Jump to content

How Closely Should "Merit" Be Linked to Compensation?


bludog
 Share

Recommended Posts

The widely acclaimed concept of linking reward to merit has been distorted and abused .... Leading to the Neo-Liberalism we see today where advocates of social equality feel that unskilled labor, lacking merit, doesn't deserve to be rewarded. All sentient people have intrinsic worth and no person or class deserves to be subject to institutionalized theft, in order to concentrate the wealth of society in a handful of incredibly powerful families.

 

On the other hand, professions which require extra expense and time of preparation, need to be appropriately upgraded in compensation. But that shouldn't become an established excuse to deprive the less accomplished of prosperity. This is especially true in a Nation with plenty to go around. The US is the richest country in the world.

 

The perception of merit can be extremely deceiving. My own experience tells me that in any endeavor, there is a minimum standard of skill and accomplishment which all must meet to do the job. Employees, in any position, vary wildly above that level. But when it comes to merit, those at a higher pay scale often have little clue about those for whom they are responsible. Far more important for success are amiability, deception, snow jobs and blizzards of self-promotion and charisma.

 

The concept of "merit" has become widely accepted and embedded in the fabric of our society. It is highly overrated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Absolutely Bludog!

 

I a mere professional work hard, yet, I do remember working much harder as an unskilled laborer trying to make my own way through college and then get one of those fancy jobs. They call it luck, it's a lot of luck. But older folks like myself hold out a lot of respect for people who labor hard and with low pay and little benefit. No, unskilled people don't get the healthcare insurance or the 401K, the pensions are long gone, those that maybe had some lost most of it.

 

 

But it is tough to put things into perspective with all the political noise that is put out there across the land. Lenders and renters alike take advantage of the working poor and hell yes, the American people are more-than pessimistic and uncertain about what will happen in the future.

 

And I am certain that conservatives who fund their think tanks like it this way. As I have said many times before, the US ranks low regarding the percentage of GDP that is spent on government programs like improving the infrastructure, education, and don't get me started about how much we spend in healthcare percentage wise compared to other developed nations.

 

It doesn't have to be so crazy, the way they make it seem. Somebody likes it crazy. But that somebody ain't you or me.

 

Peace!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Leading to the Neo-Liberalism we see today where advocates of social equality feel that unskilled labor, lacking merit, doesn't deserve to be rewarded. All sentient people have intrinsic worth and no person or class deserves to be subject to institutionalized theft, in order to concentrate the wealth of society in a handful of incredibly powerful families.

 

Well sure, labor is important. But let's compare apples to apples. Two workers (in a store, for example), side by side:

  • one is careless and slow, doesn't care about the quality of their work, often comes in late, and rude when hung over
  • the other who cares, thinks about what they're doing and is prompt and courteous.

Shouldn't the better employee get rewarded?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, let me give a white collar example. Someone who was in a similar job to mine was let go a few years ago. One of the things that caused this was that he answered his cell phone and spoke to someone on it for about 5 minutes, while doing a formal presentation in front of a group of people representing an important customer. He was spoken to, and told never to do that again. Nevertheless, a couple of years later, he did it again, and it was decided to never put him in front of a customer again. There were some other issues but I wasn't privy to them. Anyway, he got fired, no package. Didn't he deserve that? Didn't he make his own bed?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Well sure, labor is important. But let's compare apples to apples. Two workers (in a store, for example), side by side:

  • one is careless and slow, doesn't care about the quality of their work, often comes in late, and rude when hung over
  • the other who cares, thinks about what they're doing and is prompt and courteous.

Shouldn't the better employee get rewarded?

 

Poor worker: Whether he is kept or let go depends on the degree and frequency of his undesirable behavior. This is subjective and depends on a large number of variables..

Good worker: Should, perhaps, be given raise(s) denied to the other.

 

That said, in a large plant, with many employees, management is often almost completely unaware of who is carrying more responsibility and doing a better job. Often, it's the more sociable individual, able to sell him/herself best who is perceived as the most efficient, conscientious worker. But all workers in basically the same jobs, received the same pay. In some cases, undeserving individuals were able to engineer massive snow jobs on management and were rewarded. It was not that uncommon. I had to see it to believe it.

