Lately a lot of people have been discussing income equity. Some support the concept while others oppose it.
As a writer, income equity sounds good to me. I have published two books and a short story plus I wrote a short story that won a prize in a contest. Thus I am an author and would like to have income equity with Nora Roberts, Dick Frances or even Clyde Cussler. As an author I should get as much income as they do. Why, even dead, Dick Frances probably earns more in royalties than I did before I retired from my professional job.
Oh yes, you remind me that all of these authors have written many more books than I have, but even so, I would like to have income equality with one of these authors even on a per book basis.
What’s this? You are telling me that they are all better authors than I am? Well, certainly Dick Frances was a much better author than I am, and Nora Roberts writes much more polished thrillers than I do, but come on. Clyde Cussler isn’t all that good compared to Dick Frances. Given the publicity Clyde gets, I’ll bet my books, with similar publicity, could hold their own with him, so pay up. Reward me, book for book, the amount Clyde is paid.
Now Clyde, don’t get upset. You have your advances and royalties. Let me have the same. Clyde, don’t shut down your computer. How will you write your next book? Sorry folks. Clyde contends my books are not as good as his. He says he isn’t going to break his back writing books if I get paid the same for writing my inferior books. He says he just won’t write at all. You may just have to get along without any more Clyde Cussler books.
You see there are two major problems with income equality. We are all blessed with different skills, and given the chance, we develop to different skill levels based on talent and how hard we strive. Income equality would compensate all the same regardless of skill or quality of work. Proponents of income equality claim it is not fair for some workers to get paid more than others.
I ask if it is any more fair for highly skilled and highly productive workers to get paid the same as the worker who produces slip shod work when he or she is not sleeping on the job. In this case, equality is not the same as fairness.
The second problem is incentive. If all are to get the same income, what incentive is there to spend the time and exert the effort to become more highly skilled? What incentive is there to produce a better product or have a higher productivity if the pay is the same as someone who is doing just enough work to get by? Human nature would be for most workers to do the minimum.
Good employers generally try to attract the best workers by offering good working conditions, excellent benefits and higher than average pay. They they give raises to the best of their employees. I am presuming that those who favor income equality would like to see some law that would require pay and benefits to be uniform for all. If the employer is prohibited from rewarding the better worker, how is he or she going to attract and retain high quality workers? How will he or she compete?
We have a tradition in this country of workers starting at the bottom and working their way up. In general, the more talented a worker is or the harder the worker works, the faster they advance. One result of advancement in increase in income.
Not all employers treat their employees well, but the smart ones make sure their better employees are well paid. Such employees also tend to be the successful ones.
Why does a Cadillac cost more than a Chevrolet? A Cadillac is a higher quality car. If we pay for automobiles on the basis of quality, should we not set wages accordingly?
(My apologies to Clyde Cussler. He is an excellent author, and his books certainly outsell my books.)