's fires.  Would you tell your daughter she has to be perfect in math, that if she gets a 95 she needs to scrap everything she's doing and start over?

 

And perhaps we should acknowledge what is going well instead of always focusing on what isn't perfect.  Maybe we could have a more productive discussion then.  (Not that I have time for it- I am supposed to be working!)

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There's no one-size-fits-all situation.  But I do think it's interesting that your example is one of a receptionist's value being static, while a business owner's is not.  I know what you mean, but what my brain hears is "because I don't have to."

 

I do understand not committing to raised salaries.  There's a long term danger there. That's why dh's company rewards in bonuses to everyone and profit sharing for many.  If they don't do as well the following year, they're okay.

 

Yeah, I don't think you have to raise salaries in a direct response to every raised or lowered income.  That's not desirable at all.

 

 If you see a long term increase in profits, you pay more, and ideally you want to save some so you can manage in a downturn, or be able to give people something if they are laid off, and so on.

 

Really, what you want is for people always to have in mind doing the right thing, in  larger sense, not making the most profits, narrowly. And not that somehow, if they "do the right thing" they are being especially kind or generous.  

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For the record, I just want to make it clear that my business / owners pay a very high % of our income in taxes.  As do most successful businesses.  The US Treasury already gets a large share of our profits, and my comments relate to the part the US Treasury does not take.

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Well what % of people do you think would be truly talented athletes, artists, or inventors if there were no artificial barriers to success?  It would probably still be a small % of the population.  Why would the same not be true of talented job creators?

 

And what we need to keep is a structure that allows up-and-coming individuals with that talent to succeed.  They must have an opportunity to launch, to begin to create capital and see where it goes from there.  If they lack the talent, they will not grow it very far, especially in a free market.  But if they are great at what they do, they should have that opportunity to make the world a better place.

 

People keep saying "it's not working" when they really mean "it's not perfect."  Well the very "imperfect" nature of the system is what allows talented people to break in and un-talented people to fail and find another calling.

 

I have been accused of saying nothing should change, but I never said that.  I said I don't have time to map out Utopia.  There is always room for improvement and I work on it absolutely every day.  Theoretically our governments and thought leaders work on it every day.

 

But I have to say that perfect is not the goal to strive for.  It's never going to happen, and the focus on it will put out too many talented people's fires.  Would you tell your daughter she has to be perfect in math, that if she gets a 95 she needs to scrap everything she's doing and start over?

 

And perhaps we should acknowledge what is going well instead of always focusing on what isn't perfect.  Maybe we could have a more productive discussion then.  (Not that I have time for it- I am supposed to be working!)

 

 

I have no idea what % of people are talented.  I suppose if talented means "the best" it would be a small number.  Most people are perhaps less superlative.

 

I'm not sure where you are going with that though.

 

We don't have a system now where most talent gets recognized and has a chance to be up and coming.  Our economy is worldwide and that is absolutely not true on a worldwide basis.  But even in the US, you have among the worst social mobility of any western nation. Presumably we don't want to say class membership is that directly correlated to talent.  Talented people are not being developed.

 

There are any individuals doing things well.  There are plenty of people who care.  And yet: looming environmental disaster.  10% controls more than 80%.  Those are not small quirks in a system that is 95% ok.

 

You don't need to talk about theory if it doesn't interest you, you don't have time, whatever.  But talking about why problems exist and how to approach them, or think creatively about them, sometimes even just differently, is important.  I'm not sure why you seem to feel that people are making some personal comment on your work, which non of us know anything about, or are forcing you into the discussion.  I think slavery is an immoral economic institution, I don't think every businessman in ancient Greece was an immoral person because that is how the society was structured.  

 

 

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Yeah, statistically that's pretty debatable.

 

Hard to say what the statistics tell us though.  In my observation, the opportunities are there but many American individuals are complacent.  Is complacency an indication of no opportunity, or of too much material comfort?  It's arguable.

 

There is some reason why people who come from lower-opportunity backgrounds tend to exploit the opportunities at a higher rate.

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I'm not suggesting that a company shouldn't compensate its employees. I think bonuses and profit-sharing can be great. I am all in favor of offering excellent health care plans, flexible scheduling, family leave time, paid vacations and personal days, and an attractive and safe working environment. But I also don't think it's necessary for a successful company to pay double, triple, or quadruple the going rate for any given job just because the company is making a large profit.

 

And who said anything about employers complaining that their employees don't care about their jobs? :confused:

Firstly, taxing that 3% I mentioned would mean that even if the going rate stated the same or only slightly better, those employees could have better policies and services to improve their lives.

 

Secondly, insisting on a UBI, would also mitigate that going rate.

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Not drop Medicaid funding, divert it into more physical service locations offering the services at the appropriate discount. Essentially subsidized medical care. It's more cost effective to provide more clinics than pay other providers, because of pooled overhead.

