Friday, 25 February 2011

The Mythical Morality Over Money

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.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Stupidity Of Sayings

I am sick to death of wise sayings being idly thrown my way. No thought was put into them when they were created and no follow up thought is given when they are shamelessly plagiarised. I can sense the confused look on your face. Let explain some classic examples and how I can shred them to pieces. You'll also know not to say cliche lines in my direction. Ever.

  • What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger

An idle line to make you feel better about the bad thing you have just been through. It's blatantly not true. When something bad happens to you, you rarely become a better person from it. In fact, you tend to be more stressed, bitter and cynical about it and anything associated with it. If you lose a leg, you can survive that but it doesn't make you stronger. You can have gastroentritis and it will clean you out, dehydrate you, hell, you will end up losing a ton of weight. You won't die and guess what? You'll be weaker for days! It's a lie people. A flat out lie. Bad things happen and if you get a benefit from it, great for you. Otherwise, bad things happen. Deal with it.

  • It's just around the corner

This is said when something hasn't come your way yet. It could be a job, a partner or some other desired thing. It is a futile thing to say though because you hear it and the first thing you think is "If it is just around the corner, I must be on a fricking roundabout!"

  • There are plenty more fish in the sea

We all know when this is said. Swifty after the break up or the date rejection. You do know that it is a human being I was after and not a mermaid! You should also realise that I'm upset not because I think the other three billion options have evaporated into thin air. At no point during my preceding relationship did I think the human race had become extinct. I was aware that other people existed, beautiful & wonderful people and guess what? I wanted to be with that person I was just with!

  • Well if at first you don't succeed, try try again

If I didn't succeed in winning a girl's heart and decided on your inspired policy, I go from being an admirer to a stalker. If I apply it to gambling, I go from having a bit of fun to becoming a debt-ridden addict. If I do it with sky diving, I'm either invincible or jumping when the plane has landed. Trying again is purely a practical demonstration that you were incompetent the first time around or that the activity was a one-shot thing. Needless to say, experience has taught me that I can't do it but thanks ever so much for encouraging me to enjoy the bitter taste of failure once more. With friends like you, who needs enemies? In fact, who needs Ghengis Khan, Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot with you around?!

  • Love will conquer all

No, no it won't. The British Empire, Alexander the Great and the Romans did not conquer known world by cuddling people! Warm fuzzies won nothing, not even the hearts of the people. You know what, if a guy or girl is hideous, smells, has kleptomaniac and pyromaniac tendencies but has a nice singing voice, trying to love them will not help you see past their flaws because you like the way they serenade you. No, in fact, you won't love them. You'll just think "Yes she may have nicked my wallet and be burning my debit cards. However, I don't have to look at or smell her right now." Love doesn't conquer all. In fact, you pretty much have to conquer all just to get love!

  • It will put hairs on your chest

This is a line parents say in an effort to get you to put up with something horrible. I mean something like food or drink that isn't tasty, an activity that isn't enjoyable or something else like that. Why chest hair is such an appealing incentive, I have no idea. At no point in my childhood did I think to myself that I wasn't a real man until I had a Sean Connery-esque rug gracing my pecs! If you're going to try to dupe a child into doing something, offer sweets, days out or the withdrawal of future beatings as a way of encouraging them.

  • A friend in need is a friend indeed

I have numerous friends who can look after themselves. Not many that constantly need me. You know why? Because the needy clingy types are irritating! They moan to get attention. They make drama queens look anything but hysterical royalty. They create a crisis out of nothing. These people are not friends. They are burdens. If you're nice, you put up with it and to what end? To call someone a friend when they are anything but. Bin them. Do it and do it now.

If you are going to roll out a tired cliched line my way, try doing something most people don't do. Put your brain in gear and actually think before you speak. Maybe then, what comes out of your mouth won't be such a big pile of crap!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


Welcome to The Sparks Maxim, the blog of Joel Sparks. Just to give you an insight of what to expect on here, I was described by a dear friend as "the most opinionated man in the world." Most people would be offended by that but me, well, I think it is nice to be the best at something.

The reality is that this blog is my platform to highlight the absurdities of the world. Here I can share with people the things they have already thought but never said. I can also share the things no one has thought and wishes they had. It is an opinion that is not governed by tabloid sensationalism, the emotive stupidity of the mob or the preachings of popular people.

Here you will find my specialist days, with an expansion on the nature of the title I have granted it. I will also offer commentary on everyday life, current events and my own interests. So come back every day and get your latest fill of my acidic ramblings.