We live in a capitalistic society. It is the principle that we have the right to try to earn as much as we want and pay what we think something or someone is worth. No one can disagree with that. You work for it, you deserve it, right? Well, it seems a lot of people think that is wrong. They see big business executives, celebrities and sports stars making mega money and think it is obscene. They complain that no one needs that amount of money. Sanctimony is shared in super sized servings about the subject. Let me tell all those pious people, most of your argument is flawed, if not completely wrong.
Let me first say that I don't believe someone should be obsessed with riches, nor should they make it their priority. There are more important things in this world but money does make the world go around.
So is it ok for a football star to earn £5 million a year? The statement I hear is "All that money to kick a ball." Well, if it is such a simple task, you get out there and kick that ball. Offer your supposed talents and see if you can do it to the standard that the £5 million guy can. What? You can't do it as well as them? Then maybe that is why he is paid so much. Because not many can do what he does as well as he can. You sit there in your poxy office job, or whatever you do, and take a look around at the people you work with. Plenty of people can do what you do. Chances are, there are 101 people who can do it better. So before you take a pot shot at someone for being one of the best in their job, try to be the best in your field first. If you were the best at what you did, you probably would have been promoted by now!
What about the film star who gets £20 million for making one film? I suppose you could ignore the fact that just having his name on the film will make it earn £40 million at least. We can ignore the fact that we flock in our millions to go watch his or her film. We can judge them for their earnings. After all, we judge them for everything else! We tear them apart for their performance if it is rubbish. We buy gossip magazines that flog the every detail of their private lives. We delight in pictures of them looking tired, covered with blemishes or drunk. We treat them like pieces of meat that we own. Their privacy is sold to the general public. What price would you put on your privacy? On your right to have a bad day and not have the world enjoy it on the front cover of a magazine? £20 million? Seems a fair deal. Then try it sometime. It must be horrible, constantly being at the wrong end of a paparazzi's lens and you would only put up with it for decent money.
What about the business executives who earn mega money? They just sit in an office too. Granted they are at the top of their field but still, if you are one of those judgemental types, you think you can do their job just as well as they can. Maybe you could. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't earn as much as they do. People in those positions tend to make the decisions that make or break a company. They bring in the big money. In light of the credit crunch that hit in 2007, we the people cried outrage at bankers earning millions in bonuses. Why? If you were working for a company and you earned them £50 million over the course of a year, what slice of that would you consider to be your fair share?
Before you go with the classic "I only need £100,000 and that would be enough for me", don't kid yourself. 10% doesn't seem unreasonable. In fact, it seems generous on the banker's part. If you were in a partnership with just one person, you'd expect 50% of the profits. That would be fair. Working for a big company, we accept we will get a smaller slice than 50% of what we bring in because the company has put us in that fortuitous position. So the guy who earns £50 million for his company gets £5 million, his tiny 10% slice. Purely because you will never earn that much money in your lifetime, that makes it wrong? No, it makes you jealous. He has done nothing wrong. He earned his money and you are bitter about it. He is not wrong; you are for judging him.
People try to mask this pious position by saying "They should give it all to charity" or "They should pay more in taxes." Really? Why? Most of these people earned their way to the top, by working hard. It is their money, not yours. They can use it how they see fit. If we are going to argue the charity angle, how much do you give to charity exactly? In 2009, Comic Relief raised around £80 million. An impressive sum, indeed a lot of money for people who struggle in this and other countries. Translated into the efforts of the nation, basically 60 million UK citizens, we donated £1.33 each. Oh aren't we generous?! Don't tell me that if you are one of those judgemental types that you have spent some of your wages on a night out or an indulgence of some kind. Because if you have, you are no better than those you judge.
As for the taxes, it really depends on how you view taxes. If you seem them as a way of redistributing wealth, then you seem to think that penalising the rich to buoy up the poor is OK. I don't see why. Most jobs created in this country are because of rich people. Either they own companies that employ plenty of people or they pay a huge amount of money in taxes, which pay the wages of public sector workers. Chances are, you have a job and a wage because of a rich person.
I view taxes as payment for the services I enjoy. I know you may find this hard to believe but even though rich people pay a vast amount more than me, we both enjoy the same services. They get the same amount of street lights. If a crime happens to them, they call the same police you and I do. If the house catches fire, they don't get a premium Fire Service to come along and put it out. They pay more in taxes than we do and they get the same amount back. Yet we the people think that is how it should be. It is the equivalent of saying that he who earns £20,000 a year can buy a Mars Bar for 50p but the guy who earns £1 million needs to pay £25 for the same Mars Bar. That is wrong and it is unfair. No wonder the rich try to avoid tax!
Finally, let me put this to you and I dare you to deny it is a stone cold fact. No matter what job you do, if someone offered you more money to do it, even an obscene amount, you would take it. One job interview I had showed the point. It was only £13,000 a year but I needed a job. When the lady interviewing me very kindly said "You're overqualified for this, you will leave for another job paying £10,000 more the instant it is offered." I just replied "Well yeah, wouldn't you?" She just agreed with me. Everyone would take the better pay packet, provided the job wasn't unreasonable. Those who judge just haven't had the luck, work ethic or initiative to be put in that rather simple dilemma.
The supposed morality people have about money is a myth. It is jealously, wrapped in a deluded and perverted sense of social justice. They earn more than you. What a shame! But you know what? Chances are, someone, somewhere earns a lot less than you. They would be thrilled to get your wage. They would love to be able to pay for all the bills you do, all the food you enjoy and all the nights out you experience. To them, you earn an obscene amount of money but if it is any comfort, they are wrong too.