 

Same thing with physical food banks - as a SNAP supplement it is cheaper to bulk purchase the food directly and repackage it, distributing to individuals by mail or drop off or allowing pickup, than some further expansion of WIC or SNAP. These are the more socialist/community supportive alternatives to the semi privatized system currently available, but that could be managed cost effectively. I personally don't favor them ideologically but it's a halfway point between the two sides that would possibly pass congress.

 

A softer sliding scale of responsibility on income vs tax burden is a decent solution, but it cuts revenue to implement it because someone making a dollar over the income guidelines isn't now on the hook for the same tax burden as someone at the top of that same bracket. A flat tax is also a decent solution, since it is a percentage of a given income and not the bracket system it has that gradation built in. But waivers would have to be more selective.

 

As for your thoughts about your family and enabling, generation issues, etc, you proved my point (which was philosophical and not personal, I'm not really picking on you specifically). Someone's family has to pay for it, and how much of that can you shift on someone else's family before they can't handle it, either? There has to be balance or it topples pretty quickly over a cliff of sustainability, where everyone suffers. Venezuela has been a really glaring recent example of mismanagement and overpromising of resources, where now pretty much everyone is in trouble. Major oversimplification, but if I can find it I read a great article awhile back that listed some of the etiology of the issues and lessons to learn in terms of US policy. It was well balanced and very thoughtful.

 

 

And finally, what is enough money and support to prove love of one's neighbor to your satisfaction? And what level of sacrifice must be sustained for that love, who gets to decide? How much pain and drain do I get to undertake on behalf of a family not even my own?

But if you are already struggling you probably wouldn't be taxed more anyway. Or if you are you will also be receiving the UBI which should offset that.

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I keep deleting and trying to figure out how to answer this. You're seriously advocating that for a government standard? Or even one all believers must adhere to regardless of circumstance, as some sort of litmus test of whether one is loving enough?

Maybe she was referencing the Biblical example... If a man have two coats let him give to him that has none?

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The business is a thing you are selling, which you own.  Like selling your shoes when you are done with them.  Why would you not get the $$ for it?

 

That has nothing to do with charging some extra amount to the customer, or cutting costs like salaries or environmental protection, to take that money for yourself.

The amount for which I can sell a business depends on the accumulated profits that I have earned and left within the business rather than taking them as current salary.  

 

If I am a business owner I purchase raw materials and make a product that I own.  So, if I sell the product to the customer I am selling something that I own just as if I am selling my shoes that I own.  

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That is too bad.  I suppose that is why many people think this sort of thing should be legislated, and the model is prone to become corrupt.

What is corrupt?  Ben and Jerry's was hiring workers and certain types of workers were not willing to go to work without being paid salary X.  The company could not force the workers to come to work for less money.  Ben and Jerry's could have just closed and have everyone lose their jobs.  

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What do you call it when your employees increase their productivity, but all the extra money that brings in goes to you?

 

What do you call it when your costs go don, but you charge the person buying from you the same amount and pocket the difference?

Over time, there has been very little increase in worker productivity, outside of the increased productivity that capital has brought about.  

 

If you can make 1 shirt per day by hand and then I let you use my sewing machine and you can make three shirts per day, are you more productive?  Or, is my sewing machine what is really productive?  

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My personal experience says that there is plenty of opportunity for upward mobility in the USA.

 

I don't fully believe that but, even if I did, what happens then?  Can we keep our society going without road work flaggers, garbage men, janitors, daycare workers, lunch ladies, waiters, orderlies, and Home Depot workers?

 

If the goal is for everyone to be more "successful" than that, what will we do without our basic services?

 

My husband's career started at a point where my oldest child wrote to Mike Rowe, trying to get him to do a show on it. Now he's in an executive position.  But there aren't 50 executive positions for the 50 guys he worked with back then.  He rose to the top and yes, he sure did bust his hump to do it. You can't tell 50 people that they weren't talented enough or ignored the opportunity.  They could have been 100% equal in talent and opportunity and still only one could get the job!

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I don't fully believe that but, even if I did, what happens then?  Can we keep our society going without road work flaggers, garbage men, janitors, daycare workers, lunch ladies, waiters, orderlies, and Home Depot workers?

 

If the goal is for everyone to be more "successful" than that, what will we do without our basic services?

 

My husband's career started at a point where my oldest child wrote to Mike Rowe, trying to get him to do a show on it. Now he's in an executive position.  But there aren't 50 executive positions for the 50 guys he worked with back then.  He rose to the top and yes, he sure did bust his hump to do it. You can't tell 50 people that they weren't talented enough or ignored the opportunity.  They could have been 100% equal in talent and opportunity and still only one could get the job!

 

I think people have been saying that for a long time, isn't that the American dream?  Become anything you want, be successful, get to the top?   But there are still those who can't, won't, or simply have no desire.