 

On the other hand, our union contract specified on what grounds an employee could be disciplined and/or fired; And many were.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, let me give a white collar example. Someone who was in a similar job to mine was let go a few years ago. One of the things that caused this was that he answered his cell phone and spoke to someone on it for about 5 minutes, while doing a formal presentation in front of a group of people representing an important customer. He was spoken to, and told never to do that again. Nevertheless, a couple of years later, he did it again, and it was decided to never put him in front of a customer again. There were some other issues but I wasn't privy to them. Anyway, he got fired, no package. Didn't he deserve that? Didn't he make his own bed?

 

Sounds like that guy wasn't playing with a full deck. There are certain things too egregious to countenance. But maybe there were other jobs, with different requirements that he might be good at! Maybe not at the same company.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But maybe there were other jobs, with different requirements that he might be good at! Maybe not at the same company.

There must certainly be jobs he's good at. He has a PhD in engineering or physics, studying mathematical modeling of a complex system. Definitely a very smart guy. But it's been a couple of years and he still doesn't have another job. I'm pretty sure he presents himself badly, and he's kind of rude. Plus he's close to retirement age.

 

Another engineer I knew got fired. He was a right wing Obama hating birther nut. Kept going on loudly and obnoxiously about Mexicans and Muslims and liberals. And 1) there was an engineer of Mexican origin sitting within earshot, and 2) his boss, a nice guy, is a liberal atheist from Iran (whose family is Muslim).

 

He's another one who made his own bed. He was past retirement age and well-heeled.

 

I work for a really good company. It takes a lot to get fired. If you get laid off there's a good package: 2 weeks salary per year employed up to 6 months salary, or 1 year for managers, which I'm not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread presupposes that a person is working for someone else. When you work for yourself, you don't have to worry about whether or not the boss is paying you what you're worth. Make your own way in the world and tell the overlords to get lost. Why put up with the bad managers, low pay, unfair promotions, undeserved raises, verbal abuse, and ridiculous demands? Work for yourself and set your own rules. There's a shortage of plumbers and electricians and they make very good pay. Many other professions offer the opportunity to freelance.

 

As an employer, you want to attract the most productive team for the least amount of pay. The question is, how much extra do I have to pay the really good people to keep them from leaving for another company? There's this lady... she's the problem-solver, coordinator, system expert, and level-headed voice of reason for a workgroup of 15 people. She's not deceptive or a self-promoter. She's very humble considering her co-workers can't seem to survive without her. There's often a line outside her cubicle of people waiting to get help.

 

What's she worth, compared to the other employees? How would you decide? If we pay her too little, we risk losing her. If we pay her too much, we run into a host of problems: we would definitely earn less money and we might drive up the pay scale or hurt the morale of lesser-paid workers. So, our company tends to follow bludog's advice. We err on the side of lower merit pay. There's very little differentiation between the best and the worst (she gets about 10% more). We also have high turnover for our most skilled employees. Why is it the poorest performers never leave? They do just enough to not offer an easy target for dismissal. The day this lady leaves, we're in trouble.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Renegade; Long time no see.

 

It takes a certain mind-set to start one's one business. It could be anything from a taxi service to a computer startup. It definitely takes drive and initiative. Very often a family member with their own business is the inspiration. Having had a parent who has talked the ins and outs of independent entrepreneurship, since early childhood, helps enormously. But, of course, many people start from scratch, determined, as you so aptly say, to avoid "put(ting) up with the bad managers, low pay, unfair promotions, undeserved raises, verbal abuse, and ridiculous demands? Work for yourself and set your own rules".

 

On that note, there are plenty of people who have gone into business for themselves because of personality 'problems' which make it almost impossible for them to work for someone else. Laripu's example of his erstwhile colleague who was extremely bright and unconscionably rude, comes to mind. That type of boss is sometimes a living nightmare to his/her employees.

 

It takes something of a gambler to go independent. I can attest that some people are intimidated by starting their own business. I came to a crossroads during our 9 month strike against the Bell System in 1971. I started doing interior construction and apartment modification jobs in Manhattan, where I lived. I was in demand and making great money. It got to the point where I couldn't do it all myself and thought about hiring assistants.

