I can’t turn on the radio without hearing someone opine about problems of income inequality. Apparently, it’s something Dear Reader will be tackling in the coming year.
Sit down kiddies. Here’s something else they aren’t teaching you in school.
Some people deserve to make more money than other people. Some people deserve nicer houses and nicer cars. And this is the way it should be.
To put it another way, I’m willing to pay someone more to extract a brain tumor than I am for someone to scrub my toilet. If you only ever attain toilet scrubbing skills, you are only entitled to toilet scrubber wages. (Which will be paid to you by someone that makes enough money to pay someone else to scrub their toilets.) Want more money? You have two choices. Find a way to scrub a lot more toilets or develop a more valuable skill.
I’ve heard the manipulative ‘living wage’ stories going around. Some guy has been flipping burgers for 20 years and still only makes minimum wage. It’s not enough to support his family. I’m supposed to feel sorry for them? Get a better damn job. The clown isn’t going to pay you more than the going burger flipper rate. If you tell them you are not going to flip burgers for less than $15 an hour, they are going to show you the door and hire someone that will flip them for less. Either that, or they will buy a machine. They don’t owe you a ‘living wage’, they owe you fair market compensation for the service you are providing.
Go ahead, force the clown to raise the wages. Oops! Good-bye dollar menu. What? You didn’t see that coming? Hello touch screen ordering kiosks and cashier layoffs. Oops again! You know who they are going to pay a living wage? The programmer that keeps those kiosks running and the engineer that created the burger flipping machine. Congratulations! You’ve succeeded in lower the number of under-employed people. We’ll just forget to mention the dramatic increase in the number of unemployed.
It’s all a cost-benefit analysis. As long as it is cheaper to hire someone to scrub the toilets than it is to purchase and maintain high-tech self scrubbing toilets, the toilet scrubber will have a job. You start tipping that scale and things change pretty quickly. You see, the guy that signs the checks only cares about having clean toilets. He hired the toilet scrubber so his crapper would sparkle. If a machine can do it cheaper, so be it. He still gets a sparkly crapper.
Minimize cost while maximizing benefits. You are paid based on the value you bring to whoever it is that signs your paycheck. (This applies to you self employed people too, but I’m assuming you already know that.) Be a cog, be a wheel, be an axle; you’ll still be part of the machine. The parts that are hardest to replace are the most valuable.