 

My FIL was a successful electrician for one of the major motor companies in Michigan.  He worked his way to the top.  But they couldn't even get workers they needed because they couldn't pass the drug test.  Or they wouldn't show up for work.  Or whatever.  BTW:  My FIL had no college at all.  He WAS a very hard worker and I admit he also hit the right time to work in a very Unionized state.  

 

So, COULD those people have succeeded?  Possibly......but not everyone wants to or has the drive.

 

And I really don't want to start a political discussion here, but there ARE workers doing a lot of that grunt work who benefit our country.

 

 

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I don't fully believe that but, even if I did, what happens then?  Can we keep our society going without road work flaggers, garbage men, janitors, daycare workers, lunch ladies, waiters, orderlies, and Home Depot workers?

 

If the goal is for everyone to be more "successful" than that, what will we do without our basic services?

 

My husband's career started at a point where my oldest child wrote to Mike Rowe, trying to get him to do a show on it. Now he's in an executive position.  But there aren't 50 executive positions for the 50 guys he worked with back then.  He rose to the top and yes, he sure did bust his hump to do it. You can't tell 50 people that they weren't talented enough or ignored the opportunity.  They could have been 100% equal in talent and opportunity and still only one could get the job!

 

I never said that it is wrong for people to work at relatively less-skilled jobs.

 

Whether they lack the talent, drive, courage, or interest to break new ground, I don't care.  The people who do have all four of those should not be held back or punished.  Having the talents and using them and benefiting from them is not immoral.  It does not cause decline in the country. 

 

Not saying you are suggesting that, but the poster I was responding to was.

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Yesterday, my mother asked me to help her with her budget. I added up the numbers and her expenses are bigger than her income, not even including anything like gas, groceries, etc. Just the bills.

 

 

 

Yeah, I'm surprised no one has brought this up.  The aging in place means tax exemptions for those who retired and can't afford their 2000 sq ft homes on three acres. Their dc that live there don't contribute.  That means property tax increases for every one else because the school district and the govt don't cut employee compensation when a tax exemption goes into effect.  Are these people theives, because they are declining to contribute their fair share? Or do we say that working 25 years is enough, and everyone should have 45 years retirement free of  contributing to the common good, with prices of medical care and some cases the pension, subsidized by working people? It doesn't seem sustainable to work so little if one is going to live to be 85+.

 

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If the business is making more money, then the work of the employees is worth more money.  Each of them has a role to play in bringing in X amounts of dollars.  Unless the proportion of work they are doing has changed, they are contributing to greater returns.

 

As far as being less - I'd say that's true, only to the point the pay falls below the cost of maintaining the employee.  It could theoretically go lower, but then the employees start to die off or need help from the public purse, so typically we create a bottom level of pay.  If things get worse than that you have to do without employees.

 

 

This is probably good for employers anyway - higher paid employees, who think they are being treated fairly, are likely to be much better employees. 

 

In your second example, the why is the question under discussion - why is it ok to pay more than the product is worth.  You seem to think its because he derives that extra money as long as people will pay.  

 

You could say that if he did lower his price, then he'd likely have a lot of customers.  

If I understand your reasoning, a business owner should charge a price equal to the cost of producing the product.  The value is determined by cost.  Demand (what the consumer is willing to pay based upon his utility, tastes, and preferences) does not impact value.  If the business charges more than the cost to produce the product, the business is stealing from the customer.  Worth is determined by cost, not by what you can sell a product for.

 

With that reasoning, it seems illogical to me, to then make the conclusions in the first paragraph.  The worker owns his labor resources; he sells them to the business.  How much these labor resources are worth to the employer should be irrelevant.  Only the cost of  providing these services should be used to determine the price or value of the service being provided.  If the worker charges the employer more than the cost of the service, then the worker would be stealing from the employer.  

  

With this line of reasoning, I think you would have to step back another step.  If I am an owner making shirts, and I start making more money on shirts, you say that this means that an input into the process is more valuable, so that input should be paid more.  Does that also mean that the cotton that I am buying from a supplier to make the shirts is more valuable, so I need to pay that supplier of cotton more (but that gets back to value being determined, at least in part by demand which violates the original assumption).  Then the workers picking the cotton would need to be paid more because my shirts are selling for more and their labor productivity is reflected in the shirt just as much as the workers under my direct employment.  

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I never said that it is wrong for people to work at relatively less-skilled jobs.

 

Whether they lack the talent, drive, courage, or interest to break new ground, I don't care. The people who do have all four of those should not be held back or punished. Having the talents and using them and benefiting from them is not immoral. It does not cause decline in the country.

 

Not saying you are suggesting that, but the poster I was responding to was.

To bring it all back around though, these and other low wage jobs that get others' needs met are being done by people who need food, housing, clothing, health care, etc. If we (not only employers, but end users) want their labor, we should want their needs met.

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