 

To make a long story short, the strike ended and I opted to go with the security and simplicity of resuming my job with NY Telephone. If I had quit, I would have had to incorporate, become licensed, start keeping proper records and worry about my employees. I would have had to change headquarters from my apartment to a rented commercial space and probably buy a truck. I stuck with the sure thing rather than risk independence. I have never been a gambler. I find it unpleasant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope for a better way to determine wages. I suggest it should be based somehow on the profit brought to the company. Let's say 70% of all profit (before wages) is given in wages, with a determination of the value of an individual's contribution. I am not sure how to make this work; but it might be better than a supervisor's office politics decision. I have seen engineer's who contribute inventions worth billions to the company getting close to the same wage as those with no inventions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember reading that a way to boost the salaries of employees was to have a law that mandated that a CEO's total compensation (including stock options etc) cannot be more than some multiple of the lowest wage paid in the company. If that multiple is 1000, and the lowest wage was $20K/year, then the CEO's total compensation could be no more than $20 million/year.

 

I would expand that to include the salaries of workers employed in foreign countries. If the company owned a plant in "Lower Slobovia" (remember Al Capp?), where the lowest wage is $2000/year, then the CEO's max total compensation would be $2 million/year.

 

This might not only boost American salaries, but also diminish the frequency of foreign branch plants. (There would still be outsourcing, just not directly owned.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember reading that a way to boost the salaries of employees was to have a law that mandated that a CEO's total compensation (including stock options etc) cannot be more than some multiple of the lowest wage paid in the company. If that multiple is 1000, and the lowest wage was $20K/year, then the CEO's total compensation could be no more than $20 million/year.

 

I would expand that to include the salaries of workers employed in foreign countries. If the company owned a plant in "Lower Slobovia" (remember Al Capp?), where the lowest wage is $2000/year, then the CEO's max total compensation would be $2 million/year.

 

This might not only boost American salaries, but also diminish the frequency of foreign branch plants. (There would still be outsourcing, just not directly owned.)

 

Surely you would also consider the size of the company? The CEO of a $230 billion (revenue) company like Apple should make a little more than the CEO of a $20 million company, even if their employees are paid the same and work in the same country.

 

Limiting CEO pay would have almost no impact on salaries. If you took Tim Cook's entire $10 million compensation package (make him work for free) and spread it among all of Apple's 66,000 employees it would only raise wages by $150 per year.

 

And, what do you have against people in Lower Slobovia? If they can do the work, shouldn't they be free to do it? Why would you embargo them? How would you feel if you lived in Lower Slobovia? It's not that different from West Virginia, right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A quick google search showed:

 

"

After Jobs: Apple's Cook gets $380M in compensation

"

 

The link>

 

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/story/2012-01-09/tim-cook-compensation/52473424/1

 

maybe everyone should get a raise.

 

 

 

The idea that I am after is that people should get a share in the profits they produce. Without Apple's employees there is no profit. With the government at the behest of corporations, flooding the labor market, so that wages are depressed as much as possible, people get the going rate for their job regardless of how much profit they make for the corporation. When corporations can get the government to depress wages to sub-livable wages, the people are like lions chasing mice. They expend more energy in catching the mice than they get from the mice. It doesn't take long for them to starve to death. That is going on with the middle class, we are dying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For further evidence wages are being intentional lowered see:

 

http://cis.org/no-stem-shortage

 

for quotes like:

 

"the country has more than twice as many workers with STEM degrees as there are STEM jobs"

 

"Only one-third of native-born Americans with an undergraduate STEM degree holding a job actually work in a STEM occupation."

 

"Despite the economic downturn, Census Bureau data show that, between 2007 and 2012, about 700,000 new immigrants who have STEM degrees were allowed to settle in the country, yet at the same time, total STEM employment grew by only about 500,000."

 

"Of these new immigrants with STEM degrees, only a little more than a third took a STEM job and about the same share took a non-STEM job. The rest were not working in 2012."

