Why should income be equal?
I saw a news report on CBS recently talking about a big portion of income gains went to the richest 1%. The term "income inequality" was used in the headline. This seems to give a meaning that income should be equal? Why should everyone make the same income? Should a factory worker make the same as a physician?
- 8 years agoFavorite Answer
This may surprise you, but doctors (not surgeons) used to be middle-class. They used to make house calls, too.
There isn't a reason why wages or income or wealth should be equal. Not everyone's contribution is equal, not everything requires equal effort or equal skills. We pay people according to what we think their labor is worth. If it is hard to find people with a particular skill set, you pay them more in order to attract and retain them. If they could be replaced on demand when the next Joe Schmoe showed up, you pay them less, as there's a lot less to lose if they leave.
But then again, the topic of inequality is an interesting one that needs to be addressed. Inequality to a significant degree is natural in society. But when the inequality comes from fraud and levering political power over people rather than producing something of value, then that leveraged inequality is a bad thing.
About that whole inequality thing, let me show you a chart that shows inequality over time, and let me say that I would like to see us go back to the 1950's.
It turns out the source of the inequality is precisely what I said -- it comes from abuse of financial power, starting with how the banks figured out how to get around the restrictions set on them by the Glass-Steagall act. The timing on the slope corresponds very well to when lobbying for its repeal started.
Inequality achieved in this fraudulent manner is a source of social unrest. Many ancient civilizations had ways to address this inequality, and that is why many of them had empires that survived for so long. In ancient Israel, they had the year of Jubilee, in which all debts were erased every 50th year and all slaves/serfs were set free. In ancient Babylon they had a similar arrangement. By removing all the financial leverage and finance-based control over everything, they ensured that the financial elites could never maintain control over the people.
- ElmbeardLv 78 years ago
No, it shouldn't.
However, the ratio between the highest paid and the lowest paid is too big and very damaging to the fabric of the nation and the public interest, and needs to be corrected by legislation if the markets are too negligent to do so.
I heard that the optimum ratio between the lowest and highest paid should be about 20. The Prime Minister of the UK earns £142,500 a year. 5% of that is £7,125 a year, which is within striking distance of national minimum wage. This seems fair, since it rewards effort, talent and application, while not leaving a large section of the population destitute with no plausible way of improving their lot.
It also suggests that anyone earning more than David Cameron is, frankly, being paid too much than is good for the country, and should be taxed accordingly, with sanctions if they then attempt to ship this wealth abroad.
I personally would not tax it, but requisition it into a national investment bank, where it can be used for industry regeneration and infrastructure that can reduce the costs of running a business here, and therefore improve competitiveness. If the taxed person's income drops below the threshold, or they have a scheme for investment or charity or public works that will benefit the nation, then some of this money can be released back.
- Anonymous8 years ago
If everyone is paid the same, there would be no incentive to do difficult jobs, like, become a doctor.
Why bust your butt on a medical degree when you can just go work at Walmart for the same wage?
There's no good reason why income should be equal.
- ?Lv 78 years ago
If a person works to improve their value to society and receives the same pay as someone who does nothing to improve themselves, where is the incentive to improve? At best the quality of performance will suffer and a mediocre performance will be the result.
Without incentive there is likely to be no improvements to the lives of that society. Incentive and freedom are the driving forces that created most of the improvements in lifestyle that we enjoy today. Without incentive for those who came before us we would likely not be on this site because the technology might not have been made available.
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- BoboLv 78 years ago
Skilled workers should be paid more than unskilled workers. If you take the time to become proficient at a skill, you should be more valuable to an employer than someone who has no specialized skill. Same for specialized knowledge--more valuable than general knowledge. Income levels promote the drive to attain specialized skills and knowledge which in turn promote a better and more efficient economy.
- 5 years ago
Base year CPI is 100 means now prices are 1.43 times means purchase power is 1/1.43 times ie real income is $ 34965 w.r.t. base year.
- 8 years ago
just because you look at income inequality, it doesn't mean income should be "equal"
but I think most people wonder just how "unequal" it should be...
for example... I think that a doctor should earn more than a factory worker... sure, makes sense...
the doctor has specific education, training and probably works more hours even. I get it...
NOW... how much more should he earn though... this is the KEY...
should he earn a hundred times more? a thousand times more? one million times more? one trillion times more?
and this is the scale that most people think is messed up...
I know this one guy who is in pharmaceutical sales... his dad was in it too...he has a bachelor's degree, just like me and most of my friends... he's not the smartest of the bunch, he's works less than many in my group of friends... but he earns about twice as much as any of us... even more than some with advanced degrees (I don't have an advanced degree, just saying that some do) just because he's in drugs and the prices are just crazy for everything...
now, I'm not going to say he should be paid equal to me... or equal to my friend with a masters who works more than the both of us... but two times more?
it's not that people earn more... it's the fact that some earn many times more... and don't really seem to be earning it, as far as their skills or hard work goes?
EDIT: and to add, this guy took zero risks... just worked at a company that his dad hooked him up with?
- 8 years ago
No we should NOT. You can have a doctor go to college for 8+ years, and a high school drop out make the same income? That would NEVER WORK.
- Lil Drummer girlLv 68 years ago
not only do they want income equality for the American people, They also want global equality. This is why we are slowly pumping all of Americas money out to Islamic terrorist groups. Keep your eyes open people...
- Anonymous8 years ago
I guess the opportunity part slipped past ya!!!