What's the German word for "schadenfreude"?
|The fact that he's got that nice-guy-Jesus thing going for him probably had a lot to do with the liberal swooning|
A chief executive of a credit card company is counting the cost of his decision to set a minimum wage of $70,000 (£45,000) for all his 120 employees.
Dan Price, who slashed his $1million a year pay package to help fund his altruistic gesture, is now being forced to rent out his own home to make ends meet.
The issue of poverty pay is a sensitive one in the USA and some states are already setting higher rates than the federal minimum of $7.25 (£4.64) an hour.But Mr Price went considerably further on hearing of the problems faced by one friend who said she was struggling to survive on $40,000 a year £26,000), rather more than he was paying his own staff in SeattleIt was a move which gained global attention and a fair measure of scorn from conservative commentators, such as Rush Limbaugh.When he announced the move, it was greeted by enthusiastic applause by staff.But the honeymoon did not last long.
Some clients objected to the “socialist” gesture and withdrew their business [from] his company, Gravity Payments. [Didact: My kind of clients!]
Two valued members of staff resigned in protest at the decision not to increase their pay as well to maintain some sort of differential.
As far as they were concerned market forces was the traditional American way of doing things.
Somewhat chastened [Didact: now there's an understatement for the ages], Mr Price told the New York Times, “I’m working as hard as I ever worked to make it work.
“There’s no perfect way to do this and no way to handle complex workplace issues that doesn’t have any downsides or trade-offs.”
At Thanksgiving, Americans recall their blessings around bountiful meals, with imagery going back to Pilgrim days, especially Plymouth Colony's 1623 Thanksgiving. But little attention is paid to what allows that bounty to be created — capitalism — though Jamestown and Plymouth both illustrate that lesson.
Reflections restricted to our bounty ignore that most colonists in both Jamestown and Plymouth starved under their initial communal property rights. Then, when private property rights were established, starvation gave way to increasing prosperity in both.
In Jamestown, colonists were indentured servants, whose first seven years' output was to go into a common pool. In Plymouth, all accumulated wealth was to be held in common (against colonists' objections) by sponsors worried they could not otherwise collect on their distant investment. In both places, the fruits of people's efforts went to others, with disastrous results.
Sixty-six of the initial 104 Jamestown colonists died within six months, most from famine. Only 60 out of 500 arrivals two years later survived that long. The consequences of this "starving time" included cannibalism. Plymouth's first colonists fared little better, with only about half surviving six months. Some, in desperation, sold their clothes and blankets to, or became servants of, Indians.
Common property's disincentives produced terrible results in both colonies. Shirking was so severe at Jamestown that Thomas Dale noted that much of the survivors' time was devoted to playing rather than working, despite the threat of starvation. Plymouth Governor William Bradford noted that "this community of property was found to breed much … discontentment and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort," even with whipping used to limit shirking, with results described as "injustice" and "a kind of slavery."
In response, both Jamestown and Plymouth moved to systems where people could produce for their own benefit.
In Jamestown, each man was given three acres of land, in exchange for a lump-sum tax of two and a half barrels of corn, and communal work was limited to one month (not during planting or harvest). In addition to creating private property, it made the marginal tax rate on most of colonists' efforts zero, and turned indolence into industry. Rather than starving, they became "exporters" of corn to the Indians.
[Socialism] is neither an economic nor a political system; it is a form of insanity, a temporary aberration which will one day disappear from the Earth because it is contrary to human nature. But I wonder how much more misery it will cause before it disappears.