 

and finally:

 

"In recent years, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and other employers in technology have provided millions of dollars to lobby Congress to increase the number of workers, including those with STEM degrees allowed into the country. They have argued that the nation needs more of such workers.9 The Chamber of Commerce and other employer groups have worked tirelessly to increase employment-based immigration, for both permanent (green card) and guest workers.10 At the behest of employers, the Gang of Eight's Immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013 (S.744) included very large increases in the number of both temporary and permanent STEM workers allowed into the country.11 In the House of Representatives, a number of bills have been introduced designed to increase the number of both temporary and permanent STEM workers allowed into the country.12 The incongruity between what the employment and wage data show and what employers and Congress want is difficult to reconcile."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Limiting CEO pay would have almost no impact on salaries. If you took Tim Cook's entire $10 million compensation package (make him work for free) and spread it among all of Apple's 66,000 employees it would only raise wages by $150 per year.

 

You're missing the point here. It's not to free up more money for workers, it's to motivate CEOs to give higher pay for the lowest paid by tying their (CEO's) salary to that low point. The money would come out of profits.

 

 

Surely you would also consider the size of the company? The CEO of a $230 billion (revenue) company like Apple should make a little more than the CEO of a $20 million company, even if their employees are paid the same and work in the same country.

 

You're right, I missed this. But then the salary and benefits of the lowest paid should also be tied to size of the company. A big company shouldn't be able to hire someone at lower than a living wage.

 

 

And, what do you have against people in Lower Slobovia? If they can do the work, shouldn't they be free to do it? Why would you embargo them? How would you feel if you lived in Lower Slobovia? It's not that different from West Virginia, right?

 

I have nothing against people in Lower Slobovia. But the motivation for expanding there shouldn't be that we can exploit their poverty and desperation. It should be that we need more capacity and then we pay them fairly, don't damage their environment and don't make unsafe conditions. We should treat their workers the way we want our workers treated. A sort of global business golden rule.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

You're missing the point here. It's not to free up more money for workers, it's to motivate CEOs to give higher pay for the lowest paid by tying their (CEO's) salary to that low point. The money would come out of profits.

 

In my experience, the CEO doesn't set pay. The HR department does. I suppose that your plan might give the CEO some incentive to influence the HR department at the expense of profits. Maybe...maybe not. The owners might not like it if he did. If I was the CEO, it would influence me to automate or outsource all the low-paying jobs.

 

 

 

 

You're right, I missed this. But then the salary and benefits of the lowest paid should also be tied to size of the company. A big company shouldn't be able to hire someone at lower than a living wage.

 

McDonald's can't charge any more for their burgers just because they've got a billion outlets. If they can't charge more for the burgers, they won't be able to pay any more for their burger flippers. If Joe's diner can pay $10 per hour, why can't McDonald's?

 

 

 

 

 

I have nothing against people in Lower Slobovia. But the motivation for expanding there shouldn't be that we can exploit their poverty and desperation. It should be that we need more capacity and then we pay them fairly, don't damage their environment and don't make unsafe conditions. We should treat their workers the way we want our workers treated. A sort of global business golden rule.

 

Let's say the average wage in LS is $1 per hour. If you open a shoe factory and pay $1.50 per hour, are you exploiting them? If you lived in LS, would you feel exploited with a 50% raise? If your factory has fewer accidents than the average LS factory, are you exposing them to "unsafe conditions"? On the other hand, if you're required paid your LS workers $20 per hour like they make in the USA, you probably won't open a factory there at all. That would lock them into "poverty and desperation".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A quick google search showed:

 

"

After Jobs: Apple's Cook gets $380M in compensation

"

 

The link>

 

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/story/2012-01-09/tim-cook-compensation/52473424/1

 

maybe everyone should get a raise.

 

I was using his 2015 salary. Links:

http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/07/investing/apple-tim-cook-compensation/

http://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-ceo-tim-cooks-2015-compensation-10-3-million-1452117504

http://fortune.com/2016/01/07/apple-tim-cook-compensation/

 

 

 

The idea that I am after is that people should get a share in the profits they produce.

 

All can share in the profits they produce. https://www.wired.com/2015/10/apple-stock-grants/

 

Aren't wages a share of company profits? Would you like a percentage of profit instead? What if the company takes a loss for the year? Would you be working for free?

 

Would you agree to take part of your pay in stock? Anyone can take a percentage of their wages and invest. You can essentially create your own profit sharing plan. Would you make it mandatory instead of voluntary?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Renegade; Long time no see.

 

It takes a certain mind-set to start one's one business. It could be anything from a taxi service to a computer startup. It definitely takes drive and initiative. Very often a family member with their own business is the inspiration. Having had a parent who has talked the ins and outs of independent entrepreneurship, since early childhood, helps enormously. But, of course, many people start from scratch, determined, as you so aptly say, to avoid "put(ting) up with the bad managers, low pay, unfair promotions, undeserved raises, verbal abuse, and ridiculous demands? Work for yourself and set your own rules".

 

On that note, there are plenty of people who have gone into business for themselves because of personality 'problems' which make it almost impossible for them to work for someone else. Laripu's example of his erstwhile colleague who was extremely bright and unconscionably rude, comes to mind. That type of boss is sometimes a living nightmare to his/her employees.

 

It takes something of a gambler to go independent. I can attest that some people are intimidated by starting their own business. I came to a crossroads during our 9 month strike against the Bell System in 1971. I started doing interior construction and apartment modification jobs in Manhattan, where I lived. I was in demand and making great money. It got to the point where I couldn't do it all myself and thought about hiring assistants.

 

To make a long story short, the strike ended and I opted to go with the security and simplicity of resuming my job with NY Telephone. If I had quit, I would have had to incorporate, become licensed, start keeping proper records and worry about my employees. I would have had to change headquarters from my apartment to a rented commercial space and probably buy a truck. I stuck with the sure thing rather than risk independence. I have never been a gambler. I find it unpleasant.

 

I stop by from time to time...just didn't feel moved to comment.

 

I can definitely understand the decision you made. I'm not a risk taker either. Do you ever wonder what might have been different if you'd taken the risk?

 

I see you have a good appreciation for the difficulties faced by a growing small business. The big companies can afford the lawyers and accountants to keep up with all the regulations. The little guys have to figure it out for themselves. I think the big guys like all the regulation. All the rules and regulations create a significant 'barrier to entry' that reduces competition. I know, we need regulation. But, there has to be a limit. I don't know how anyone can understand and comply with it all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

The big companies can afford the lawyers and accountants to keep up with all the regulations.

 

You reminded me ... In addition to the other complications, I would have also had to retain a lawyer to draw up contracts and protect against lawsuits. Probably an accountant too.

 

 

Do you ever wonder what might have been different if you'd taken the risk?

 

I am fairly sure, that had I expanded, the increasing profits would have dwarfed the growing overhead. Demand was almost unlimited and the well-to-do were eager to pay for custom work. But I probably would have become one of these totally involved, one dimensional, businessmen. There was the danger that, to a large extent, the business might have become my identity and ego, as so often happens to successful entrepreneurs .

 

I had (have) multiple interests and love the freedom to pursue them. My job at NY Tel allowed me to do that. While on the job, I kind of turned myself off except for the work. And switched on again when the workday was done.

 

Another huge advantage of continuing with NY Tel and CWA (Communications Workers of America) was that at 31, it gave me a chance, financed by the GI Bill, to get a BA in anthropology with film-making as a minor. That enriched my life a lot. I found it tremendously interesting in a way I would never have been capable of in my late teens or early twenties. If I had stuck with the construction business, I probably never would have gone back to school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I was using his 2015 salary. Links:

http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/07/investing/apple-tim-cook-compensation/

http://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-ceo-tim-cooks-2015-compensation-10-3-million-1452117504

http://fortune.com/2016/01/07/apple-tim-cook-compensation/

 

 

All can share in the profits they produce. https://www.wired.com/2015/10/apple-stock-grants/

 

Aren't wages a share of company profits? Would you like a percentage of profit instead? What if the company takes a loss for the year? Would you be working for free?

 

Would you agree to take part of your pay in stock? Anyone can take a percentage of their wages and invest. You can essentially create your own profit sharing plan. Would you make it mandatory instead of voluntary?

I want the system changed; not just nibble around the corners to allow the rich to continue exploiting everyone else.

 

For example, one could hire employees to make a product, and pay a price for that product. Instead of paying a minimum wage that no one could live on, pay on a per part basis as a contractor, just like they would have to pay for any other item they purchase. If your company makes widgets, then your company buys those widgets from someone willing to make those widgets. If your company needs several different types of widgets assembled into a new product, then you buy those widgets and pay for them to be assembled, just like you were doing business with any other company. You cannot buy labor, only what that labor produces. If you need a widget designed, then you pay for that design, and perhaps a royalty on each widget produced.

 

The law of supply and demand can be used to determine the price for those widgets and services. In the past the government in its infinite wisdom has decided to flood the supply of labor to reduce wages and eliminate benefits. This has to be prevented.

 

The problem is keeping the government out of flooding the market for particular widgets. Further, the markets must be protected from nations who manipulate currency. As the founding fathers taught, put tariffs in place to match what it would cost in the USA to make. So you can't have China shipping finished goods for less than it costs here for the raw materials.

 

We have to have good government to make a reasonable economy for everyone. The rich have undue influence so the economy keeps getting skewed to favor the rich, who end up plundering the nation for their own short term greed, while destroying the lives of everyone else.

 

(Ok, this is a half baked idea, so improve it, or offer an alternative.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The most successful system, so far, for reducing the gap between the rich and everyone else has been Democratic Socialism. Democracy and Free Trade are combined with a cradle to grave welfare state with generous benefits and social programs. There is usually an extremely progressive tax formula. The wealth is redistributed so that almost all have extra money in their pockets after taking care of necessities. When a large majority creates demand by spending on a variety of products and services, the supply side is kept busy at a healthy rate and joblessness is reduced.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Well sure, labor is important. But let's compare apples to apples. Two workers (in a store, for example), side by side:

  • one is careless and slow, doesn't care about the quality of their work, often comes in late, and rude when hung over
  • the other who cares, thinks about what they're doing and is prompt and courteous.

Shouldn't the better employee get rewarded?

 

 

you are describing the golden rule here. most would agree that this description is what merit pay increases mean, or at least what they should mean. this way of looking at things is easy to agree with and yet most know it doesn't seem to work out this way. lazy is as lazy does I am completely sure we have all encountered that to be sure, and sadly enough. we all, no less myself, like to value work without being watched over, it should be an intrinsic dietary staple, it lends itself to self improvement, personal improvement that allows one to feel confident and more self assured. I know it does, it spreads out over a life time, you say to yourself each day, I can do a little bit more and not because I have to but because in the end I want to, what else is there.

 

no work is not bad, we make it bad, doesn't have to be that way at all. well, we don't make it bad all by ourselves all the time. just like a bad math teacher might make math seem horribly frustrating and worthless. that kind of teaching when you are the student could make almost any discipline in learning seem not so good.

 

but, and this is in the abstract, but completely true, we do not live in a world where merit on its own is linked to compensation. yet, somehow even with the lack of merit compensation things do get done. so the question is, how would you administer a compensation for merit world? to me, in the abstract, and in truth, you can't. and anyway, that's not the whole slice of the pie that concerns me the most. I want the girl who knows so much because she worked hard wanting to teach others so that they might take hold onto themselves bit by bit what that feels like and how it empowers them. it works to find out that you can do a lot more than you ever thought you could, oh just where the hell is macgruber when you need him?

 

 

Peace!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salaries where I work are largely based on seniority. People who have been here forever make considerably more than those who are just starting out, even if their work is the same.

 

Last week, I was going through the process of making a salary offer to a new employee. I pulled up all the current salaries of people in similar positions (about 20 people) to get an idea what to offer the new guy. As much as I hate to offer bludog any ammunition, it was amazing how little correlation there was between pay and performance. In fact, I'd bet on a negative correlation. Most of the best workers are low-paid and most of the slow folks have been there forever and earn good money. A random number generator could do a better job of aligning pay with performance.

 

And, there's no way to fix it. The union won't let us cut the pay of the slackers and senior management won't let us pay the hard workers more. Oh, a few will get performance raises about 2% above the norm. At that rate they'll catch up in about 20 years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Big of you to share your recent findings about the small correlation of pay and performance, Renegade. Even if the union let you cut the slacker's pay and upper management let you reward the hard workers handsomely, it would not provide incentive for the slackers to work harder or better. It would simply create morale problems and concealed sabotage. The quality or quantity of work would not increase. Rather, individual workers would continue producing the same as before, but workplace solidarity would be poisoned.

 

The truth is, there is that if there is any link between merit and compensation, it is extremely weak. Motivation comes from within. That's why the argument that, top execs would not perform extraordinarily without extraordinary compensation, is a self-serving myth. In the Democratic Socialist countries, top executive performance is excellent with far lower compensation than in the US.

 

Healthy compensation in the workplace tends to reward excellence only by small margins. The earlier example of your indispensable, star problem-solver getting 10% more than others, who need to come to her for help, seems fair, but only because of her rare, stellar level of attainment ... That said, I am surprised the union allows it.

 

Normally, union contracts agree on different pay grades for different levels of skill, but not my much. And in each pay grade, there are schedules of seniority until a worker stays long enough to reach full pay and benefits. The idea is to generate as much equality as possible, while nominally recognizing different levels of skill between pay grades. Union/company contracts also stipulate under what conditions an employee can be fired.

 

Nationally, the US has a huge problem in disparity of compensation and it is causing economic and social tensions which are starting to cause political changes .... The emergence of non-traditional candidates. Economic inequality, in the US cannot keep increasing without severe consequences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nationally, the US has a huge problem in disparity of compensation and it is causing economic and social tensions which are starting to cause political changes .... The emergence of non-traditional candidates. Economic inequality, in the US cannot keep increasing without severe consequences.

 

There's historical precedent. When the main means of wealth production changes, these huge differences are created, with the spoils going to the ones that get in early and go big. Examples: 1) when the US industrialized between 150 and 100 years ago, and 2) again recently with the explosion in computing, communication and tech.

 

The results of those kinds of differences, when the bubbles burst, are (for example) the depression starting in 1929 and the near-depression starting in 2008.

 

There is likely to be another real expansion soon, followed by a bubble, also soon. I believe it will be in biotech or energy. The signs have been there for a while. Think of genomic diagnosis, genetically engineered cures, GMO foods... and this is just the beginning. Or, think of alternative energy and transportation.

 

The thing is, technology allows these changes to come more quickly, so we'll have more frequent changes to the big means of wealth production, and more frequent bubbles and bursts. I expect the next presidency to be plagued by both. Of course we'll blame whoever the president is, but it won't be their fault. It's the way of technology. The more you can do the more you can learn how to do, and therefore what you can do increases again: it feeds on itself, i.e. exponential growth.

 

Something I expect within the next 10 to 20 years is plant-based meat. Plants genetically engineered to produce appendages that closely mimic animal protein, that can be harvested for human consumption. Another thing I expect (within 20 years) is photonic computing, followed soon after by quantum computers. High temperature superconductivity is on the horizon. Fusion too.

 

You think computing was disruptive to people's job prospects? Just wait, you ain't seen nuffin' yet. :D

 

So I predict that income disparity will increase, but the cost of the basics for survival will also decrease, to the point that basic food, clothing, and shelter will be essentially free (in the US). The difference between the ultra rich and the poor will be:

  • The quality of the food they eat (no GMO plant-meat for the wealthy)
  • How long they live (only the rich will be be able to initially afford life-extension technology)
  • The availability and quality of human servants, including for cleaning, household repair, errands and sex.
  • The kind of housing and clothing available for free will be basic.

I fully expect the conservative politicians of the future will want to punish the poor by making their food, clothing and shelter as meager as possible. I fully expect privacy to evaporate for most people, maybe everyone.

 

I fully expect religious organizations to sputter and dither and be unable to keep up with the technological changes. Is plant-meat kosher? Is plant-pork halal? Should Jehovah's witnesses eschew the transfusion of artificial genetically perfect neo-blood produced in a factory without any animal product? What will the Catholic Church say about some people living to 250 while others die at a mere 90.. 'camel / needle'?

 

If you don't believe me, compare the lives of lower-middle class Americans today with those of people as little as 300 or 400 years ago.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...